My husband Charles says it will be a “warm day in Heaven” before you see 65 degree weather in February. But we had it, and it was fun, as we visited Whitetail on Saturday, February 7, 2009. There were some young men skiing with no shirts, and bare skin badly in need of exposure to sunlight. There were also some men who may have severe sunburn on their balding heads! We were sweltering in our heavy ski clothes, but had a wonderful few hours of skiing. It was soft, of course, and that was a good thing; Charles and I each had a fall, but on the soft snow we got back up laughing.
The mountain was packed, as we knew it would be. Who could resist such a beautiful day? Unofficial estimates put the crowds at 5,000 but the Whitetail Express Quad and the Experts Choice lines moved amazingly well; Easy Rider was jammed. The Expert side of the mountain was terrific, with hardly any crowds. I had a wonderful few runs on my favorite trail, Bold Decision. There were few moguls on it, but there were lots of them on Exhibition. Charles’ knees don’t like moguls so we decided to skip that one! Charles preferred Farside, while I stayed on Bold Decision. He said Farside was smooth, fast, and empty. When we tired of the Expert side, we took Fallmount, back to the base. Although we had to pole at the end next to the lodge, it was totally empty and in the trees; Charles said it had the feel of a cross country trail. I did not want to go back up and face the crowds again on Angel Drop or Homerun, but, they are much better now, with the addition of the Jib Junction Double to the Terrain Park.
We were pleased to see a large group of skiers and boarders from the Maryland Special Olympics, receiving excellent training and practicing for competition. About 150 athleters were there training. Perhaps they were inspired by the international Special Olympics Games underway in Boise, Idaho. There were also some adaptive skiers coming down the mountain on their sit skis. That program is also growing.
Tubing was also in full swing, with all 10 lanes in operation, as well as special kiddie tubing.
In general, rates have dropped for all tickets from the peak holiday period, although there are more holidays coming up. There is also a special Mountain Passport package for first time skiers and boarders. The price is a bargain at $45.
Whitetail is such a beautiful, extraordinary mountain! It is incredible to have such a wonderful resort so close to the Washington and other metro areas. It is also well run by a dedicated staff - many of whom have worked there for years. I wish I were a good enough skier to help with instruction or patrol, but I am privileged to be able to visit and write about it. Thanks to my husband Charles for his photos and driving, and making these wonderful visits possible!
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.
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