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I've skied Timberline, WV many times since my first visit in March 1990, including a fine powder day this January about a month before this incident. It's a little more than three hours west of Wash DC. It is a ski area managed in the Mom & Pop style. The principal owner can be seen some days bussing trays in the cafeteria. It has been run on a shoestring budget for years. Clientele put up with minimalist infrastructure because Timberline has some of the best advanced ski terrain in the mid-Atlantic. The base is at an elevation of approximately 3200' and summit 4200'. It receives more natural snow on average than most, if not all ski areas, south of NY. That is still only about 150" per winter, but can reach or exceed 250" in exceptional years. An upside to the lax management is that they allow guests to access an extensive area of tree skiing between regular trails. Because the area gets decent natural snow that makes Timberline your best bet for available tree skiing in the mid-Atlantic. Blue Knob, PA, about two hours northeast of T-Line, has good glades too, but not as much natural snow.
What I'm getting at is there is a high tolerance at Timberline for "relaxed" management and few infrastructure improvements, but this lift incident is a serious test of that tolerance. Nobody, no matter how hardcore or forgiving, wants to get unexpectedly bounced from a chairlift at 25 feet. I hope the ski area has a strong recovery from this with a quick and competent repair of the lift. They need to strongly reassure their customer base that a fine mom & pop ski area can still be a safe ski area.
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