In the past week, my husband Charles and I skied three local resorts: Liberty, Whitetail, and Roundtop. These local ski areas managed to do a superb job, despite 60-degree temperatures. The good news is, the recent January thaw has ended, and the snowmakers are working hard in this cold weather. What a wonderful invention! Prior to that, the areas were starting to lose their shirts during the thaw. (Is that why so many sportspeople were out in shirtsleeves?) The major skiers and boarders on the slopes during this warm stretch appeared to be those with season passes or the Advantage card, which gave them discounts.
There are some advantages to skiing during an “Indian Summer.” The best part is - no lift lines and no crowds on the slopes. In addition, it is wonderful to be out in the warmth and the sun, with very few layers of clothes. But, it is a disaster for the snow. By Saturday, many of the runs had closed, as had my beloved tubing areas. By Monday, some of the areas closed down completely, waiting for cold temperatures to return so snowmaking could resume.
At Ski Roundtop, numerous runs were still open on Saturday. These runs included Ramrod, which is steep, narrow, and dramatic at the top. The Ramrod Chairlift, over jagged boulders, is one of the more exciting views in the Mid-Atlantic region. Like most of the runs, there were barespots, with patches of dirt and grass. But there were few stones, and - of course - no ice! Lafayette’s Leap had some nice big moguls, but not as good as the legendary ones which can form on Bold Decision at Whitetail. Other good Roundtop runs were Minuteman, Susquehanna, and Exhibition.
Rountop has some dramatic views - including the smokestacks of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in the distance. It is eerie to see the one dead smokestack, and remember its near melt-down. Roundtop also has the beautiful, panoramic views of the Pennsylvania countryside, as do the other two areas. The drive is a bit longer, but worth it for variety. Also, more slopes appeared to be in the shade, and held onto the precious snow.
In short, everyone around me appeared to be having fun. It is better to be able to ski or snowboard, than have nothing at all. But, the Western storms and cold are headed our way. The times they are a changing!
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.