The snow still lives at Ski Roundtop! On the final weekend of the season (March 18-19, 2006), there was plenty of snow, and hundreds of people enjoyed the slopes. There were a series of special events underway - the R Games (for Roundtop), including Slope Style, Giant Slalom, and Best Trick. Sunday was the infamous pond skimming. In Saturday’s games, the youngest winner was 8 years old; the oldest was 59. Who says snowsports cannot span the ages?
It is so sad to say farewell to the slopes, the snow, and good friends. This season seemed shorter than ever. But Marketing and Media Director Chris Dudding said the three Snowtime areas (Roundtop, Liberty, and Whitetail) managed to have a better season than last year. The day I was there, we all had an amazing time.
I started out on Lower Lafayette, and was absolutely lousy on the bumps. They were bigger than I expected, and much crustier. There was little margin for error - if your turns were not tight enough, you were into the dirt and trees. So, I was more cautious than usual. In fact, I have become much too cautious. I think I managed the entire ski season with only one fall, and that is not necessarily good. It means I am too slow and controlled, and am not as aggressive as I used to me. Maybe I can improve on that next season.
The good skiers on the bumps are actually amazing. Some looked like Olympic champions. We know we have one gold medal Olympic champ at Roundtop - Diane Roffe. There are others trying to emulate her. Just as the Mid Atlantic region has some of the best snowmaking in the country, it can also have some of the best skiers. It has areas that are tough and challenging! The expert skiers jumped, wove, and their legs pumped liked pistons over the moguls.
I did a bit better on Lower Ramrod and Lower Gunbarrel. I wove, bounced, and had a great time, until my legs and heart slowed me down in the heavy snow. Some of the tougher areas were closed, and those that were open had a few sections with bare spots or rocks. But, the trails were actually in great condition when you got past the top. The snow was then soft and forgiving; the sun came out, and the sky was blue. At one point, a lone hawk circled nearby, and appeared to ski with my husband and me. In the distance, we viewed the ever-dramatic site of Three Mile Island. The vistas from the top of the mountain were magnificent. It is still amazing to look down the snow covered slopes, filled with happy skiers and snowboarders. Yet, just a few feet away, there are dry parking lots, forests, and fields starting to sprout flowers, grass, and signs of spring. There is no golf course up against the slopes, as there is at Liberty, but the golfers, bikers, and fishing enthusiasts are not far away.
As summer approaches, the staff at the ski areas work on the trails and equipment, re-write their brochures, and plan new ways to bring more thrills and challenges to the sports. They also visit other areas - sometimes in the West - to get ideas. And, they take a bit of well-deserved time off.
I want to give my special thanks to Chris Dudding, and all the others in the ski areas who continue to enrich the great ski adventure for all of us. Let’s hope Global Warming is not too cruel to us, and we can all come back next year stronger than ever!
When she wasn't skiing, Connie Lawn covered the White House as a reporter since 1968.