West By Ullr Virginia

By:  Peter
November 4, 2012

It was two weeks ago, while most of the East Coast was bracing for the wind, rain, and tidal surge of Hurricane Sandy, that the first rumors of deep hurricane-induced snows in Appalachia started circulating among the schuss-reverent. Then our own Lionel Hutz dropped official word on Friday Oct.25th that West Virginia was going to get dumped on in a few days. Per usual, he was right.

I have been looking for an excuse to ski Whitegrass since meeting Chip Chase and crew at a telemark festival circa 2003 and being blown away by the Whitegrass crew’s sheer love of sliding on snow. I wanted to go visit and drink some of that Koolaid that made them so much fun to be around (and some more of their infamous moonshine too!). But, the idea of taking days off of work and driving 12hrs each way to ski south of the Mason-Dixon line in October seemed as ridiculous as me drinking whiskey shots until 2am at Red Square Bar and Lionel Hutz winning $100 in the costume contest. But, that happened last Saturday night (someone has a pic, please post in the comments), and on Sunday while nursing our epic hangovers Jake started planting the seed that this was a good idea. On Monday he called me and told me I was in. He didn’t really ask, he just suggested that I would never forgive myself if I didn’t jump on this once in a lifetime opportunity to:


Really, how could I say no to that? I would be crazy NOT to go. I looped some appropriate music in my headphones all day at work, told my boss I would be too “well” to work tomorrow, and packed up my gear for my first ski day of the year (but not Jake’s). Jake got out of work at 8:30pm Tuesday and we met up with Will, shoved all our gear into Jake’s car, and headed south into the teeth of Sandy.
Jake bent over the steering wheel and raced us towards NJ like a ski-obsessed Dean Moriarty. Somewhere along I-87 we were low on gas, and started to realize there was no power anywhere. Any gas stations that were open had no power to run the pumps. On the horizon to the east, the huge red light dome of the Jersey Shore was conspicuously absent. We knew the storm was raging, but were really unable to comprehend just how bad conditions were just a few miles away.

With less than 1/4 of a gallon left in the tank, Jake glided us into a truck stop that had working pumps on the PA border. He tossed me the keys and said to wake him up for snow. A little after dawn on Halloween Day we pulled to the side of the road to inspect a suspicious white substance.

ewww, gross, it’s pow.

2 hours of semi-sketchy driving on snot-slick roads we pulled into Whitegrass. Third car in the lot, after the plow.

The other 2 cars were from PA, and the question was asked, “Where are all the locals?”

Will led the way into the luxurious base lodge/spa/quintuple-diamond restaurant/hotel

The amenities were definitely up to the exacting standard of FamousInternetSkiers.

We wasted no time in getting ready. Will and Jake quickly fired up their high-speed quads and scored “first chair” on this most-epic of epic powder days

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Read about the author:   Peter


  1. Jake
    wrote on November 4th, 2012 at 10:42 pm  

    This is a place that just oozes the essence of the sport we love; the three of us ate it up. Whitegrass has a surplus of the purest ski stoke. We wish we could be so lucky to only ski at places as cool as this for ever.

    The most honest expression of my takeaway from this trip. There was so much that was so memorable about this trip, but the place where we made our turns was one of the most happy and glorious places I have ever been. To anyone who would ever have the inclination to go to WV to ski, you MUST visit Whitegrass. MUST.

    Wonderful capturing of the whole experience Peter.

  2. Matt
    wrote on November 5th, 2012 at 9:54 am  

    Nice job, Boys. We were at Timberline on that day on our own road trip, and we hit Whitegrass the next day. Everybody who skis West Virginia MUST make a stop at Whitegrass. That is absolutely non-negotiable.

  3. christian
    wrote on November 5th, 2012 at 11:12 am  

    wow, that looked rad…iculous!
    it’s a shame that there aren’t more (any?) ski areas up here in “ski country” that give off the same stoke as that place. everything is a fast paced, over populated, bro’d out, vert factory. it’s hard to find a place with any character.
    props to you guys for getting after it. WOOF!

    • Anonymous
      wrote on November 5th, 2012 at 12:50 pm  

      to bro or not to bro… that is not the question… that is for YOU do act upon.

      rise above the bro… see the bro… do NOT be the bro… bro

  4. Denis
    wrote on November 5th, 2012 at 12:40 pm  

    Glad you made it. I’ve been enjoying Whitegrass for almost 30 years.

  5. Porter
    wrote on November 5th, 2012 at 1:15 pm  

    God damn Peter, hellava job. Turn that dial to 11!

  6. Woodja
    wrote on November 5th, 2012 at 1:20 pm  

    You guys were powder hogs and scarfed up all the snowy glades on your performance enhancing slick bling sticks! That’s southern hospitality I guess…moonshine and stoke and nobody does that better than Chipper!

  7. MadPatSki
    wrote on November 5th, 2012 at 4:27 pm  

    Good stuff.

    Subaru with a box and VT plates on Halloween? It was one of the rare non-SUV or non-pickup truck that we saw on the road. I believe we saw you drive up the Canaan Valley Resort road as Matt and I were heading for Timberline.

    I totally agree about the vibe of White Grass. So cool!!!

  8. Jake
    wrote on November 5th, 2012 at 5:49 pm  

    The parking lot at last! I could fall upon my knees and kiss its every stripe. But come. We must enter now and take this booth here by the window. Let the tempest outside look upon us, helpless to afflict us any longer. Let us now drink coffee without limit and fill our shrunken stomachs with pecan waffles and country ham. My love, let us rejoice!

    Pulled from The Onion article linked above. My question is how, since this article was written in ’09, did they get your exact quote Pete when we pulled in at 10pm that night? Only on Halloween do time and space lose their rules.

  9. bushman
    wrote on November 5th, 2012 at 8:29 pm  

    thanks FIS, again, for sharing WV trip with us. Like the fact tht WG kept its heritage–the rope tows, wood lodge, and hospitality that beats all–can just see it in their faces, and yours. Gret write up and pics. Well, time to pack for JP on Sat.

  10. NutmegCharlie
    wrote on November 6th, 2012 at 2:13 pm  

    Thanks…thanks for making me totally friggin jealous! Nice start to the season, and thanks for sharing!

  11. KC
    wrote on November 6th, 2012 at 2:49 pm  

    I love Whitegrass and I’ve never even been there. Nice work!

  12. Chipper Chase
    wrote on November 7th, 2012 at 8:19 am  

    Sandy was a once in a lifetime early snow dump that has gone down in the history books as the biggest ever recorded for us. To have the limelight and attract so many far away passionate skiers was the most suprising outcome we could imagine. A chance to utilize the glades, the powerless wood heated lodge, a tiny snow filled parking lot with out of state plates, and a mountainside that has been passionately skied for over 50 years. We are honored by the skill, love, and dedication that was shared and may we all continue to stoke the ski furnace for others to be inspired by.

  13. 420
    wrote on November 7th, 2012 at 2:46 pm  

    White Grass is where all the real skiers go eventually. Check out some of the local hotshots tearing up white grass on both fat and skinny skis in the last half of this video: http://vimeo.com/19181835

  14. jumping jimmy
    wrote on November 8th, 2012 at 12:20 pm  

    Great ski story! Thanks for sharing, you wackos!

  15. Anonymous
    wrote on November 11th, 2012 at 9:17 pm  


  16. Johnny
    wrote on November 15th, 2012 at 7:33 pm  

    Awesome post and a great ode to a place that means so much to a lot of us who get out to Whitegrass for the sweet vibe. I was raised up there in Bennington but have been down this way enjoying the place for years, so it’s awesome to see some fellow green mountain boys coming down to check it out.

  17. SlowSmooth
    wrote on November 20th, 2012 at 5:02 pm  

    To answer your question, many locals were snowed in without any power. The odd paradox of people seeking fun and adventure in the midst of a state-wide(coast-wide?) disaster is quite interesting. You are lucky you got in so easily!

    Epic. Will not be easy to forget this early season shot in the arm.

  18. jake
    wrote on February 6th, 2015 at 8:26 pm  

    BUMP! one of the fondest memories i have

  19. jake
    wrote on February 5th, 2016 at 9:10 am  

    god. awesome. strange how i find my way back to this post one year after my last time bumping this. forever on my mind.

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