Firsthand Report: Great Outdoors Festival at Whitetail Resort 3
Author thumbnail By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist

If the snow season is as perfect as was the autumn day, the winter season will be fantastic! The autumn colors at Whitetail were magnificent. We were enveloped by golden leaves of the trees, the green grass of the slopes, and the bright sunshine. The autumn view from the top of the lift is even more beautiful than the snow-covered slopes of winter, and I did not think that was possible.

Enjoying the fall foliage from the Whitetail Express. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

Hundreds of people rode the lift up, and the smart ones rode it back down again. I had forgotten how difficult it is to walk down from the top of the mountains. It does not look like much, but it took my husband and me about a half an hour to walk down “Homerun.” By the time we reached the bottom, our legs were both aching and shaking. Better to ski or snowboard anytime! I thought of rolling down the mountain, but there were too many rocks and gullies. On the other hand, walking down provides an intimate connection with the slopes. Thank goodness there is adequate snow in the winter (even manmade) to cover up the sharp boulders and other rocks.

We did not see any of the famed Whitetail deer as we walked down but, sadly, saw two dead ones on the highway. We also saw several hunters on the way up, but they were nowhere near the slopes. We did not see any of the infamous Pennsylvania snakes on the slopes, but there were some impressive rattlers and others in the reptile exhibit inside. That was one of many exhibitors who took over the cafeteria area; they compete with the homemade apple pies, butters, jewelry, and many tasty treats provided by the food vendors.

Connie rides a horse provided by the Chambersburg Horse and Pony Club.

There was plenty of activity outside, including live country music, hayrides, horse and pony rides, rock climbing, fly fishing, child size train rides, and delicious food. There was a healthy sized crowd enjoying it all, and buying season or “advantage plan” discount ski passes for the season. There was also a terrific variety of equipment at the ski swap; I bought a nice pair of “Atomic” skies for $150, including bindings. They appear to be in good shape - I’ll let you know how I like them.

The Whitetail staff is enthusiastic about the upcoming season. More improvements are made each summer. It was evident there is more parking, especially for those with special needs, and the parking lots were freshly paved. More areas are lit for night skiing, snow tubing continues to expand, and will have a covered “magic carpet” surface lift, like the one installed last year at Liberty.

Uncle Clem’s hayride. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

With the growing popularity of snowboards, Whitetail has added a Burton Learn to Ride Center. They have increased their rental equipment which includes boards that are supposed to make it easier to learn. I will let the younger generation try those out, but I really wish this had been available to me when I started 40 years ago.

There are lots of terrific and dedicated staff members at Whitetail. We had a good talk with Mac Jackson, the new Ski School Director. He is top of the line, and has taught other instructors all over the country - including Liberty and Mad River, Vermont. I was also impressed with Mike Schuman, the “Risk Management” Manager. The three Snow Time Resorts (Whitetail, Liberty, and Roundtop) have risk managers who try to make the slopes as safe as possible, although all of us out there know there are risks to this sport. To me, the greatest risks are still the drive up, and they can’t do much about that!

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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

Mac Jackson
October 22, 2006
Just checked our your article on the Whitetail Outdoor festival and wanted you to know how to really spell my name, Mac Jackson. Nice article, and nice to meet you. Hope you can come ski with me this season.

October 22, 2006
Hi Mac, I justed updated the spelling.
Connie Lawn
October 23, 2006
Thanks Mac - oops - sorry! Hope you can help me ski better than I spell. Look forward to trying out my new Atomics.
Good luck this season. Look forward to skiing with you. Yours, Connie

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