neglect? ok, yeah i probably have been neglecting this place a bit recently, but i feel like i've been running around non-stop for the last couple of weeks. things are calming down a bit now, so maybe it's time to fill in a few gaps... first up: downhill skiing at canaan & timberline, xc skiing at white grass. rather than a blow by blow of the whole weekend, here are quick reviews of the 3 areas...
canaan valley ski resort is a quiet little ski area nestled in located in canaan valley state park. many years ago when i first started skiing canaan was - at least in my mind - operating on about the same level as snowshoe, but as time passed and my skiing abilities have improved it's clear to see that canaan isn't much to write home about. the mountain itself is somewhat awkward, and the trails are laid out strangely. the hill is steep at the very top, then levels out for quite a while, and steepens up at the bottom. this makes for some good intermediate runs in the middle section of the mountain, but most of the trails converge in the middle of the mountain (meaning you're skiing the same section of trail all day) or have a long runout to steeper sections near the base. on the plus side there are almost no crowds - on the saturday of the presidents day long weekend we skied directly onto the lift - but this is mostly an indication of a resort in trouble as there where plenty of lines the next day at timberline.
a couple of miles up the road from canaan is timberline. the mountain and resort have a more typical layout without the ideosyncracies that plague canaan valley. there are a couple of green "bunny slopes" at the bottom of the mountain, a long (2+ mile) meandering green run from the top that's great for new skiers that are tired of the bunny slope yo-yo, plenty of blue cruisers, and a couple of black and double black runs to test the better skiiers in any group (and the edge grip of your skis on ice). the only gripe i have about timberline (other than the lift lines, which i expected on a holiday weekend) was the speed of the lifts - they were some of the longest lift rides i've been on in years... time for some high-speed quads?
which of these is not like the other? just between canaan and timberline in the location of an old rope-tow downhill area is white grass ski touring center. this was my first crack at cross country skiing and the folks at white grass couldn't have made it any better. heather and i were kitted out with gear in the their lodge/rental shop/ticket office/cafe/retail shop within a couple minutes of showing up. after i managed to get ahead of myself and fall down almost as soon as i got the skis on, tris gave us both a few tips, and we were out in the snowfarm within a few minutes. mike, tris, and i did make one excursion into some of the trails in the woods, but the lack of snow cover make the going difficult and we headed back to the snowfarm pretty quickly.