It’s still a Happy New Year season at Whitetail. My husband Charles and I had another fun afternoon of skiing on Sunday, January 8, 2006. I enjoyed several good runs on Exhibition (with its excellent moguls), Bold Decision, and Farside. The latter two were groomed; all three had plenty of snow cover. Conditions were packed powder with loose granular. But the nearby woods and grass are encroaching on the ski trails. Bad grass - go away!
The most populous runs were also in good condition, with the usual Sunday crowds. The weekend, combined with the new ads Whitetail, Liberty, and Roundtop are running on television and radio are having an impact. Crowds are picking up, and should swell for the holiday weekend. Hopefully, the weather will be cold enough during the week to continue snowmaking. And, there is always the expectation that rain here, in the flatlands, could be snow in the mountains.
It is amazing to drive up to Whitetail, and be surrounded by brown fields and forests. Suddenly, the white trails of the ski area loom up in the distance. They are especially spectacular when they are lit night. We are so lucky to have good snowmaking equipment and expertise in this region.
In addition to skiing, Charles and I wanted to go up to check on in on the group from Special Olympics Maryland, an organization that merits more support. There were two days of training underway for instructors at Whitetail this weekend. We spoke to coaches George Hergenhahn, Jason Schriml, and others. They spent two days training about 30 instructors. The athletes receive training the first week of February at Roundtop. They must understand the competition is serious, and they must be prepared for it. The actual Special Olympics Maryland Winter Games take place at Wisp Resort at the end of February.
Competition takes place in Downhill, Modified Alpine (on sit skis and bi skis), cross country, and snowshoeing. In general, Special Olympics is designed for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Any qualified athlete, ages 8 to 80, can try out.
Special Olympics was started by Eunice Shriver, and is still run by members of her family. Even California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lends his support, when he has not injured himself in a motorcycle accident. The effort gets no Federal funds (seems a shame) but does all sorts of things to raise money. One event in Maryland is the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge, into ice-filled water on the 28th of January. Coach Schriml said he has taken the plunge about 14 times. Now, that is devotion to the cause! Last year, 4,000 people came out and watched the participants.
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.