Culture/Skiing Shock

by: SkiBadger - Jan 15, 2010

  • Overall Rating 3
  • Family Friendly 1
  • All Mtn. Terrain 5
  • Terrain Park 2
  • Nightlife 1

    Pros: Natural snow, terrain, SCENIC drive, glades

    Cons: lifts, fffaaarrr away (from D.C.), ambiance, management

    Recommended For: Singles, Empty Nesters

    Date Visited: Jan 1, 2010


Full review

In comparison to many of the other Mid-Atlantic ski resorts, Timberline is both a culture and skiing shock. First off, the drive to Timberline and the Canaan Valley (coming from D.C. and the East) is breathtaking. Stunning views from roads that parallel half-frozen rivers, and dominated by the WV alpps, this drive is worthwhile (except for the length) in it of itself. Arguably, the last 15 minutes when you begin to drive up into the canaan valley is the highlight. After recent snows, this area is dramatically different, due to its cold temps, and LOTS of snow. It's amazing how much of a difference there is between one valley and the next.

Besides the scenic drive and abundance of snow (relative to other Mid-Atlantic resorts), Timberline offers amazing terrain for any skill-level, with very long and varied slopes. Additionally, there are glades or tree (all deciduous) skiing to be had almost anywhere!!! Lots and lots of glade skiing!

Despite the varied terrain, I would recommend T-line mostly for intermediate and advanced skiers. Certainly, there are some good easy slopes, but much of the resort is dedicated to more difficult terrain. Not to mention, Timberline doesn't boast the same accommodating beginner/lessons package that many other resorts do. While I'm sure some families will find T-line perfectly suitable, to be honest, T-line just does not stack up to some of the more family-friendly resorts in the area like Wintergreen & 7springs. I didn't realize until visiting T-line, how far over the top these other resorts go in creating family programs, particularly, Wintergreen.

Lastly, in further regards to family-friendliness and also touching on the operations management of T-line, I got to say that I was shocked and even a little appalled by a few things. First off, while it's not necessarily bad, I found it surprising that no one (lift operators, maintenance, ticket booth cashiers, etc.) were in any sort of uniform or even skiing/snowboarding gear. Everyone seemed to be wearing street clothes, and often times, I found asking myself, "do any of the numerous mountain-men, actually, work here?" They were very nice & all, but I found it a bit strange. Furthermore, this laid-back approach also caused problems at the lift lines. First off, because no one was in uniform, it was difficult to see who was managing the lift lines, & even if there was someone "managing them," they appeared to be more like a mechanic or crazy maintenance worker filling in for what should be a more professional-looking employee. Obviously, this is the routine at T-line and these employees should not be faulted because, in actuality, it is the fault of the management at T-line for not administering a more professional operation that a so-called "four seasons resort" should have. The more appalling aspect of T-line is the neglect of safety. While often times, ski patrol can hinder fun, the ski patrol @ T-line are more focused on having there own fun while skiing together in large groups, rather than dividing up to better supervise the mountain. On my recent visit, this proved costly when, on more than one occasion, someone got hurt, and there was no one within sight to help administer first-aid. Instead, other skiers had to play "hide and go seek," just to find the ski patrol. Granted, it was a weekday, but that should not be an excuse for a more dangerous Mid-Atlantic resort.

One other detail, with regards to the lifts, there are only two (3-person) main lifts that serve the top of the mountain. Only 1 operates mid-week and they are VERY slow. However, the terrain to be skied afterwards is quite the reward!

All in all, T-line is worth the experience. Snow & terrain are phenomenal, & the access to Canaan Valley ski resort, & Whitegrass nordic center (both just a couple min. down the road) are great, however, the resort could improve on many levels. Mainly, family-friendliness, management, and the ambiance, which really lacks - the small lodge just doesn't cut it. It's definitely worth checking out, but if you're a beginner, and more specifically have a young family, I recommend elsewhere.

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