Firsthand Report: Whitetail (Mar. 6)
By Albert Marsh, Guest Author

Editor’s note: Whitetail succumbed to the warmer temperatures and closed for the season on Saturday, March 9.


I have been bitten by the snowboarding bug after my trip to Whitetail on Friday, March 1. I just absolutely had to make another trip this season before the snow disappeared, and there wasn’t much time left. After a soaking by rain the weekend of March 2-3, the prospect of going back to the slopes didn’t look too good. Fortunately, it was cold enough early in the week for Whitetail to “repair” the damages from the rain. Whitetail had been hard at work making snow.

After checking the website and weather report, it looked like March 6 was the best time and perhaps the last opportunity to snowboard once more. It was not a easy decision as the weather forecast had called for 60 degrees in the afternoon; one had to wonder how much snow would still be on the slopes. Well, I had to make a decision right after lunch… Work or snowboarding?? Hmm, the decision shouldn’t be that hard, after all, a bad day at the slopes is better than a good day at work…

The next thing I remember, I was driving westbound on I-70 with my snowboard stashed in the car. At that point, I still wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision. I was monitoring the air temperature in my car while driving, and to my horror the temperature was rising toward 65 degrees. I was thinking maybe I need to do a sanity check as it was so warm! I was even driving with the sunroof open and had the door window partly open. I told myself, “It’s a good thing I don’t have a roof rack with my snowboard on top of the car!” People might think I was nuts going snowboarding in this balmy weather.

At some point between Hagerstown and Clear Spring, I glanced at the air temperature again, and it had climbed up to 70 degrees! Perhaps I need to have my head examined for making such a foolish decision. Well, it was too late and there’s no turning back, I told myself. After I got off the exit for Clear Spring, the air temperature had dropped down to 65 degrees. It was a bit reassuring. I was still hoping that there would still be some snow left on the mountain.

Right before I arrived at the mountain, I saw someone out on the pond in their small boat. It’s not looking too good, it’s that warm outside! Then I saw something reassuring, I could see that there were still stripes of snow on the slopes from the distance.

Since I managed to arrive at the mountain before the Expert’s Choice quad chairlift closed, I started snowboarding on Bold Decision, Whitetail’s double black diamond. It’s only open during the daytime, and I didn’t have a chance to try it on my last trip to Whitetail.

Needless to say, it was a bad decision on my part. There were way too many bare spots, mud, and rocks on Bold Decision. Yeah, I probably got some additional scratches on my board from that trail, and the trail probably shouldn’t have been open. I knew that Angel Drop would be a better choice and went back to that trail.

There was better snow coverage on Angel Drop even though it was slushy from the balmy temperature. The slushy snow actually put the brakes on my snowboard as it managed to slow me down. And I had to make some adjustments to the way I shredded with that type of snow condition. After a while, I got used to the slushy snow while navigating around the bare spots, thinly covered snow and a large sized pool of water. While I was making some turns and carving down the mountain, I could swear that there was some water spraying from my board. Oh yeah, in case you were wondering where that pool of water is located, it is located on Lower Angel Drop right before the snowboard park. I was pretty careful not to do any foolish in that area or else I was going to be soaking wet!

As the sun started to disappear over the mountains, there was a noticeable drop in temperature. The snow wasn’t too slushy anymore and became somewhat faster. I was able to go downhill as fast as I wanted to! Things were looking up, and I had great time with the “improved” snow conditions.

Yeah, it had turned out that I had made the right decision after all! There was some decent snow and it became much more enjoyable after the sun went down. Also, I saw countless deer grazing on the Snow Dancer trail, which was closed of course. Apparently those deer must be illiterate, the trail was clearly posted as a closed trail!

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