After spending most of the day driving home from family and recovering from a full day at Crystal Mountain on 12/26, I found some time to head up to Pine Knob for some late night laps and put in a few hours in the dark.
Pine Knob is currently running extended double sessions, from 9am to 11pm through the new year, so even if you can’t get up until late, you can still get some turns in under the raucous buzz of the snow guns.
Two days after Christmas, nestled right in between Rich-Kid-City and Rich-Kid-City-Hills, Pine Knob was every bit as crowded as I expected it to be, with the bulk of the action being on Chairs 1 and 2, and at the top of Quicksilver where Chairs 5 and 6 converge there were probably never fewer than 50 people strapping in, or already strapped in but just twiddling their dicks or whatever getting in the way, so yeah it was crowded, but would’ve been hell if they were only partially open.
Fortunately for all, almost every trail was either open, or accessible (some undergoing maintenance/blowing but could be poached easily enough) thanks to 6″ of fresh the previous afternoon/evening, the snow was nice; soft with some weight to it but not too heavy, and the 5pm grooming session smoothed out any ruts that may have formed during the earlier session, so A+ on the grooming and maintenance!
There was little in the way of park, one butter box and a longer flat box on Bumper underneath Chair 3, and a mini jump and some haphazard hips in what is normally The Pinery terrain park. As per usual, park etiquette at Pine Knob is slim to non-existent, piles of kids lining up to hit one box, then immediately stopping to queue up for the second box, like WTF bro have you never heard of “flow” or “putting together a line”? I understand there’s only two features but that should make it easier, not harder.
Last year Pine Knob did an absolutely killer job with the Timberline terrain park, so I’m hopeful that given another week or two of cold temps, they can bust out the good features and stack that park again.
I observe that the full-sized trail map on Pine Knob’s website still does not include Timberline terrain park, which has been a part of the ski area since at least the mid-2000’s (in the late 1990’s it was a wooded area where kids would go to smoke weed, slam beers, or take a piss).