I headed up to Winterplace this weekend with my Mom and some other family friends in hopes of catching a little bit of the white stuff that had been promised all week. We stayed just up the road at the HoJo in Beckley and skiied Saturday and Sunday after a long drive up late Friday night. Saturday night we ate at McBee's Pub downtown which was pretty good. They have a nice beer selection (Irish, local, and domestic), the live music was nice, but the service was subpar. I had to reorder twice and one of my friends didn't get her food for over an hour.
Overall, I enjoyed going to Winterplace. The mountain is pretty short, but the trails around the summit lifts are all fairly steep and much longer than I would get had I gone to Sugar, Beech, or Cat. Sunday, they got 8" of snow, but when I left a little before four o'clock, only about 6" had fallen, but it was so nice in a season like this to ski on fresh snow for a change.
Temperatures were in the mid-50s and skies were clear and blue. The view from the top was pretty spectacular. Lines were never longer than about 5 minutes, and several times throughout the day I skiied right to the chair.
Mom at the top. The view was great.
The top of the two summit lifts was a bit of a bottleneck all weekend.
Mom on Woods Run. Chaos reigned on this trail all weekend. The few times I skiied this trail, I saw at least 5-10 yard sales on the way down.
The mogul poles were up on Turkey Chute. Every time I skiied this trail, the line got better (as did my technique). This was by far my favorite run.
For a holiday weekend, the mountain never felt too crowded. The base area was a zoo though. I lapped the top to avoid the madness below.
Snow bowl skiied very well on Saturday. There was a great lip in the headwall that made for some nice air if you could stand waiting to get a gap in the crowds.
Plunge, Nose Dive, and Woods Run. The two blacks made for some awesome speed cruising. I managed to hit 59 mph on one run down the bottom of Nose Dive.
Looking up Turkey Chut at the mogul course in formation. There were a few people absolutely killing the line, but for the most part, people were survival skiing.
During the night session, the snow dried out a little, the crowds went home, and the runs became so much fun.
What a day! After dealing with the madness of the main base on Saturday, Mom and I decided to park at the Mountainhouse parking lot and walk to the base of the summit lifts (we had 2-day lift tickets). This was an excellent decision, and it saved us a ton of time. It snowed all day. Sometimes, the snow would be very light and somewhat dry, but other times the snow would be coming down in fifty cent piece sized flakes and would be heavy and super wet. This will be good for their base numbers, but it wasn't the kind of powder you have dreams about. I'll take it though!
The side of Plunge held some really nice snow and some small bushes to ski around.
I skiied double fall-line down the side of the slope on Plunge. It was good practice and a lot of fun. I had to make sure to keep the turns timed right so that I wouldn't end up in the woods.
Light crowds were the norm all day. This is the ridge trail coming down towards Turkey Chute and Snow Bowl.
I skiied direct to chair most of the day (Is this really holiday skiing?!). The snow is coming down fast and heavy.
I loved the Mountainhouse. It was great not to have to deal with the base crowd if I needed a bathroom or a bite to eat.
The ground was so warm from the high temperatures on Saturday that the snow did not accumulate much off trail until about one o'clock.
Turkey Chute skiied like a dream all day. The line had pretty good rhythm, but there was one spot were the bumps had a strange offset. One run I managed to hook my left ski tip on one of the poles. I was moving pretty fast down the line and I was airborne, head first for a second before I came crashing down onto the bumps. I was very glad I was wearing my helmet.
Along the edges of the bump lines there was some great powder to be found.
The woods along the trail back to my car were pretty spectacular with the wet snow clinging to the branches.
The drive home was a disaster. We should have kept skiing and come home early Monday. It took us 3.5 hours to get from Winterplace to I-81 (this should take about an hour). Along the way we saw tons of cars in ditches, semis facing the wrong way, and rear-wheel drive cars struggling to gain purchase going up hills. While we were at dinner, it snowed over 2" in less than an hour (the view out the front of Cracker Barrel). Other than the terrible traffic, the drive was absolutely gorgeous. All the big white pines covered in snow are a sight to see.