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Ski Weekend at Snowshoe

posted Jan 31, 2013, 1:45 PM by Justin P
This past weekend, Sandy and I headed up to Snowshoe, WV for a ski weekend.  Although this winter has been very unpredictable with a roller coaster ride of weather, we lucked out and had good skiing weather.  Not so much for the drive up.  It started lightly snowing almost immediately after we left the Raleigh area and was getting heavy and sticking by the time we crossed into Virginia, making the drive take a lot longer than normal.  Particularly on some of the narrow mountain roads north of Lynchburg and through George Washington and Monongahela National Forests.  What is normally a 5.5 hour drive turned into about a 7.5 hour drive, but we made it safely, the most important thing.  After checking to our room at the Inn at the bottom of the mountain, we took the shuttle up to Silver Creek and picked up our rental gear, then headed back down and relaxed in the hot tub for a bit before getting to bed.

Saturday morning, it was still snowing and very cold - highs in the lower 20s with windchill below 0.  We bundled up as much as possible and hit the slopes.  Being a Saturday, the busiest day, we spent the day at Silver Creek, which has a lot less people than the main Snowshoe skiing area.  The slopes are also a little easier here, so it provided an opportunity to brush up on skiing before hitting more slopes.  It was also a chance for me to try out my new GoPro camera for point-of-view video while skiing.  Since it doesn't have a view screen on the camera, I wanted to practice a bunch and then check it in the evening on the computer.  I really realized the importance of simplicity for such a camera.  Even with big bulky ski gloves on, I had no trouble pressing the buttons on the camera and taking pictures and video.  At around lunch time, we went to Misty's Sports Bar to get some lunch, probably a mistake.  It was very crowded, loud, and the service was very poor.  I had a Steak & Cheese sandwich that was pretty good, but my wife ordered the soup and salad.  The soup was lukewarm at best, not what she was hoping for to warm up on a very chilly day.  And the server failed to bring silverware for her salad.  After almost 30 minutes of being ignored by the server, I finally just went up to the bar and grabbed some from behind the bar.  After lunch we skied for a while longer, but by night time, it was getting very cold, so we decided to head back to the hotel and warm up in the hot tub.  Talking to some of the other guests in the hot tub, we realized we weren't the only ones disappointed by the food at Silver Creek and they told us there were much better options in the Village.

Sunday, the weather had gotten a little more pleasant with temperatures in the 30s and sunny skies.  And most importantly, the wind had really died down.  After breakfast at the hotel, we took the shuttle up the mountain and starting skiing from the Village area.  The village is right in the middle of the Snowshoe Basin ski area and the criss-crossing trails make it easy to ski down to different lifts.  We decided to start off heading north and took the Hessler Way, Log Slide, and and Greenway trails down to the Powerridge lift.  The lines for the lifts were definitely longer than at Silver Creek, but still not too bad - 10 minutes or so.  We took this lift up the mountain and took the Gangway and Yew Pine trails back down to the lift.  This was a nice run and so we did a couple of times before moving on to the next.  When we were ready to move on, we took the lift one last time, and then skied down the Powderidge, Powder Monkey, and Whiffletree trails down to the Ballhooter lift.  We took this lift up, which dropped us off near the Village where we had started, and then took the Upper and Lower Hootenanny trails down to the southern end of the basin area.  The very end of this trail, where it meets up with Widowmaker, was quite steep and I was able to pick up some speed.  We took the Soaring Eagle lift up to the Top of the World area and skied down the Upper Flume to the Lower Hootenanny trails back to the same lift.  Looking up, the Widowmaker didn't seem to bad, although Sandy had no intention of skiing it.  On the ride back up the lift, I asked the guy riding the lift with us how difficult the Widowmaker was and he said "not bad, my 5-year old daughter skied it."  So now, I had to do it.  So Amanda skied the easier route while I took the Widowmaker, my first time on a black diamond.  I waited until no one else was on the slope and headed down, slaloming to keep my speed down.  At one point, I felt like I was going incredibly fast (34.5 mph according to the GPS) until another skier flew by me like I was standing still.  But I survived and didn't fall - and have the GoPro video footage to prove it.  After this, we took the lift back up and skied down the Upper Flume, Mid Flume, Lower Flume and Whiffletree to the Ballhooter lift and took this back up to the Village.  We had lunch at Sunset Cantina, which was a little pricey but the service and food were good.  Definitely much better than eating at Silver Creek.  Then we got back on the trails and skied for a while longer until the Snowshoe Basin Area was getting ready to close.  We took a shuttle back to Silver Creek and skied there for a while, since that's the only section that has night skiing.  It was getting a little icy and we were both tired so after a few more runs, we called it quits, returning our ski equipment and heading back down to the Inn for one more time in the hot tub.  We checked out in the morning and made a much easier drive home.  All the roads were cleared and we had no trouble making it in 5.5 hours.
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