Category Archives: Skiing

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.

2015 Skiing preview

An overdue post about skiing this winter

Ski areas in the Mid-Atlantic have been opened since Thanksgiving weekend and we’ve had measurable snow in D.C. (5 out of the first 7 school days were two-delays), but I’m behind on getting ready with wall-sits and blogging. Over at dcski.com, the firsthand reports have started to trickle in.

Last year was my personal best year of skiing in many moons as I hit the slopes three times — Whitetail (twice) and Massanutten. I’m hoping to get out at least twice this season as well.

This year, I’ve created a Twitter list for Mid-Atlantic ski resorts which can you follow here and is embedded below:


I had high hopes for this at the beginning of the season, but it’s mostly RTs of people who are at the resorts, rather than useful information. Raise your game, snow pros…

As always, an excellent resource for resort profiles is dcski.com. Here are some other places I’ve skied in over the years:

Big Boulder
– Poconos (2007 and many times previously)
Blue Knob – Central-ish Pennsylvania (2012)
Camelback – Poconos (2009 sand several times before)
Jack Frost – Poconos (2007)
Timberline – West Virginia (2013)

All of my documented skiing is tagged with YAAAAH-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOOEY!. I wasn’t blogging when I visited Wisp, SNO (nee Montage), Roundtop, Liberty. or when I skied at Eldora in Colorado one spring break.

Register for NASTAR and receive a year of Ski Magazine

Registering for NASTAR is free and it includes a subscription to SKI Magazine.

When you register you will be assigned a permanent registration number so there is no need to register each season. And you get to go in those races you see from time to time.

Some other news

At Camelback, snow makers mix weather, water, ski weekendsPocono Record

Good news for Timberline and Caanan Valley, Corridor H (US 48) is being extended a few more miles west, bypassing the switch backs of WV 42 east of Mount Storm. It’ll still be a while before it reaches Davis though. One of my criticisms of Timberline from 2013′s trip was the conditions are not as good as the roads to ski areas in other states. For the locals there, the snow-covered roads may not be a big deal, but if they want tourism they’ll have to clear the roads more.

Inspire Yourself

But seriously, how can the climatic ski scene and ski pole duel (which needs lightsabres added to it) from Better Off Dead not on youtube?

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protractor_measuring_snow_northern_virginia

Winter 2013-2014 post-mortem

You know, I think what everybody wants to read about right now is the never-ending winter we just had, right?

My original intention was to post this concurrent with the spring equinox, but the looming threat of a Nor’Easter had me re-evaluating whether it made sense. Sure enough, we got more winter precipitation this week. It’s becoming a pattern:

This winter, BeltwayLand experienced an unprecedented amount of measurable snow storms. For a while there, it was not that different than the winters I remember growing up. Then it snowed two more times, closing everything in each occurrence. Than it snowed on Tuesday.

This post is also a mea culpa of sorts – at the beginning of the year, I changed jobs and entered the world of federal contracting. Gone were my four weeks of vacation and in was OPM deciding when I could work.

I’m sorry I jinxed us all.

For me, I lost almost a week of work which meant either taking leave or taking a hit. Due to vacation time at my previous job, federal holidays I now get to celebrate and all the FOUR OPM closures, I have not worked 10 work days in a row since the week of Thanksgiving.

Here is a recap of this year’s snow and what I measured:

12.08.2013 – I always celebrate the first snowfall with grilling | Football in the snow is the best football (ehh, they stunk up the joint that day, too bad). Then Fairfax, Loudoun

12.10.2013 – Alexandria, Va. December 10, 2013 snow fall total at 10 a.m. | Tysons, Va. December 10, 2013 snow fall total at 10 a.m. – THE PROTRACTOR IN SNOW STORM!

PROTRACTOR IN SNOW!

01.03.2014 – No measurement, but some sledding the day after
Arlington snow

01.22.2014 – 2 7/8 inches in Alexandria | 6 inches in the Town of Vienna

02.05.2014 – Enough snow for a two hour delay

02.13.2014 – Alexandria, Va. Pitchers and Catchers Day Storm snowfall total at 8 a.m. – 8.5 inches! | Burke, Va. Pitchers and Catchers Day Storm snowfall total at 9:18 a.m. – 12 inches!

Pitchers & Catchers Day storm snow man

02.25.2014 – It snowed during the day, but didn’t stick around

03.04.2014 – Alexandria, Va. final snowfall total for March 3, 2014: 5 inches

03.17.2014 – ErinSnowBraugh! SnowPatricksDay storm dumps over 7 inches of snow on Alexandria, Va.

Capital Weather Gang’s recap is up too: The long, white 2013-2014 winter: Bringing snowy back to the D.C. region (season statistics)The Post

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

Massanutten Ski slopes view

I went skiing twice during official winter and thrice during meteorological winter. My ski trips in December were the first time I ever made it out in that month, so I’ve got 4 months of the year. I also skied in the Commonwealth of Virginia for the first time at Masanutten. Should the cold return in April, the temptation to go then and clinch a fifth month will be strong. For regional ski resorts, it was a robust season. If Whitetail remains open until next Sunday, they’ll hit 117 days for the season and has already broken a record.

Ski Roundtop also had a strong year:

PRIME SLEDDING YEAR

Remember last year’s weird slush storms in March? State of NOVA blogger Tom Jackman summed it up well:

Safe to say, the childrens were not robbed of a prime sledding year this winter.
sledding-cropped
In Alexandria, we had more sledding days than the previous 4 years combined! Throw in a day of ski camp and ice skating lessons and we embraced this winter and therin lies the lesson.

Don’t fight winter, USE IT.

Now bring on baseball, cherry blossoms and dining al fresco!

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Skiing: Whitetail, Liberty, Roundtop already open


Whitetail and Liberty post earliest openings since 2002WUSA
The two ski resorts nearest to Washington, D.C., Liberty in Carroll Valley, Pa. near Emmitsburg, Md. and Whitetail, near Mercersburg, Pa. are OPEN this weekend. Additionally, the next closest, Roundtop near Lewisberry, Pa. is also open, including Monday. Whitetail is considering a Monday opening as well:

This is a great start to the 2013-2014 season — of late, December has been a no-go. I think I’m going to have to investigate.

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2013-2014 Mid-Atlantic ski season preview

Bottom of the mountain
Halloween is over, we had frost at the end of last week and there were even scattered reports of snow flurries in BeltwayLand. Let’s start thinking about skiing.

DCSki.com, whose owner I profiled in 2012, has been redesigned. You can follow them on Facebook too.

Big Boulder in the Poconos, where I skied more than any other place before it primary shifted to snowboarders, opened on Friday, November 15. It was only one lift and one trail, but they did it, the ninth year in a row they were the first in the Poconos to open (timesleader.com).

Timberline, which I skied last winter, has had snowfall and has their snow guns blowing. Opening date – December 12.

Elsewhere in West Virginia, Snow Shoe plans to open November 27. That’s less than two weeks away! They had 8½ inches of snow as of Friday night.

My favorite place to ski in the Poconos, Camelback, is celebrating their 50th season and begun snowmaking on November 12, according to Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association

Hunter Mountain in New York State is also making snow. I have discussed going up there with a friend this year — we were thinking of it last year but several factors led us to Timberline.

Some other places I have skied over the years: Jack Frost, Whitetail, Blue Knob

No word on when the closest resorts – Liberty, Roundtop and Whitetail will open.

GETTING READY

As always, I’m getting ready with daily exercises, specifically wall-sits. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful just a few minutes every day improves both the experience and my ability.

Another thing, if you don’t own your own equipment, rent locally. There are two big advantages of renting your skis near where you live:

1.) Renting in advance allows more time on the day you go skiing. Doing the paperwork on a weeknight in an empty, warm ski shop is better than doing it packed, chilly ski area. It is probably cheaper too.

2.) Your boots are warm when you put them on, as opposed to putting on the ski area rentals that have been sitting in a room that is 45°.

Also, wear a helmet. it keeps your head safer and is nice and warm.

A FINAL NOTE

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Eastern Pennsylvania ski resorts hanging in there

Pa. ski resorts adapt to the mild conditionsThe Inky
Another season of poor snowfall isn’t holding back the ski areas in Eastern Pennsylvania like as much as last year. Cold nights have allowed for
snow-making even though the days have been a bit warm. Just a new normal it seems.

Seven Springs and other Western Pennsylvania ski areas seem to be fairing okay — they have had actual snow out there.

Southern Pennsylvania resorts are reporting “loose, granular” which I think means the slopes are covered in gravel.

I was supposed to go skiing today, but the temperatures in the 50s everywhere made me change my plans. Perhaps next weekend will work out better.

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The 2012-2013 Mid-Atlantic ski season begins today

Over the weekend, a number of resorts within driving distance of Washington, D.C. have fired up the snow guns (DC Ski).

EARLY OUTLOOK

The real stuff has been falling as well with about four inches in the Poconos yesterday after flurries throughout Pennsylvania last weekend. It is still early though and warm weather is expected in BeltwayLand in early December, according to Capital Weather Gang. I don’t know how much impact that will have for the resorts north of here, though CWG thinks we could be in for a colder, snowier winter. The Pocono ski areas are expected to open about two weeks earlier than last year with Jack Frost/Big Boulder are planning on opening this afternoon, according to yesterday’s Pocono Record. Camelback is planning on a Saturday opening, while Shawnee and Blue Mountain are aiming for that as well. Hunter Mountain is New York State is aiming for December 8.

UPDATE: Seven Springs and other ski resorts in Western Pennsylvania are forecast to get more snow than normal according to Pittsburgh’s WPXI-TV.

LAST YEAR

Last year was the winter of discontent for skiers, snowboarders and snow-lovers. My plan of going skiing three times became once and I was lucky to get that one in. If not for a couple of inches of snow falling at Blue Knob during the day, the conditions would have left a lot to be desired.

NEAR-ISH SKI AREAS

Over the last several years I have been to several ski areas, all in Pennsylvania and I have blogged about those trips: Big Boulder | Blue Knob | Camelback | Jack Frost | Whitetail. I’m hoping to get up to Hunter this year to ski in New York State for the first time. West Virginia will also be under consideration.

GETTING READY

As always, I’m getting ready with daily exercises, specifically wall-sits. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful just a few minutes every day improves both the experience and my ability. This year, I started off by watching the Franz Klammer Gold Medal run at Innsbruck for inspiration.

Another thing, if you don’t own your own equipment, rent locally. There are two big advantages of renting your skis near where you live:

1.) Renting in advance allows more time on the day you go skiing. Doing the paperwork on a weeknight in an empty, warm ski shop is better than doing it packed, chilly ski area. It is probably cheaper too.

2.) Your boots are warm when you put them on, as opposed to putting on the ski area rentals that have been sitting in a room that is 45°.

Also, wear a helmet. it keeps your head safer and is nice and warm.

THE ONLY COACHING YOU NEED

FURTHER READING

DCSki is a great resource for Mid-Atlantic skiers. I did a Q&A with it last winter.

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