8 February 2017 — Back in action after a week in Colorado, doing…research. Yeah, research, that’s the ticket…plenty of goings-on in ski country, FIS World Cup Championships are underway in St. Moritz, Men’s Super G in the books today and it was Team Canada shocking, well, everybody! Erik Guay was the surprise winner, first victory since 2014, first at the World Championships since his downhill in Garmisch six years ago. Teammate Manny Osborne-Paradis took third place, first time the 34-year-old has ever been on the podium at the World Championships. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud was in second place, and based on the average age I think they vacated the podium quickly to get the blue plate special downtown. In previous action, Austrian Nicole Schmidhofer won the ladies’ Super G yesterday, besting Tina Weirather and Lara Gut.
And now, without further ado, we take you to our favorite correspondent from the Mid-Atlantic region, Woody Bousquet:
After the January Thaw That Wouldn’t End, winter returned to the central Mid-Atlantic a week ago with temperatures dropping to seasonable levels January 26-27, meaning that snow guns could be turned on most nights. Ski areas in the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains – including Wintergreen, Bryce and Massanutten in Virginia, and Liberty, Whitetail and Roundtop in Pennsylvania – quickly returned to nearly 100% open. West of the Allegheny Front, skiers and ski areas alike were celebrating not only cold temperatures but also new snow. Canaan Valley WV reported a daily average of between 3” and 4” over a ten-day period, with 9” following on Day Eleven. Snowshoe WV is close to 100% open, with only Lower Shay’s and the glades still roped off.
With work two weekends in a row, a friend and I squeezed in a weekday trip to Canaan Valley WV and skied through moderate snowfall the entire day. Canaan Valley ski area is unusual in the Mid-A in that about half of its runs rely on natural snowfall only. Opening these runs would seem difficult in the region (and it’s not getting any easier). However, the valley gets over 130” of snow annually, and the ski area’s summit elevation approaches 4300 feet, slightly higher than Killington. CV had closed off two of its main runs, Gravity and Timber, to make snow and groom for the weekend, but they opened all their natural-snow runs. To me, skiing Canaan isn’t skiing Canaan without several jaunts over to Dark Side of the Moon. Dark Side, natural and ungroomed, hugs the ski area’s southwestern boundary, far away from the noise of lifts, snow guns and most other skiers. In a series of three moderate drops, it takes skiers to the bottom of the beginner’s area and chairlift, which is otherwise isolated from the hotshots. But hotshots usually seek out other runs at CV, leaving Dark Side of the Moon to the wanderers.
Now that U.S. Route 48 – better known as Corridor H – has been four-laned from Wardensville to Davis, WV, ski trips to Timberline, Canaan Valley, White Grass (for x-c) or Snowshoe are considerably easier for those approaching from the Shenandoah Valley-Interstate 81 corridor and points east. Don’t miss the burritos at Hellbender, the pizza at Siriani’s, or the gourmet dinners at White Grass. …thanks Woody! Photo Above: Approaching the end of the long glide to the three drops of Dark Side of the Moon, a natural-snow run at Canaan Valley, WV — note the old-school state park sign. Photo courtesy Woody Bousquet.