Firsthand Report: Liberty 4
Author thumbnail By James Chen, DCSki Columnist

Despite the warm weather, conditions at Ski Liberty are the best they’ve been in years - literally. Ski Liberty has 100% of its terrain open (yes - even the half-pipe!) All the trails have a good strong base of snow.

On Saturday, Adventure Alley was open with machine groomed bumps on the upper portion. These bumps are perfectly spaced and just right for practicing technique. After hitting these for a few practice runs, I hit the bigger, less regular bumps on Eastwind. Upper Eastwind has obviously had some expert skiers come through. Rather than the usual long icy slide to the first bump, there was actually a line cut through from nearly the top. Taking that line down skier’s right put you in some nicely shaped large moguls.

With the temperatures in the low 40’s, the bumps gave enough to give even some of the more timid bump skiers confidence through the steeps. The lower half of Eastwind was even better with lots of lines cut through from edge to near edge. One note of caution, the lines through lower Eastwind tend to flow to the right requiring you to switch left halfway through.

Upper and lower Strata were quite occupied. Seems I wasn’t the only one that missed skiing that trail! But there was still plenty of room to carve huge S turns. The good news is that skiers and boarders were more spread out over the rest of the resort with none of the usual traffic nightmare at Heavenly. In fact, Heavenly was just that - lots of powder, manageable skier traffic and plenty of room to carve! Upper and lower Ultra were also in great condition with real powder on skier’s right.

For beginners and those less adventurous, Ski Liberty has set up two “Family Ski Zones” on Whitney’s Way (formerly Be Happy) and Don’t Worry. The family ski zone signs at the beginning of these trails are huge so you can’t complain you didn’t know if you get nabbed by Ski Patrol for skiing too fast. Lots of snow on both trails.

On a side note, Ski Liberty did have a race course set up on Whitney’s Way on Saturday. Doesn’t make much sense to me - putting a RACE course on a Family Ski Zone slope where you need to go SLOW. Family zone skiers will want to note that on those race days, a good half of Whitney’s Way is closed off. Beginners and lower intermediates will also enjoy Dipsy with full coverage beyond edge to edge (remember not to ski behind the snowmaking equipment!) and Sneaky Pete open. There’s also the First Class Skier area with the widest trail and the most gradual slope at the area. This is perfect for first time skiers. In fact, a friend of mine who tried skiing for the first time had a blast up there - he’ll definitely be back. (Hi Mike!)

As for the rest of the Front side, Blue Streak and White Lighting are both open. Blue Streak is, by far, my favorite with plenty of snow edge to edge and the best snow on the skier’s left. White Lighting still has the lip where you can catch some air on the way down. Unfortunately, there wasn’t as much of the softer white stuff on this trail.

With temperatures expected to cool off later this week, skiing should remain fun for a long time yet!

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About James Chen

James "Jim" Chen" is a member of the National Ski Patrol and Assistant Patrol Director at Liberty Mountain ski area in Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania. Jim has been a member of the Liberty Patrol since the 1995-1996 season. Off the slopes, Jim is an attorney in Washington, D.C. where he counsels clients on transportation, innovation, safety and environmental areas.

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Reader Comments

January 18, 2001
I'm afraid I don't appreciate the Family ski zone Liberty has chosen to set up on Whitney's Way! There are enough beginner/intermediate runs on the front side to occupy any family, while there is a real shortage of good intermediate runs on the backside. Whitney's Way is a great run for speed, and it's actualy one of the longer ones on the back, it's a shame that Liberty has deemed it to be used in this manner. Perhaps LIBERTY could groom moguls on all the runs, and declare them all family ski zones! Time to visit another resort. :(
January 19, 2001
I was there Thursday evening (1/19) and saw no family ski zone on Whitney's Way. Maybe they undeclared it?

Conditions were, um, "pleasant" (relatively speaking). Nothing great, nothing horrible. Minimal ice and all trails still open.

But it's raining there today so I expect that will wipe out the excess fluff and leave it with a mushy surface until we get back to snow-making temps.
January 22, 2001
I was at Liberty on Sunday 1/21. Liberty recieved 8 inches of snow the night before. Needless to say, the conditions were incredible. However, by afternoon, the lift lines were so long it made the skiing frustrating. Liberty only had one lift on the back side running, the other was broken. Apparently the lift was broken the night before. Liberty should have put a notice on their web site about the broken lift to warn skiers of the potential long lines.
January 26, 2001
why do we have to ski with snowboarders? They don't care about other people at all. They think they are COOL. But they are not. I suggest them to respect other people too. Thanks.

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