Firsthand Report: Whitetail 9
By M. Ethan Ross

Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, has always been a popular ski resort for folks from the Greater Washington D.C. Baltimore Metropolitan area. Located about a 90 minute drive from both of these towns, it is conveniently close to Interstate 70. It is a picturesque trip. Upon arrival at the resort’s muddy parking lot, which is a country mile to the lift ticket window, you can pay an exorbitant amount of money to purchase a four hour lift ticket.

Whitetail’s base lodge. Photo provided by M. Ethan Ross.

My wife and I went skiing here during a weekday last week, and due to terrible weather conditions along with Dennis Kucinich’s packed house campaign events, we were able to enjoy an almost empty resort. After purchasing our four hour flex tickets for $40 each, from the lady at the window who was playing paper, rock, scissors by herself, we headed for the slopes. The slopes looked more like a golf course, as only several of them were covered with fake snow. While the resort could not be blamed for the global warming effects caused by the local cow farm’s methane problem, we were shocked that they were charging full price.

Due to the lack of acceptable conditions, and lack of skiing in the past year, we decided to stick to the easier and more intermediate slopes. The first slopes we decided to try were Northern Lights and Velvet, which are serviced by two double quad lifts. These lifts are fairly slow, and are similar to a moped, in that they are fun to ride until your friends see you on them. After reading a Sports Illustrated and Modern Maturity Magazine, we were able to disembark for our first run. These slopes are outstanding for newer skiers, and still a lot of fun for people with more experience. Almost Home interlopes between the two, but had some grassy knolls and a lack of grooming during our visit.

Unseasonably warm temperatures in early January took a toll on Whitetail’s slopes. Whitetail’s powerful snowmaking system (and the return of cold temps) is turning things around; by this weekend the resort will have 70% of terrain open. Photo provided by M. Ethan Ross.

The employees on these lifts did a great job in difficult conditions, as they were able to keep the loading and exit zones loaded with flattened snow. We enjoyed getting to know some of the young men and women from other countries, who do these temporary jobs. Many of them had never seen snow before working at the resort, and they have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Whitetail Resort has a new sheriff in town as well, and his name is Ray. He was diligently checking our lift tickets with his scanner, and watching out for any violations. While he was a bit on the rough, gruff, and tough side, he was a lot warmer than the sheriff from the movie “Deliverance,” which was played by James Dickey. He was more like the manager of the Cleveland Indians in “Major League,” and we greatly appreciated his help after a couple falls.

Although it is listed as an easier slope, Snow Park is by all means intermediate, and would be considered advanced at a smaller resort such as Bryce. A quick moving quad lift services this slope, and there is a great view from on top of this mountain on the left side of the resort. Although not as high as the near 1,800-foot plateau of the right side slopes, it is almost “high enough” to understand the lyrics of the Grateful Dead. There is a steep incline after exiting the slope, that will make you scream with joy, and there are two smaller ones that make it quite a ride. The conditions were excellent throughout this slope, with minimal amounts of grass or thin cover. The advanced slopes such as Fanciful, Exhibition, and Bold Decision looked tempting, but had more patches than I have on my near bald head.

The base area of Whitetail on a warm day. Photo provided by M. Ethan Ross.

Considering the weather conditions, Whitetail Resort did a good job with the fake snow. Fake snow will have to do until the real stuff arrives sometime this winter. We were impressed by the quality of Whitetail’s slopes, and by the fact that their employees were both helpful and friendly. They were nice enough to charge us $3.50 for a bottled water, and there’s nothing better than a $2.00 Snickers bar. While the cost of food at ski areas makes a movie theatre’s concessions seem reasonable, we had a great time out on the slopes that were available to ski on, and we will return later this season.

Related Links
DCSki Sponsor: Massanutten Resort

Reader Comments

Crush
January 17, 2008
The amount of associative hyperbole per square inch in this article approaches the point of information obstrufication! Uncle Jonathan's Cornpipe! Great Oden's Raven! By The Beard Of Zeus! Sweet GrandMothers Spatchula!
M.Ethan Ross
January 17, 2008
Hi Crush,

Thank you for the read and comments. Are you my former English professor by any chance? These comments sound remarkably familiar.

Have a great day,

M.Ethan Ross
JimK
January 17, 2008
As we all know maintaining humor while continuing to hit the slopes despite lousy weather defines a mid-Atlantic skier. Great pics, if a bit depressing. Things are getting white up there now.
M.Ethan Ross
January 17, 2008
Jim,

Being a mid-Atlantic skier definetly requires a real sense of humor. It is good to know that Whitetail is getting some much needed snow, and it is certainly a wonderful resort if conditions are optimal.

M.Ethan
Michael
January 17, 2008
Since Whitetail is a family resort, perhaps you could limit your "druggie" references to oh say maybe, one per paragraph instead of one per sentence.

At least now we understand why you would pay 2 bucks for a snickers bar........dude!
M.Ethan Ross
January 18, 2008
Hi Michael,

Thank you for the read and comments. I can understand your sentiments about this family resort, and trust me, the drug references were meant to be tongue and cheek. This winter season has been a bit frustrating, so please do not take these silly comments personally. Best of luck on the slopes,

M.Ethan Ross
Crush
January 18, 2008
M. E. R - nope not an English teach tho i lik too rite and sumtimz i rit poetry an other stuf. i also got payd ten cent per word as uh riter and also i lik drugz a lot i hi lee fell thay enhans mi kwalitie uf liph an espand mi brane an helps me kreate neu wurd-art az wel az sofwair cinse i am a web sophtwair devlopr.
M.Ethan Ross
January 18, 2008
OK.
crush
January 18, 2008
. we skied 7-springs today and despite a hangover today was truly beautiful - the day started out overcast but by 2:15 pm the sun was out and we were wailing runs off the north face. Hey that new detachable 6-pack is awesome. it was so much love-skiing. and the off-trail stuff (oh i guess i eamn heh - mean off-piss errr what's that term?!!??!?!) was tricky - wind-buffed sun-crust and it was perfect to wail through.

so perfect perfect and i still love PA chicks ! omg such a cute one wrrking @ the new bit-o-thburgh bar this server got all my tips - so sweet and cute. life-is-good!!!!

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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