Rain Can’t Ruin Roundtop - a Firsthand Report
Author thumbnail By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist
Elves help check skis at Roundtop. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

“A little drop of rain can hardly hurt at all” as they sing in Les Mis. Roundtop is terrific! 96% of the mountain is open, and the conditions are fabulous! My husband Charles and I made the trip the day after Christmas. We anticipated disaster, especially after the torrential rain and fog we drove through on Christmas day. We heard there was fog at Roundtop on Christmas, but the rain must have skipped over the mountains and hit the flatlands instead. Whatever happened, it did not seem to affect the base.

The day we skied, Roundtop was describing conditions as wet snow and machine groomed. We called it soft and forgiving. There were a few minor bare spots and leaves on the ground but, hey - no big deal. Media and Marketing Manager Chris Dudding says there was a crevasse that opened up on one of the double diamonds, but they filled it in before we got there. Too bad - I would like to have seen people trying to jump it. But, Roundtop has a reputation of having some of the best groomers in the world, and it was smooth as silk when we got there. Thanks a lot guys!

At first, I admit my husband Charles and I were reluctant to get out of the car and hit the slopes. It was a bit cold and windy, and we had been spoiled by the warm sunshine at Liberty two days before. But, once we started skiing, we barely noticed the grey clouds. We started on the easier runs - Exhibition, Susquehanna, Minuteman, Barrett’s Trail, and Lafayette’s Leap. Exhibition is building up some pretty decent sized moguls. Unfortunately for Roundtop, there were no crowds, but that was our good fortune. No waiting on the lifts, and we could whip down each trail in five minutes or less. I was loose and relaxed, and sang Christmas carols (off key) the whole way down.

The famed double diamonds - Ramrod and Gunbarrel, remain a challenge, and I pick my way down them like a beginner. I am so ashamed of myself! But, they are fun. Roundtop, like all Eastern areas, has some real experts who can jump and navigate them with ease. That is why the Easterners do so well when we go West.

On the subject of great Eastern skiers, Roundtop is the home of Gold Medal Olympic winner Diane Roffe. If anyone is fortunate enough to have time to take some lessons with her at Roundtop, it is the thrill of a lifetime. I still remember the tips she taught us a few years ago, and I try to attack the snow as she instructed. Was excited to see Diane on national television recently, competing in a celebrity race. The Utah weather that day was miserable; much worse than anything we usually get out here!

Diane has classes coming up at Roundtop - check out Ski Roundtop’s web site for that and other upcoming special events.

Roundtop keeps improving its children’s area and Cannonball Run snow tubing facilities. We skied past the snow tubers, and the area was packed! Squeals of delight from the excited children and their parents. Many people come to the mountains to tube, and bypass the more challenging skiing and snowboarding. But, you can’t tube forever - you miss the magnificent summit of the mountains and beautiful sweeping trails if you do that. And, at Roundtop, you would miss the dramatic site of the Three Mile Island smokestacks in the distance - a site which still brings back chilling memories.

Roundtop also has some challenging terrain park areas - Exhibition and Incubator Park. They are popular and well-utilized. If you want a break from the snow, you can also check out their Revolution Paintball, but reservations are needed.

Indoors, Roundtop continues to improve its food court, with better food, coffee, and an outdoor barbecue. They know coffee is my middle name.

So far, we have been lucky to have 3 days of skiing this season. The three areas owned by Snow Time - Whitetail, Liberty, and Roundtop, are in excellent condition. If the opening weeks were any indication, this season will be a winner!

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About Connie Lawn

When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.

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