Massanutten Dec 8, 2023
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JimK - DCSki Columnist
4 months ago (edited 4 months ago)
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,963 posts

I got up to ski Massanutten today 12/8/23 from about 10am to 215pm.  It was my first ski day of the season and a mild one, perhaps close to 50 degs by mid-day.  The manmade snow was soft, very carveable and fun.  The only real trail open for int-adv skiers was Upper and Lower Showtime served by the chair 5 triple, but that was enough for a good early season work out.  It has about 500-600 vertical feet of consistent good pitch.  It was accessed by chair 4 from the base area.  Crowd was light.  I was able to get in many runs as both lifts were ski-on the whole time.  I only rode with another person on three of my chairlift rides, rode by myself the rest of the time.

Arriving at 10am there was still a good choice of rock star parking spots.

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This is the top of chair 4 and the base of the peak lift (chair 6).  The peak is not open yet, maybe they'll get a trail open up there in a week or so??  We need some cold temps next week.

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Photo of Showtime trail from lift 5.  This is where the action was today.  I lapped this trail 15 or 20 times.  Thank God for snowmaking!

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View of curvy Mueller's Mile trail from the Showtime trail.  Can't wait for the peak runs to be open!

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Massanutten is one of the rare places that offers free skiing to Septuagenarians, which is a club I recently joined.  Thank you!  This will be my home mountain for the next month or so.  I skied Massanutten quite a bit back in the '80s and '90s and I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with it before I head west later this winter.  View of "the kettle" from Showtime trail.

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wgo
4 months ago
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,666 posts

Will be there for a couple hours on Saturday. On a whim I picked up a pair of barely used k2 ikonic skis from play it again sports a couple weeks ago for $200 and I want to see how they feel.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
4 months ago (edited 4 months ago)
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,963 posts
PS:  there are numerous gas stations with gas below $3 per gal in that part of VA around Massanutten.  I bought some for 2.99 and a few miles later saw it for 2.95 in Front Royal.
oldensign - DCSki Columnist
4 months ago
Member since 02/27/2007 🔗
499 posts
That new High-Speed Quad is looking good!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
4 months ago (edited 4 months ago)
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,963 posts

I was up at Massanutten again today, 15 Dec 2023.  Same mild conditions and terrain open as last Friday.  Had hoped they'd have more terrain given cool weather this past week, but they had inversions that slowed snowmaking ops.  For example, this morning at 8am it was 19 degs in nearby lowlands and 41 at the 3000' summit of Massanutten.

Nonetheless, it was a nice day.  Got more early season laps on Showtime trail, which skied quite well again.  Here are a few pics.

brand new detachable HSQ nearing debut:
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showtime trail

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nice views from the ski patrol shack above lift 5

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hopefully they get some cold later next week and get diamond jim trail open from the summit, but we have to get over wet and warm weather in the early part of the week.

Bought some gas on the way home for $2.85.

wgo
4 months ago
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,666 posts
I was hoping they would focus on the new No Hessitation trail as the first trail on the upper mountain to open but it looks like they are following their standard playbook and focusing on Diamond Jim first.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
4 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,246 posts

wgo wrote:

I was hoping they would focus on the new No Hessitation trail as the first trail on the upper mountain to open but it looks like they are following their standard playbook and focusing on Diamond Jim first.

 DJ is the trail used by the race teams and development team.  Plus it's probably easier to get completely ready that any other upper mountain trail.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
4 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,246 posts

Thanks for the pics, Jim.

I'll be at Mnut most of the week starting Jan. 7.  Taking a couple days to ski Timberline.

After that, I'll be introducing Mnut to a family from central NC the last week of January.  Met them at Alta Lodge last April.  They had only skied in NC and at Wintergreen once the kids were old enough for ski school.

Can't wait to ride the new lift.  It was running during fall colors.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
4 months ago (edited 4 months ago)
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,963 posts

MarzNC, I'm going to miss you at Mnut.  Heading west shortly after a pow wow at Mnut on Jan 5.

---------------------------

I skied at Massanutten again yesterday 21 Dec 2023.  I got to ride the Peak Express on its first day of operation for skiers/boarders.  Diamond Jim trail was open from the summit and I skied it 15 or 20 times.  You can really log some ski miles on that lift!  Surprising how much more demanding Diamond Jim is compared to my last two visits skiing the same number laps only on Showtime trail.  In other words, my muscles are sore today:-)

There was a moderate crowd, mostly around the main chair #4 out of the base.  Both chairs that serve the advanced upper mtn terrain, Chairs 5 and 6, were ski-on, but not empty during my time on the mtn from ~930am to 130pm.  Many children are already on Christmas Break.

Brand new Peak Express chair early on its first day of ski operatons:

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Looking back at the Peak Express lift line.  This is a new trail called No Hessitation.  It's lined with snowguns and I assume will be open in the coming weeks.

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Nice view of Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive (distant ridgeline) from the top of Diamond Jim trail at Massanutten.  

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Just for kicks, on the way home I drove about 35 miles inside Shenandoah Park along Skyline Drive.  Here's a view of Massanutten ski area (knob in distant center of photo) from Skyline Drive.  There were remnants of natural snow from earlier in the week on Skyline Drive:

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marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
4 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,246 posts

Thanks for the pics before you head west.

I just got back from Colorado.  My early season skiing has been with Bill and the rest of the crew at Wolf Creek starting in 2021.  Stopped by to experience Vail and Beaver Creek for the first time.  I got an Epic pass for a trip to Crested Butte in March.

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

Thanks for the pics.  WOW that top lift station is impressive.  Looks more like something out west or in Europe.  I've only skied Mnut once but remember it was a very scenic ski area.  I'll will definitely put it on my to-do list for this year for a mid-week trip.  The new trail layout looks great and I have been impressed with their willingness to turn the guns on whenever they can, unlike some other resorts I will not mention.  

I am not 100% sure of the stats there but if I recall right there is about 800 feet of vert on that part of the mountain and with the new lift, and two new runs, that should "jello" the legs pretty quickly.  

JimK - DCSki Columnist
3 months ago (edited 3 months ago)
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,963 posts

Midweek is always good, but an old secret about Massanutten that still seems to be true is that the peak chair (original or brand new version) never gets too crowded even on weekends and holidays.  If you hang out there you won't experience bad lines.  There is signage around it "for experts only".  The majority of the clientele of Massanutten are not experts and they seem to take heed :-)  In reality their advanced terrain is not terribly fierce.

Massanutten might have the mildest weather of any ski area within 3 hours of DC.  Nonetheless, they try real hard with snowmaking and there are tons of mounted snowguns all over the mtn including on all the new trails.  Very impressive.  

You are correct about vertical, the Peak Express rises ~800 vertical feet, the Ridge Triple ~600'.  Yes, at full strength (all trails open) there will be four pretty decent advanced trails from the summit of Massanutten.  Jelly Legs Morton:-)  And the connecting trails back and forth with the Ridge Triple terrain allow you to ski the upper mtn for hours without returning to the base area, which does get crowded on busy days.

Some specific stats on Massanutten's lifts:  here.

Lastrun wrote:

Thanks for the pics.  WOW that top lift station is impressive.  Looks more like something out west or in Europe.  I've only skied Mnut once but remember it was a very scenic ski area.  I'll will definitely put it on my to-do list for this year for a mid-week trip.  The new trail layout looks great and I have been impressed with their willingness to turn the guns on whenever they can, unlike some other resorts I will not mention.  

I am not 100% sure of the stats there but if I recall right there is about 800 feet of vert on that part of the mountain and with the new lift, and two new runs, that should "jello" the legs pretty quickly.  

wgo
3 months ago
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,666 posts


 I admire your optimism. I certainly hope so.

JimK wrote:

------------------------

Looking back at the Peak Express lift line.  This is a new trail called No Hessitation.  It's lined with snowguns and I assume will be open in the coming weeks

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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