With the temperature hovering in the mid-60’s today, I decided to make a trek out to Whitetail on Sunday night for some skiing, while there’s still some snow left.
All of the snow that was on the ground west of Frederick on Friday has melted. Thankfully, the snow on some of the slopes at Whitetail has not melted, although it’s trying to. I arrived at Whitetail around 5 p.m. and was pleased to see a complete lack of crowds.
All of the beginner terrain, along with intermediates Upper Angel Drop, Homerun, and Snow Dancer were open. Thin cover existed in some areas. I spent most of my time on Upper Angel Drop and Homerun.
I had a fantastic time. The weather was incredible - a slightly cool breeze replaced warm air - and the sunset was great to watch from the top of the mountain, eventually replaced by dark sky with stars poking through. You could stop on the middle of a slope and gaze out at the lights of a distant city, the silence being interrupted only by the occasional “swish” of a skier or boarder carving through the snow.
There were no lift lines, and no more than a dozen or two people on a slope at any given time. The snow was soft but hardened up as the sun went down, turning into a very nice consistency. Angel Drop and Homerun had mini-moguls that were fun to ski around, over, and through.
There were some bare spots on all of the trails, which were hard to see in the dark (until you heard your skis scraping against non-snow), but the Patrol had done a good job marking the particularly dangerous areas. Snow Dancer, with a very narrow width of snow, was the most challenging intermediate to ski on.
What will this week bring? With warm temperatures early this week - followed by rain - it’s hard to imagine that there’s much life left in Whitetail’s current base. They may be able to move some snow around to plug holes in some slopes, but they won’t be able to get all of the bare spots. Beginners might find conditions OK early this week, especially since crowds are unlikely. In the meantime, we can hope for the return of colder temperatures. Area resorts won’t be able to make snow until next weekend, at the earliest. Hopefully this intermission will be replaced by a nice two-month stretch of cold temperatures. Otherwise we might be looking at a repeat of last year!
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.
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