First and Second Trips to Whitetail: A Firsthand Report 2
By Joey Echeverria, Guest Columnist

Author Joey Echeverria at Whitetail Resort. Photo by M. Scott Smith.
I had my first ever downhill skiing experience at Whitetail Mountain Resort on Wednesday, January 26, 2005. My first impressions of the resort were very positive. The grounds were very modern and the staff was attentive and courteous. While waiting in line to get our lift tickets, a staff member came from Guest Services to let us know we could get them there where there were no lines.

Since this was my first time, I needed some instruction. Fortunately for me, DCSki’s editor Scott Smith had gone with me on the trip and agreed to spend his entire morning showing me the basics. After learning how to stop and turn on First Tracks, we headed for Velvet and Northern Lights to try a couple of single turns on a steeper slope.

Pleased with my progress, we decided to try linking some turns. I was able to move on to this step with no problems. Thus I was able to move up to Snow Park, all without having fallen once. Well, I actually did fall but that was at the base area heading to the slopes, not on the actual mountain.

Thanks to the short lift lines and the good snow conditions I was able to continue my progress on Snow Park. That’s not to say I never fell, but falls were few and far between. After a few more runs on Snow Park it was time for lunch. I was pleased overall with the quality of food. Also, the staff continued to prove impressively courteous. While attempting to fill a cup with soda, I dropped my bucket of fries. For a few seconds I just stood there dumbfounded, not sure what to do. Fortunately, a nice member of Whitetail’s staff swooped in and told me not to worry about it and just get another batch.

After lunch, I did one run on Snow Park and then decided to try my hand on an intermediate slope. So I was off to the high speed quad and to the top of Angel Drop. Angel Drop proved much more of a challenge as I struggled to regain my confidence after a couple of spills. I eventually made it all the way down, which was a good feeling.

After that experience, I went back to the beginner slopes for a couple of more runs. Thus ended my first ever skiing experience. With the combination of good conditions, small crowds and excellent instruction by Scott, I had a great time and definitely will be going skiing again.

Enamored with my visit to Whitetail on January 26, I decided to sneak off early on Saturday, February 5, 2005 and hit the slopes at Whitetail. As soon as I got to Whitetail, it was clear that it was going to be more crowded than my weekday trip. Entering the parking lot, there were resort staff directing cars to a specific parking lot. Fortunately for me, there was a spot near the lodge, so parking wasn’t an issue.

A shot at the top of Whitetail on January 26, 2005. Photo by M. Scott Smith.
After waiting around for a few minutes for the people I was meeting, we got our lift tickets and I headed for the ski rental shop. After putting all my gear on, I headed for Velvet and Northern Lights to make sure I still remembered the basics. The snow on these tracks felt a little stiff and I had trouble turning. It seemed to me that this was partially caused by the lack of speed going down these hills.

Next it was off to Snow Park to try the steeper beginner hills. At this time, the lift lines were still pretty short, on par with my first visit. I had a much easier time on Snow Park. I think this was partially due to the momentum helping me turn and the snow softening up a little bit. For pretty much all of the morning the conditions were great and the lines were reasonable.

On my last run down Snow Park before lunch, I heard a small boy asking for help, stopped in the middle of the slope. Even though I’m not very experienced, I decided to stop and see if I could help. I stopped in front of him and had to climb back up the mountain. On my last visit to Whitetail, I had some trouble with this but this time it was a cinch. After getting up to him, I was able to figure out that the problem was the release was not pushed down on his missing ski which prevented him from being able to put the ski back on.

Lunch was fairly average. Whitetail continues to have fairly good food at relatively reasonable prices. We had trouble finding any seats inside, so we decided to eat outside. Thanks to the sun, eating outside was very comfortable. Not too hot or too cold.

The conditions after lunch weren’t nearly as good. The lift lines were a lot longer and snow was turning into slush. So it was just a few more runs on Snow Park before we decided to leave. Based on my two experiences, weekdays are the way to go. If you do go on a weekend, try to avoid crowds by going early and eating lunch at non-peak times. Despite the change in the afternoon, I’d still rate my experience very highly. Now I can’t wait until I get back out on the slopes.

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About the Author

Joey Echeverria is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort

Reader Comments

February 16, 2005
Well, sounds like you're now hooked! Welcome to the world of snow-sports!!

February 20, 2005
Sunday afternoon is a great time to head to Whitetail for four hours. Lines get really short around 2-3 pm. After 4 there is no one on the mountain :-)

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