Big Boulder May (!) 5, 2018

No time like the present.

Barely 24 hours had slipped by after I posted this thread asking SJers for advice about May skiing in the Northeast when I saw Big Boulder's announcement about its May Day festivities.  I'd never gone to one of these two-weeks-after-the-season-ends rail-jam events because 1) I'm just not a parks-and-pipes kind of guy, 2) the amount of open terrain is usually limited to one terrain park, and 3) the coverage isn't usually TTB, meaning that 4) I'd have to earn my turns.  Not that I'm against earning turns, but driving 8 hours round trip for a few runs on a short stretch of terrain park I have to re-climb each time doesn't sound particularly appealing.

But May Day on May 5 at Big Boulder PA isn't the only option on this weekend's calendar.  If you don't live in the northern Shenandoah Valley, you might not know about the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival that takes place here in Winchester, Virginia.  It's been an annual event since the 1920s, interrupted only by WWII.  Our small city of 25,000 draws 250,000 each year for "The Bloom".  The festival features two parades (Friday, Saturday), each lasting more than two hours.  More fried twinkles, fire engine sirens, funnel cakes, carnival rides, dances, luncheons, and B-list celebrities (normally with at least a few A-listers) than you can shake a corn dog at.  Most homes, businesses, schools, house pets, fire hydrants, and the like are decked out in official Apple Blossom colors of pink, white, and green.  So sing along, to the tune of "Yellow Submarine,"   "We all live in the land of pink and green.  Land of pink and green.  Land of pink and green.  We all..."

My wife Jenny and I live downtown, so there's no escaping The Bloom unless, like some of our friends, you choose this week to visit your sister in Baltimore.  Even if you're an only child.  We aren't Scrooges about Apple Blossom, though, and we usually have visitors for the weekend.  But not so this year.

... And there was that post I made on SJ about May skiing.  And that cold March-April stretch we had this year that left some good piles of snow on north-facing runs. I loaded up my skis at 6:00 a.m. surrounded by pink and green (see photos) and was riding the chairlift at Big Boulder four hours later.  The coverage on Big Boulder Park (the only run open) was side-to-side and top-to-bottom, the snow was clean, the park features were huge, and a local graphics company was handing out free May Day 2018 stickers.  I took my time, skied around the terrain features, snapped a bunch of photos, and quit before the snow became too gloppy and the sliders became too giddy.  

Not a bad way to spend Apple Blossom Saturday this time around.  Jenny: "So now you've skied in May!"


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Comments

  • That's pretty crazy for PA! Thanks for sharing
    - Sam
  • edited May 6
    Wow Woody! I am impressed, never took you to be a park rat. Driving 8 hrs roundtrip for it .
    All Interstate 81 ?
    I took my mom to Tulip time in Holland yesterday and if she hadn't been here and Ted made a call I would have been up to Boyne to get my first May ski day.

    Too bad you weren't in the Poconos a week ago I would have met up with you somewhere or you could have joined the SJ south gang

    Did you invite trackbiker, Rick, or any of the south gang? They have been known to be spontaneous. ( incidentally Camelback coverage looked decent last week)

    So Jenny rode with you? Having 8 hrs in a car affords good communication time!

    After a few years I forget how pretty the mountains( at least to me) are in Pa.
  • Is this the first time for May lift-serviced-skiing in PA?
  • Nice going woody !! Great report and pictures congrats on your May turns
  • Wow, that's an impressive amount of snow for PA in May. Great photos, thanks for sharing.
  • ciscokid said:

    Wow Woody! I am impressed, never took you to be a park rat. Driving 8 hrs roundtrip for it .
    All Interstate 81 ?
    I took my mom to Tulip time in Holland yesterday and if she hadn't been here and Ted made a call I would have been up to Boyne to get my first May ski day.

    Too bad you weren't in the Poconos a week ago I would have met up with you somewhere or you could have joined the SJ south gang

    Did you invite trackbiker, Rick, or any of the south gang? They have been known to be spontaneous. ( incidentally Camelback coverage looked decent last week)

    So Jenny rode with you? Having 8 hrs in a car affords good communication time!

    After a few years I forget how pretty the mountains( at least to me) are in Pa.

    Right Cisco, in my mid-60s I've decided that parks are my thing.   :P

    Knowing how much trackbiker, rickbolger and the gang love parks, I should have let everyone know, but I didn't decide for myself until 430 that morning when I woke up and thought, "I'm 'go' for the Poconos."  Truly regret missing you and the SJ South group a week ago.  We had company, and April is crunch time at work.  Hope to make the next one, and I hope you'll get in some May skiing in Michigan.

    Driving was simple: I-81 and I-84 'til about 8 miles from BB.  Jenny stayed home and watched Apple Blossom parade groups line up at the end of our block.  We do like driving together, though, and she almost decided to make yesterday's trip with me.  I explored two state parks on the way home (Hickory Run, Mont Alto -- possible future field trip sites) and got in around 10 p.m.  
  • Is this the first time for May lift-serviced-skiing in PA?

    Joshua, I thought that might be the case.  People there told me, though, that some of the previous May Day events at BB have included lift service, although it seemed that the event more often required people to hike up and the coverage wasn't usually TTB.

    The consensus was that the clean snow, amount of coverage, number and size of park features, and lift service combined to make 2018 on of the best -- if not the best -- May Days at Big Boulder.  And the weather was pleasant, too.  
  • Great report!
    That’s why that trail was closed March 4th when I was there! They were saving it for Woody!
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • Camelback could have gone 2 more weeks easily when they closed.  If they wanted to they could have the Superstar set up a go really late on Cliffhanger.  Having been there after closing several times over the years I can tell you it retains snow quite well. Build a glacier on it (might tale an upgrade in guns on that trail), run Stevenson Quad, and have the party down on the deck at Trails End, it could easily be done.  

    Big Boulder poured it on to make those features.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • What trail was that at BB?
  • newman said:

    What trail was that at BB?

    Newman, it was Boulder Park.  The operating lift was to skier's right: the Big Boulder triple.  And the BB Park lodge was open, with grill service outside and beer, etc., indoors.
  • ski_it said:

    Great report!
    That’s why that trail was closed March 4th when I was there! They were saving it for Woody!


    ;))

    Then thanks for not ducking the rope, ski_it!
  • edited May 8
    Ah you read between my lines, didn’t ya?
    http://www.snowjournal.com/discussion/1774/big-boulder-pa-3-4-2018#latest
    I was kinda ticked when I was there that they kept the ropes up all day on a weekend in early March on their best slope and no one got it.

    IMHO the staff was just lazy. They could have fenced off the features like I saw them do at Hunter, instead of just ignoring everyone ducking the rope
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • You have more dedication than me, Woody. I actually did think about it but had other obligations that day. It's only an hour for me but I definitely wouldn't have driven 4 hours for the side of one slope. But then I have skied in May before.
    WTGAI!
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