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Snowshoe trip report

This was a wild, but good trip. We had temperatures that ranged from 60°F to -6°F, snow, sleet, winds up to 75mph, snow drifts, fog and some sun. I was out both days while the rest of the family completely whimped out on me on Tuesday. Although, Dad did get out for a few hours late in the afternoon.

I had planned on doing daily reports, but some dumbass forgot the power supply to my MacBook. Yes, that dumbass would be me. I also planned to take pictures, but the weather was either too cold, too dark, too messy to really capture anything with my compact Nikon.

Sunday: Trees down all over the place

This was just a freaky day traveling up there. It's about 6 hours to make the trip including stopping for lunch and getting gas. When I left home around noon it was 60°F. We knew there would be winds, but not to the extent that large trees would be blown down on the road. Pretty much from Buena Vista VA until Marlinton WV there were dozens of trees down blocking lanes of the road, but fortunately nothing blocking the entire road. Just had to use caution going around the winding roads to make sure there a tree was not in your path.

When we got to the condo (we all traveled in separate cars) it was +7°F with howling winds. We heard later that evening they had a peak wind gust on top of the mountain of 75mph. Those winds ended up taking out some of the lamp posts in center of the village. The wind chill was just brutal as we moved all of out stuff from the cars to the condo. Any exposed skin hurt from the extreme cold of that wind. Regardless, we got settled in and the condo kept us cozy and warm. We brought all the food we needed, so no need to go shopping for food or heading out to restaurants.

Monday: Day 1 of riding

We woke up Monday morning to -6°F, but at least the winds were down to a breeze at this point. The sky was crystal clear. We waited until about 1000 to hit the slopes to allow the temperature to come up a bit as we were expecting a high of 15°F. Conditions on the slopes were OK. A few places were a bit icy, but not too bad. Crowds were low. Most of the family spent most of the day in the main Snowshoe area.

While the family was doing the easy stuff, my nephew was getting bored very quickly. He eventually got a hold of me on the radio and I met up with him. He was glad to get away so he could bomb several runs with me. I was impressed with what he could do and he could even handle a somewhat icy diamond rated slope as long as he used caution and turned a lot.

Clouds started to move in with the next storm system and the winds were building again. We all took a break for lunch back at the condo and get warmed back up. Most of the family headed over to the Silver Creek area for some easier stuff while I headed over to the Western Territory where the most difficult slopes were (diamond and double black diamond). They were a bit icy which made that less than ideal. However, they are twice as long as the other trails with a high speed chairlift. After that area closed (1600) I headed over to the Silver Creek area for the rest of the family for some night skiing. Conditions were pretty good with only a few icy spots, but the cold was setting in on me and we called it a night at about 1900.

We had our own dinner of sorts back at the condo and all decided to head up to the heated pools near the village. As we make our way up there the snow starts coming down again and we're all pleased with that. The hot tubs are outdoors which made for an interesting environment. It's like 20°F or colder, snow coming down, steam from the pools all over the place (hot tubs and regular pool) with wind swirling everything up. The snow was coming down so heavy that everyone looked like they had white hair with the accumulating snow (and all of it frozen). That was definitely quite an experience.

Tuesday: Day 2 of riding

This morning was about 22°F I think. The snow that was coming down the night before stopped just before midnight, so no major dumping of snow overnight. :( In all, we got about 2" I think. Weather was very cloudy and getting windy again. No one was wanting to go out except me. They all just kept looking out the window at the winds and assumed it was going to be awful (even though it was 20 degrees WARMER then yesterday morning!). Slopes were good after being groomed overnight. No snowmaking in progress today as the temps would get close to freezing or above which made everything a bit more quiet..., until the winds came back very strong.

Fog started to roll in around us and it was very eerie. We were a little bit above the clouds on top of that mountain. So, the clouds would just roll through the area, but at a very high speed. It's really hard to describe. On the very top of the mountain the winds were blowing so hard it would knock you down if you were just standing and weren't ready for it. Once you got a short way down the slope you were sheltered from the wind. Some of the high speed lifts had to slow down as the careful timing mechanism requires very careful alignment of the chair as it enters and leaves each end. If the timing gets off, the computer shuts down the lift and every chair has to be resynchronized which results in hours of downtime.

After a few hours on the slopes decided to get some lunch. Just as I get all of my gear off the snow is coming down very hard in large flakes. It just looked like a blizzard out there. I really hoped it would keep up, but only lasted for about an hour. I hit the slopes again to get more of Western Territory in this time and it was better as I caught some runs before all of the loose snow got blown off the trails.

Again, headed over to Silver Creek at 1630 when the main mountain closes and Silver Creek bring sup the lights for night skiing. Hardly anyone was out there. The fog continued to roll through on top of the mountain. At time the fog was so dense that I could not see more than 3 chairs in front of me. It was so humid with the fog and clouds that the lights made it look like the sun would never set as the reflective glow was always there.

I took on several more runs, but got tired about about 1 dozen runs as they are short and the lifts are slow on these slopes. When it takes about 7 minutes to ride up a mountain that you can come down within 1 minute, it gets old. I packed it in at about 1900 as the fog was really reducing visibilities. Brother and family left earlier in the day due to work on Wednesday.

Very, very thick fog this morning with temperatures in the upper 30's. Drive home was uneventful, but was nicer not having to worry about downed trees. I actually left at 1000 and got home a little after 1500. I stopped for nothing except a quick stop for gas just miles before getting home. Dark, dreary and rainy with some fog the entire ride home.


So, I got about 6-7 hours of riding in each day. Definitely honed my skills a bit more. Great conditions? Eh, not really. It could have been much better. Guess I'm just too spoiled by the slopes out west. However, Snowshoe WV is not like the west and it's a gamble with the weather always. Condo worked out pretty well, but it was really annoying not having any internet access at all. There was no way to get a local weather report (not even the local temperature). Never been on a trip like this with so much family.

To top off this day, it's now snowing here at home. :) Some snow showers are moving through the area now, but not expecting anything more than a dusting on grassy areas.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 14th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
Glad to get the full report & to hear that you got some good slope time in!
Feb. 14th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
welcome back
glad the family thing worked out - even if the weather wasn't 100%
Feb. 14th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Joe! Sorry to hear that your power supply got left behind. You certainly had your share of weather. I'm not a fan of the fog, as it's so easy to lose your bearings in. I bet it was truly eerie!

Have a good night, my friend!

Feb. 14th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you had a great time. Yay! You deserve it, bud!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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