Whitetail gave all its visitors a wonderful post Christmas treat. We had a marvelous day! The slopes were in remarkable condition, thanks to the snowmakers and groomers. The weather was warm - between 30 and 40 degrees while my husband Charles and I were there, and the sun was out most of the time. Best of all, there were no avalanches, blinding blizzards, or altitude problems, which my friends in the West were coping with. But, the main runs had the wide, sweeping feel of some of the fine Western resorts, even if on a shorter scale. Whitetail is known for this. For a few minutes, I could pretend I was back in the West, where I had been two weeks ago.
On Friday, over 60% of the mountain was open. The conditions were listed as machine made packed powder. Charles and I managed to check out most of the open trails between us. Most held their cover while we were there, and little of it had been skied off. There were no signs of hidden rocks or twigs on the main parts of the trails.
We began on the sweeping new trail, Sidewinder. It is to the right off the Easy Rider Quad, and offers a gentle, panoramic cruising trail for beginner and intermediate skiers and riders. It reminded me of such lovely sightseeing trails in Timberline, West Virginia, and Telluride, Colorado. Everyone seemed to enjoy it while we were on it.
Then we went over to the Whitetail Express Chair, and took Angel Drop and Home Run. We observed the new Jib Junction Double chairlift, which takes snowboarders and skiers to the Terrain Park. I have advocated this for years, and was delighted to see it put to good use. It is easing some of the congestion from the Angel Drop area.
Charles went onto the Experts Choice Quad, and had a good run on Drop In and Exhibition. I was not skiing up to par, so I went back to the Easy Rider and took a series of runs down Snow Park, which I loved. I was having trouble making the transition from Western conditions earlier in the month, to Eastern hard pack. There is also a problem adjusting to my old, lighter equipment, rather than the modern, heavier skis and boots I rent when we travel out West. In general, the rental equipment is better than mine, but it is heavy and the boots are hard to buckle. How I love walking around in my old Eastern boots. I will find the happy medium, but have not yet done so.
It was wonderful to re-visit Whitetail, and to see old friends. It has not been an easy year for all of them, but there is a sense of optimism. General Manager Don MacAskill told us there is more terrain open now than at this time last year. Whitetail managed to operate for 94 days last year, and they hope to exceed that this year.
There are many special events planned, but one of the earliest ones is New Year’s Eve. This year the theme is New Year’s in Hollywood, with live music, fireworks, a lavish buffet, door prizes, and the midnight ball drop. Skiers and riders can stay on the slopes until 1 am. It is a family affair, and no liquor is served. The details are on the Whitetail website, but the buffet and lift tickets are about $80, or less for children. The buffet alone is $43.00.
While on the subject of prices, it is so much cheaper to buy a lift ticket through their Advantage Cards, or season pass specials (which have now passed for this year). There are also “Mountain Passport Packages” for first time skiers and boarders, for $45. Why would anyone pay $80 or $40 half day, when they can get great bargains by planning ahead and buying early? Sometimes you have to take a gamble; it is probably a better investment than the stock market at this time!
We hope to return to Whitetail, as well as its sister areas - Liberty and Roundtop - several times this season. We want to check out the snow tubing, the lessons, and the growing adaptive and wounded warrior programs in all areas. So much to do, and so relatively few snow days!
Happy, healthy, safe New Year!
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.