Timberline is the Hard Core skiing capital of the Ohio Valley. It is
a remote, barely accessible mountain with few amenities and often harsh
weather even while surrounding states are basking in the sun. But if you
lack the time or money for the two day drive to New England or Colorado,
Timberline will do nicely as a local alternative.
|Once in the valley, you are surrounded by forested wilderness, where in
the summer backpackers, white water rafters and horse packers thrive. From
the top of Hertz Mountain you can look out over the Dolly Sods and Cranberry
Three ski resorts are almost adjacent. Whitegrass is next to Timberline and is a cross country skiing resort. Some trails even cut off Timberline runs and wind through the Monongahela National Forest over to Whitegrass. South of Whitegrass is Canaan Valley, a major ski resort within a state park.
The lodge at Timberline is noticeably outdated. It is small, cramped, has the worst rental facility in the region, a limited food service, and a closet sized store. There is no real dropoff and pickup zone, the gravel parking lot is small and often muddy, and the lifts are few, obsolete, small and slow.
Yet skiers flock to this mountain from Washington, D.C.; Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and states even further away.
They come for the mountain.
|Not with all their money and management style
can Snowshoe, Seven Springs or Boyne match Hertz Mountain’s magnificent
Timberline offers the greatest blacks in the South Midwest. Indeed, many skiers believe it offers the only true blacks in the region, with all the others passing off high blues as blacks. Timberline’s blues are challenging. No true novices make it down these runs. And in Salamander, Timberline gives skiers the region’s top cruising run. Many skiers come here just for Salamander, skiing it several times all day. A couple of runs make a morning. Several more make an afternoon.
There is snow here when there is none anywhere else in seven states. Warm gulf air collides with Canadian cold fronts precisely at this line. You need chapstick and warm clothing for Timberline, because you will be buffetted by high wind and cold temperatures.
But in this part of the country, if you want skiing with attitude, this is where you find it.