2017 Mid-Atlantic Skiing update

Massanutten Mountain, featured in the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Skiing preview
We’ve had two measurable, but unspectacular, snowfalls in BeltwayLand, a false spring (literally and figuratively), dodged a Nor’easter and the groundhog saw his shadow. Six more weeks of winter?! Have we even had two? Nevertheless, my annual Mid-Atlantic skiing post is finally here. The best snow of the season just fell on many of regional ski areas.

I missed out on skiing last year because of real life, but I’m hoping to make it back on the slopes again this year, possibly on President’s Day Weekend. I hope you are doing your exercises to get ready for the season. A few minutes a day go a long way on the mountain.

Mid-Atlantic Pow(d)er Rankings

Over the last decade or so, I’ve skied a number of places in Appalachians and blogged about it.

Ski area Rating Visits TL;DR
Big Boulder, Poconos, Pa. 17 I had two semesters of skiing class here, but it’s a snowboard park now and probably good for that. Bordercross runs are fun though.
Blue Knob, Claysburg, Pa. ■■ 1 Minimalist ski area with the only bowl skiing around, cozy rustic lodge, gets icy though. If there is even half an inch of fresh snow, it’s really good.
Camelback, Poconos, Pa. ■■

4 Probably the best overall ski area in the Poconos, even with only 800 feet of vertical drop. The Nile Mile is my favorite slope anywhere in Pennsylvania. If there was 25% more vertical, it’d be a black diamond rating.
Jack Frost, Poconos, Pa. 1 Inverted, tiny, not worth the distance from D.C. but fun if you are there.
Massanutten, Harrisonburg, Va. ■■ 1 Small resort, but a lot of vertical, some really great diamonds hills and a beautiful view.
Timberline, Davis, W.V. 1 T-Line should be great, but inadequate snowmaking & lifts knocks it down. They are seemingly cash-strapped or just don’t know what they are doing (DCSki forum). Sad!
Whitetail, Mercersburg, Pa. ■■ 6 Well run, perhaps the best run out of all of these. Only 90 minutes from the Beltway, yet over 900 feet of vertical drop. Only downside, it’s dry.

Rating – on a scale of (lowest) to (highest).
Ski tags

  • The best day on the slopes I’ve ever had may have been Massanutten in 2014, but it was a bluebird day two days after the pitchers & catchers day storm & the views were great.
  • I find myself wanting to back to Blue Knob for bowl skiing again.
  • I went to Liberty, Roundtop & Wisp as a kid, but that’s too long ago to count.
  • My only trip outside of the Appalachians was at Eldora in Colorado one spring break, but only for a morning.
  • I also skied Montage Mountain near Scranton one Friday night on a radio station $10 lift ticket promo (thanks Jumpin’ Jeff Walker!) in college & had a good time. Why did we only do that once INSTEAD OF EVERY WEEKEND?! Youth is wasted on the young…

Where the snow flows like wine

The Post‘s Capital Weather Gang lists the regional ski areas with the most snow

Speaking of Timberline (& Canaan Valley), Corridor H (US 48) is now extended almost to Davis, about 10 miles closer, so that should shorten the drive a bit. I’m hoping it encourages greater infrastructure investment which is the only way I’d go back there.

Almost every other Mid-Atlantic ski area that isn’t in West Virginia is within short distance of the interstate highway system and reside in places where transportation departments (even PennDOT!) see the value of getting drivers to the mountain so they can put money into the local economy.

Independent Snow Sport Media

The long-time go-to for Washingtonians interested in commuter skiing dcski.com, run by M. Scott Smith (2012 interview). He has in-depth resort profiles as well as a facebook page & forums.

Skidome.org focuses on the southern Pennsylvania resorts closest to D.C. and has discounts for regular skiers.

According to some (like the NBA; the NHL realized the folly & realigned divisions), DC, Virginia & Maryland are the Southeast. I suppose the case for most of the Old Dominion is fairly strong, but semantics aside, SkiSoutheast has profiles & news of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia & more southern resorts. It’s enthusiastically updated often, a must-read if you want to go to a WV resort or further south.

Can a family ski every Pennsylvania ski area in one season? LiftTicketTV will find out.

Lastly, SkitheEast is more about selling stuff, videos & New England, but still kind of interesting. I was hoping Santa would bring me the skier necktie this Christmas.

The man behind the trail maps

For ‘the Michelangelo of snow,’ every ski trail is a work of artThe Post
James Niehues is the prolific painter of over 160 trail maps, including Whitetail, Wisp, Massanutten and Snowshoe.

Still interested? Visit his web site to learn more.

Your annual cinematic inspiration

Pronounced “shee-ing,” skiing is fast becoming the most popular of all winter sports. And small wonder, for there is no finer conquest than that of a mountain clad in its glorious winter mantle of glittering white.

Twitter list

Remember when twitter lists were a thing? Here’s one I put together mid-Atlantic skiing twitter list (it scrolls forever):

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