It’s days after one of our biggest snowfalls this decade, and I’m jonesing to make a break from the office to get my piece of the powder. Nothing was more enticing on this clear, warm Thursday evening than laying some tracks under the lights, particularly since the prospect of rain was souring my chances at riding over the weekend. Roundtop, just 45 minutes from my office in Hunt Valley, MD, delivered the jones.
Trails were still in great shape with a mixed soft- to hard-powder pack, and there was virtually no ice to be found on the entire trail network. Quite a few guests had amassed by 6 pm with the same idea in mind, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the great conditions, wide-open trails, and easy lift access. Roundtop’s vertical is just over 600 feet, but a nice variety and consistent pitch certainly make up for a smallish stature. And while comparisons to sister resort Liberty are obvious, Roundtop often gets the nod from more experienced snow riders looking to make some turns locally.
Minuteman trail is always the obvious choice for first runs. Its width and mix of groomed turf and small bumps made for a good ride time and time again. Susquehanna was another fun cruiser, but the night’s best snow was on Lafayette’s Leap, with deep powder stashes in abundance. The only trail not under lights was Barrett’s Trail-a narrow black diamond/upper intermediate ride through the woods that winds down on the resort’s beginner side. Bumps were another easy find on Exhibition and Ramrdo, and the forgiving snow even lured me into its domain.
Snow tubing was still running strong at night on all lanes, as was the terrain park and halfpipe. The resort has moved the terrain park to the space between Minuteman and Lafayette’s Leap. While the acreage in the park is a bit on the small side, the obstacles are plenty. Look for two tabletops, some gaps and rails, and what appears to be a nasty quarterpipe. Roundtop has always maintained a pretty good halfpipe, which sits right in front of the main lodge.
It’s now the following week, and I’m thinking hard about making another night trip to Roundtop. Let’s hope we get some more powder this week.
John Phillips is author of Ski & Snowboard America: Mid-atlantic, now in its second edition. He can be found snowboarding the local slopes on most winter weekends.