January Thaw and Special Olympics Training at Whitetail 7
Author thumbnail By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist

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.

The moguls on Exhibition. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.
Preparing for the Special Olympics. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.
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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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Reader Comments

January 22, 2006
It is spelled "Shriver". Whether you like Arnold S. or not, he is quite active when it comes to kids, kids with disabilities, fitness, and a lot of other good things. He and the Shriver family are on the same page when it comes to that.

Don't get political. I can read the paper, and I try not to. Keep writing about how the skiing was - that works for me.

The motorcycle thing was kind of funny, though. "I never bothered to get a Motorcycle license"!? In Maryland, that's a 12-point offense, requiring an MVA hearing and possible DL revocation.
January 22, 2006
David - eh, mate?! Take a chill-pill! Or get out and make some turns ...
January 23, 2006
I don't take chill-pills, but your point has been noted and appreciated.

Whitetail is a whole bunch of fun, but I wish they hadn't cut their trails so wide. I've noticed the same thing that Connie did - they somehow manage to get good coverage on about 2/3 of the width of each trail.

As far as hills go, Whitetail has more vertical to deal with, but Liberty seems to have the best snowmaking of anywhere local to DC or Baltimore. Wisp and 7 Springs have kinder weather conditions to keep snow, but they are 3 hours away....

Nobody has snowmaking like we do in the mid-Atlantic region. I should go out and take a few turns.

Connie Lawn
January 24, 2006
Thank you both. Crush - thanks for coming to our defense. Hope to see you in Utah at end of February.
David, your point is well taken. I am crazy about Arnie, and once exercised with him at the White House. Just tried to be funny.
I have alot of trouble with my eyesight; my husband just had eye surgery, and I may soon do so. Thank God I can see well enough to ski. But, the computer screen is agony for me.
Have you taken any turns yet? Yours, Connie
February 2, 2006
Haven't done so at this point. I'm nursing a bad knee (not too bad). My personal favorites are Alpental or Crystal (Washington) and Whistler-Blackcomb. Mad River Glen is in a league of its own.

The weather around here this season has been a bit scary. I'm hoping for a good Feb. If not, Wisp should still have something worth skiing.

February 8, 2006
Thanks for mentioning Special Olympics Maryland. It is always a joy to train with the Coaches and athletes - and we can't wait for the Winter Games!
February 11, 2006
Don't know much about it this year. Please tell. People can be "special" in many ways. I happen to be very good at teaching folks how to ski with 1 leg. It's more fun than skiing with 2.

I've always associated the Special Olympics with the mentally disabled, but please ignore my ignorance on that.

I would love to hear what you have to say.


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