My husband Charles and I began our season at Whitetail in the bitter cold of early December (probably around zero degrees wind-chill factor). We gloried in it on Saturday, March the 15th, in weather that felt like 60 or 70 degrees. Skiers had stripped down to their t-shirts, but there were no bathing suits in sight. That could come for the final weekend, on the 22nd and 23rd. Whitetail is scheduled to remain open until that time. But check the webcam if you do go up - with these warm temperatures, there is no guarantee the snow will last. There are also no price discounts scheduled for the weekend, but - if you go - a half day ticket should suffice in the slushy snow. Tickets are free at Whitetail Monday and Tuesday - perhaps a good excuse for a quick trip after work!
Saturday was one of the many days in recent visits where we felt we had the mountain to ourselves. Employees estimate an attendence of nearly 1,600 skiers - quite a bit down from the heavy winter days of 5,000. There were virtually no lift lines, and little danger of being crashed into on the nearly empty slopes. Even the daredevils who execute amazing jumps over the big hills appeared to have slowed down. No doubt, the soft snow affected their ability to get a good run, or achieve high elevation.
All the trails were slow, but the soft snow was forgiving. I love the moguls on Bold Decision on a day like Saturday - they check my speed, and make me believe I won’t get hurt (unless I snap an ankle). I get much more tense when the moguls ice up a bit later in the day or evening. But all the trials had excellent runs - especially Exhibition, Far Side, Fanciful, Snowdancer, Limelight, and Homerun. Some cutaways were closed, because snow had not been made or groomed to stay on the surface. With the warm conditions and small crowds, it is unlikely Whitetail - or any of the other local areas, will make more snow this seaon.
Whatever happens next week, we can all be thankful for an incredible season! Reflect on last year, when the year was shortened by warm weather and drought concerns, which affected snowmaking. No one can predict the future but, as the warm weather approaches, keep thinking snow!
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.