Rise and shine, gear up, hit the slopes (or trails), spend the day with the youthful side of Old Man Winter, then raise a pint to starry sky and toast True Winter—in Tucker County. Nestled on the tip-top of West Virginia with elevations jutting over 4,250 feet, and with an annual average snowfall of up to 180 inches, Tucker County is winter the way nature intended—wild, intense and invigorating.Canaan Valley Resort offers downhill skiing and boarding with trail ratings ranging from beginner to blow-your-mind. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing on miles of marked, ungroomed trails provide interaction with nature. And if you’re more snow angel than conqueror, you’ll love Canaan’s tubing park and ice skating arena with its own outdoor fireplace. With an expansive, untamed backcountry, White Grass Ski Touring Center is one of the premier touring centers in the east. Nordic centers provide tours, lessons, maps, backcountry information and equipment rental. Blackwater Falls State Park, with its six-story waterfall that is stunning whether flowing or frozen, offers over ten miles of trails, many groomed for cross country, and a quarter-mile sledding hill. Looking to extend mountain bike season year-round? The all-terrain fat bikes offered at Blackwater Bikes in Davis allow the biking enthusiasts to ride even with snow on the ground.As great as they are, snow sports are just the beginning of Tucker’s True Winter experience. From fresh music performances and special events to legendary libation, you’ll be glad you played up an appetite and a thirst. There are plenty of local favorites to please the palate and warm the soul. The always-happening Purple Fiddle in Thomas offers great brews and live music and floorboards that never stop shaking. Whether you need the warmth of a gourmet coffee or the bracing bite of a Moscow Mule, the Tip Top Coffee Bar is always the right choice. Or sample some interesting brews at one of West Virginia’s largest full-scale microbrewery, Mountain State Brewing Company.In nearby Davis, an authentic taste of New York awaits at Sirianni’s Pizza Café, with mouthwatering pizza, pasta and sandwiches. As its name implies, Hellbender’s Burritos can conquer even the most serious appetite. Stop in to experience Tucker’s newest brewpub, Stumptown Ales, or grab a cold one at Blackwater Brewing Company to complete the true Tucker County pub crawl. Canaan Valley also offers several great dining choices. Enjoy casual dining in a pleasant atmosphere at White Grass Café, or savor a homemade meal at Amelia’s Restaurant. Big John’s Family Fixin’s offers up hardy fare and the area’s largest arcade. And full-service dining by the fireplace at Canaan Valley Resort is a good place to start, or continue, a tradition. Whether you’re staying the weekend or a week, lodging options are diverse and the hospitality is warm and inviting in Tucker County. Canaan Valley’s new 160-room lodge offers luxury and great views, while cozy Bed and Breakfasts offer intimacy and charm. Or choose a quaint rental cabin or accommodating house, many with slope convenient slope access. There’s winter, and there’s True Winter, only in Tucker County. Begin your authentic winter adventure at wvmountains.org or 888-975-SNOW.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Hurricane Wilma knifed through Florida with winds up to 125 mph Monday, shattering windows in skyscrapers, peeling away roofs and knocking out power to 6 million people, with still a month left to go in the busiest Atlantic storm season on record. At least six deaths were blamed on the hurricane in Florida, bringing the toll from the storm’s march through the tropics to 25. After a slow, weeklong journey that saw it pound Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for two days, Wilma made a mercifully swift seven-hour dash across lower Florida, from its southwestern corner to heavily populated Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach on the Atlantic coast. “We have been huddled in the living room trying to stay away from the windows; it got pretty violent there for a while,” said 25-year-old Eddie Kenny, who was at his parents’ home in Plantation near Fort Lauderdale. “We have trees down all over the place and two fences have been totally demolished, crushed, gone.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The insurance industry estimated insured losses in Florida at anywhere from $2 billion to $9 billion. Officials said it was the most damaging storm to hit the Fort Lauderdale area since 1950. The 21st storm of the 2005 season – and the eighth hurricane to hit Florida in 15 months – howled ashore around daybreak just south of Marco Island as a Category 3, cutting electricity to the entire Florida Keys. A tidal surge of up to 9 feet swamped parts of Key West in chest-high water, and U.S. 1, the only highway to the mainland, was flooded. “A bunch of us that are the old-time Key Westers are kind of waking up this morning, going, ‘Well, maybe I should have paid a little more attention,”‘ said restaurant owner Amy Culver-Aversa, among the 90 percent of Key West residents who chose to ignore the fourth mandatory evacuation order this year. As it moved across the state, Wilma weakened to a Category 2 with winds of 105 mph. But it was still powerful enough to flatten trees, flood streets, break water mains, knock down signs, turn debris into missiles and light up the sky with the blue-green flash of popping transformers. By early afternoon, Wilma had swirled out into the open Atlantic, back up to 115-mph Category 3 strength but on a course unlikely to have much effect on the East Coast. Forecasters said it would stay well offshore. Wilma brought 8 inches of rain to Miami-Dade County, nearly 6 inches to Naples and 3 inches to Fort Lauderdale. The flooding could well have been worse if the storm had lingered over the state instead of racing straight through, National Hurricane Center meteorologist Mark McInerney said. “There’s really no good scenario for a hurricane, just a lesser of two evils,” he said. More than one-third of the state’s residents lost power. Florida Power & Light, the state’s biggest utility, said it could take weeks to restore electricity to everyone. The storm’s reach was so great that it blacked out homes and businesses as far north as Daytona Beach, an eight-hour drive north from Key West. Also, a tornado spun off by the storm damaged an apartment complex near Melbourne on the east coast, 200 miles from where Wilma came ashore. “Everything is put on hold,” said Carrie Carlton, 29, a medical assistant who waited in line for the one working pay phone at a Fort Lauderdale convenience store. “What’s really frustrating is you can’t get in touch with anyone, either. … People are hungry, and when you get hungry, you get” angry. In Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Miami Beach, countless windows were blown out of high-rises. Along downtown Miami’s Brickell Avenue, broken glass from skyscrapers littered streets and sidewalks. Broken water mains in the Fort Lauderdale area prompted advisories to boil water, and a ruptured main in downtown Miami sprayed water 15 feet in the air. The Broward County Courthouse and the 14-story school board office complex looked like bombed-out buildings. All three of South Florida’s major airports – Miami International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Palm Beach – were closed at least until today. The Miami Police Department building lost some letters on its sign. “It was a wild and crazy night,” Lt. Bill Schwartz said. “This building, built in 1976, shook like it was 1876.” In Weston, near Fort Lauderdale, Kim DuBois sat in her darkened house with her two children and husband, with the only light coming from the battery-powered pumpkin lantern they bought for Halloween. “I could hear tiles coming off the roof,” she said. “There are trees on cars and flooding at the end of our street.” In the snowbird enclave Marco Island, where only about 3,000 of the 15,000 residents were believed to have stayed for the storm, the streets were littered with damaged street signs, roofing shingles, awnings and fences. The storm impressed even amateur hurricane chaser Josh Morgerman. A marketing executive from Los Angeles, Morgerman flew to Tampa on Saturday to meet the storm, left Naples as the eye passed and drove to Everglades City. “It was very serene and there were birds flying,” a wet and shivering Morgerman said. “And then when we got here and got out of the car, it was like a rocket went off.” A man in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Coral Springs died when a tree fell on him. Another man in rural Collier County died when his roof collapsed on him or a tree fell on his roof. In Palm Beach County, a man went to move his van and was killed when debris smashed him into the windshield. Also, an 83-year-old St. Johns County woman died in a weekend car crash while evacuating. A man in Collier County had a fatal heart attack while walking in the storm. An 82-year-old woman in Boyton Beach died after a sliding glass door in her living room fell on her as she looked out. President George W. Bush, bitterly criticized for a sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina, signed a disaster declaration for hurricane-damaged areas and promised swift action to help Wilma’s victims. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was prepared to send in dozens of military helicopters and 13.2 million ready-to-eat meals. Associated Press writers Allen Breed in Naples, Erik Schelzig in Marathon, Melissa Trujillo in Fort Lauderdale, David Royse in Key West, and Ron Word, Adrian Sainz and Brent Kallestad in Miami contributed to this story. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!