Catching the Dream

By David McCue (this post first appeared on

The Mountain State of West Virginia has four major alpine ski resorts and during winter storm events they often gather up most of the best snow in the Mid Atlantic; the whole region has great skiing but I have an especially soft spot for the high Canaan Valley. Two of our best alpine resorts are there with a world class cross-country area tucked in between. These places thrive on deep natural snow and when winter storm warnings start stacking up its where I want to be. And so it was last weekend; if it’s going to be biblical, why not head toward Canaan?

The Canaan Valley is best known for its pristine wilderness. The Dolly Sods, Canaan Wildlife Refuge and Blackwater Falls are spectacular places all year; in winter throw into the mix two alpine resorts, Timberline Four Seasons and Canaan Valley Resort; then between the two and virtually adjoining them both is the magnificent Whitegrass Touring Center.

Miles of trails and ski runs stretch like a web and the silk and gossamer are woods and glades. This is the main reason why the valley is my personal favorite for skiing after a storm. To peer around every Spruce and Beech, to pass over small falls and creek beds you need deep snow, a good attitude and an open mind, and you need the people with love and commitment to the region to open that up.

Like so many of us I watched the storm forecasts and computer models last week until my eyes actually flickered on their own. The bullseye kept moving but I made my bet on Thursday afternoon, threw skis in the car and pointed it north toward Davis, West Virginia. Anytime I can ski off a lift into a fresh 2 to 4 inches I’m a happy camper– this was projected to be 2 to 4 FEET. I was delirious. In the end the totals in the Valley were around 28’, so if not Biblical, epic will do…

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