Storm Skiing Timberline podcast
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9 users
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wgo
10 months ago (edited 10 months ago)
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,667 posts

Have not had a chance to listen to this yet, but I saw this was available and figured I would drop the link here.
https://www.stormskiing.com/p/podcast-136-timberline-west-virginia?utm_source=podcast-email%2Csubstack&publication_id=7871&post_id=134887935&utm_medium=email#details

chaga
10 months ago (edited 10 months ago)
Member since 11/24/2009 🔗
646 posts

on spotify too.  awesome podcast. Tom knows his shit for sure  

open.spotify.com



johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
10 months ago
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,987 posts
Just listened to it. Here are my main takeways:
  • Focus now is on improving the snowmaking with the goal of fixed guns on most of the main trails and the ability to open the mountain with 48-72 hours of favorable weather. 9:11 “It is more about limiting downtime and getting up to full capacity . . . It’s about brute force in the early season and making as much snow as we can.” They hope that they can blow 80% of the mountain all at once next season. Currently it’s 60%. But a lot depends on wet bulb temperature, wind, time of day, etc.
  • No new chairlifts for now but maybe in the future. 
  • Unload platform for the quad is being re-done to make unloading easier for beginners. It will not run at full speed because of the beginner issue.
  • No lighting from the top this year but the Wintersett trail will be lit. They want to grow the night skiiing over time and see potential in it. 
  • No terrain expansion for now. They own 200 acres on the west side of the mountain but the western exposure is not optimal for snow preservation. They would rather focus terrain expansion on the main face. HOWEVER, making snow faster on the main trails is the current focus.
  • They are aiming for a season running from Thanksgiving to St. Patrick’s day..
  • They have no interest for now in joining the Indy Pass or any other national pass. They also are not currently interested in a new Ski the Valley ticket. He said PNS‘s business model is selling day tickets and not passes. It’s the opposite of Vail’s pass based business model.
  • Price talked about expanding day lodge capacity but there was no mention of a base village or expanding overnight accommodations.
  • Possible rope tow for one or both terrain parks.
  • Price wants to somehow expand beginner terrain.
  • No plans to improve the Cherry Bowl because some of it sits on Forrest Service land. However, he does want to improve other gladed areas of the mountain. 
  • All told, PNS has invested $20 million in the mountain with more investments to come. They are pleased with the business being generated and want to grow Timberline organically. This is not a pump and dump group. They are not interested in selling to Vail or Altera. They are farmers who understand that some years will produce bumper crops and others will be less fruitful.
Great discussion overall. Price seemed very relaxed and earnest. His clear focus is on the ski experience and how to improve it. I feel fortunate that he is managing the mountain but more fortunate for the PNS ownership. I wish more resorts were run the same way with the focus on skiing and snowboarding and to heck with everything else.
wgo
10 months ago
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,667 posts
Thanks for the summary! Were there any more specifics on which gladed areas they want to improve? Currently only Glade Runner and Pearly Glades are on the trail map - I wonder if he was just referring to these or if he was thinking about officially opening up some of the other areas.
Patf1engineer
10 months ago
Member since 01/23/2018 🔗
61 posts

I am not familiar with the "old" or historic names of the glades, but he mentioned areas adjacent to Thunderstruck and I believe Pearly Glades. He also mentioned the area off White Lightning I assume between that and The Drop. I got the impression they really want to address areas that allow tree skiing.

Overall I think it was very positive and optimistic which, honestly, based on what I have seen isn't that surprising. A lot of places could take some lessons from them.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
10 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,255 posts

It was clear that Tom Price loves skiing the trees at Timberline when there is enough snow coverage.  At the same time, the trail map is deliberately a "functional" trail map that mostly shows trails that have snowmaking and are open far more often than any tree terrain.  As opposed to a "marketing" trail map that is set up to maximize the trail count.  He worked at Snowbird for a little while.  At one point Snowbird renamed a number of trails so that what was one trail became three: Upper, Middle, Lower.

It's was cool to learn that Price grew up skiing and working at Perfect North, plus has experience working at Snowbird and Mad River Mountain in Ohio.  It was Chip North who encouraged him to apply for the GM job at Mad River.  That was one of the Peak Resorts midwest locations that Vail Resorts got along with Hunter, Okemo, etc.

jimw
10 months ago
Member since 02/2/2015 🔗
115 posts
Wow Tom Price is on point.  I would love have him running any of my favorite resorts.  Makes me want to make a trip to Timberline even though I have a place at SS.  State of the Shoe has to have  a statement about sustainability every 5th statement(I'm sure a corporate requirement)
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
10 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,255 posts
I've had enough fun at Timberline under Perfect ownership that I even did a solo day trip from Massanutten.  I'd been earlier in the season with a friend and had credits to spend. :-)
swoop
10 months ago
Member since 11/30/2017 🔗
64 posts

johnfmh,

Nice summary thank you.

I agree Price was polished and on his game.  Also think Stuart elevated the renaissance scenario.  First I had heard the $20M figure, holy cow!

Impressed by Perfect's discipline to continue focusing on winter, when there is a summer revenue stream awaiting.  Hmmm, perhaps the new lift goes in on 200 acres west of Twister for MTB and maybe a couple runs are added over time?  Not sure how that connects at the bottom or doesn't but just trying to think out of the box.  Perhaps there would be room that way for housing at the base?

wgo
10 months ago
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,667 posts

I did appreciate the confirmation that trails such as Thunderdraft are still trails even though they are not on the map. Hopefully these will still get a bit of maintenance if needed.

One of the areas mentioned for improving the gladed terrain is to the right of White Lightning. I assume he meant skier's right. It will be interesting to see what is done.

Lastrun
10 months ago
Member since 06/20/2023 🔗
7 posts

Enjoyed the podcast and glad that the Perfects and Mr. Price are at the helm.  

On the beginner terrain issue, let me post an open message to Mr. Price and the Perfects. 

There was talk in the podcast about more beginner terrain up top, and I would recommend against that for a lot of obvious reasons.  

The lower mountain at Timberline between Sally and Lower Dew Drop has always seems sort of jumbled to me in the sense of being inefficient.  

This area is roughly half the size in acreage as compared to Perfect North Slopes (PNS) and Mad River Mountain (MRM) with more or less the same vertical (250-300ft).  I have seen first hand how PNS and MRM utilized such terrain efficiently, and in particular using areas as beginner terrain that most DC skiers would not even consider slopes.    So the suggestion is erase the current trail map on the lower mountain and start from scratch.  I'll wager that the Perfects and Price know more about how to lay this area out for beginners and experts than any other operator in the country. 

Heck PNS has a power line running through it if I recall correctly (only skied there once versus 4-5 times at MRM).

Happy that the Perfects and Mr. Price are on board and very respectful of their ski area management experience.  

Rickh
10 months ago
Member since 12/2/2004 🔗
165 posts

wgo - I was up last weekend, I didn't walk up but I can tell you that from mid-mountain up Thunderdraft has been regraded it appears. Maybe they just ran water and power up there but. I'm hoping it was to better prep the area for snow making.

As I type this, they are running new larger pipes on the top of Thunderstruck over toward Almost Heaven. See webcam

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