Firsthand Report: Whitetail, Feb. 5, 2007 5
Author thumbnail By Jim Kenney, DCSki Columnist

I went skiing at Whitetail Ski Resort on Monday, February 5, 2007. I made the 90 minute drive from my home in Northern Virginia and bought a half day flex ticket just before 10:30 a.m. The cost was $39 dollars on a weekday. The number of folks on the slopes and lifts was sparse and I proceeded to rip about as many runs as I’m capable of in the next five nonstop hours. I’m pretty sure I reached or exceeded fellow DCSki columnist Matthew Graham’s $2 per run threshold of maximum ski value.

Whitetail Resort on Monday, February 5, 2007. Photo provided by Jim Kenney.

The snow conditions were great, packed man-made powder. All trails were open with bright sun and surprisingly little wind. It seems that the main face at Whitetail is often sheltered from the worst winds during my rare visits. Good thing too, the temperature was somewhere in the low to mid teens all day. One person told me that there was a more noticeable breeze on the low level terrain served by the Easy Rider Quad chair. I did not get over there.

Skiing by myself with no one’s agenda but my own, I immediately hopped on Whitetail’s Express Quad Chairlift. On my first run I took the Fanciful trail, on the lookers left edge of the main face at Whitetail. Then I worked my way across the mountain taking each trail in order. By the time I made it to the bumps of Exhibition I thought I was warmed up, but after bobbing, weaving, and pretty much butchering Exhibition yours truly was sucking wind and definitely toasty all over.

Moguls growing on Exhibition. Photo provided by Jim Kenney.

Then I moved on to the ego soothing Far Side trail, skiing it for the first time in many years. I love that trail, kind of quiet with a consistent upper-intermediate pitch. I skied it several times in a row, virtually alone each run. Bold Decision was also groomed to perfection and I alternated a few runs on these with tempered workouts on the bumps of Exhibition. This triad of slopes is served by the Experts Choice Quad Chair.

After awhile, just for fun, I switched out of my Fischer RX-8 skis and got into a longer pair of old Fischers which I had stowed in the trunk of my car. A handy place to park at Whitetail for quick access to your vehicle is along Fallout, the run-out from the Experts Choice Quad chair leading back to the main base. I dumped the older skis back in the trunk after just three runs and I’ll probably never go back. Modern skis are so powerful and self-driven that they pamper aging guys like me if we can just hang on for the ride.

I went back to the Whitetail Express, but began to think my personal gas tank was going to run out before my lift ticket. Before I had a chance to feel sorry for my sorry old self, I met the inspiring Tom Din, poster boy for Modern Maturity. Like myself, Tom put in many years as a Navy civilian employee, but he’s a few years older than me and he fully retired about a year ago (I’m still at it). At age 56 he bought a Whitetail season pass and returned to skiing this winter after a six year hiatus. And what a return, Tom was just about the fastest high-speed carver on the mountain.

Despite the wacky early winter we had in the mid-Atlantic, Tom has already logged about 13 ski days and it showed. Brandishing a new pair of Volkl AC3 skis, he carved up his favorite trail, Limelight, like a freeloading in-law going at Grandmomma’s turkey on Thanksgiving Day. He was kind enough to ratchet back his throttle so that I could make turns with him for 90 minutes. We enjoyed gabbing on the lifts and I found his great attitude and skiing very motivating. I mostly forgot about the fatigue I had felt before we met.

I closed out my day with one last run down Far Side. When I said farewell to my new friend Tom, it was about 3:30 p.m. I headed to my car with a smile on my face. What a great workout. I told Tom to pace himself; he’s just beginning a long and fruitful second career as a ski bum. The guy is my civil service retirement role model.

Video from the Slopes

The extreme cold made my camera malfunction for part of the day. Plus, I failed to use the higher resolution option that my camera has for video. Oh well, here’s a nice run by Tom Din of Rockville, MD on the upper half of Limelight. He slowed to about 50% of his normal speed so the videographer could keep up.

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About Jim Kenney

Husband, father and retired civilian employee of the Department of Navy, Jim Kenney is a D.C. area native and has been skiing recreationally since 1967. Jim's ski reporting garnered the 2009 West Virginia Division of Tourism's Stars of the Industry Award for Best Web/Internet/E-Magazine Article.

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Reader Comments

Tom Din
February 9, 2007
Great Skiing with you Jim, I enjoyed it too. Thanks for the good words, video, and great runs together.
In the (now) 14 days of skiing thus far this season with my mid-week season pass ($259), I have logged in an average of 20 runs/day, total280 runs which makes it less than $1/run. I hope to make it 50 cent/run by the end of the season, if the cold weather holds up. The only problem with the season pass is that I can only ski Whitetail but it is a good mountain to ski, very challenging. I ski to get back into shape at my age, which by the way is 55 not 56, lol.

Tom Din
Chris
February 9, 2007
What camera are you using to take your videos, Jim?

I was reading the latest issue of Ski Press magazine last night and they suggest adding some extra weight to your camera when taking follow-shots like that. Evidently, you can buy weights to screw into the tripod-mount on most cameras, which helps steady the camera.

I own a Canon SD 700IS with a 4 gig SD card which is pretty capable in the video department, but I'm yearning for a dedicated cam for video. Something HD would be great!
ggnagy
February 9, 2007
Chris,
There was an article on building a steadycam for 14$ in the very first issue of Make: (www.makezine.com). However, I know I would not want to be skiing with 5lb at the end of a pole, swinging about groin high.
wojo
February 10, 2007
I was there too on the 5th from 3-8. It was the coldest I have skied in since the turn of the century :-). 5 layers, two hand warmers and hourly breaks allowed kept us to 18 good top to bottom runs.
JimK
February 10, 2007
Sorry I missed you Wojo. I'm sure it got very chilly after the sun went down.
Im using a less than $200 Fujifilm Finepix A345 digital camera with 4.1 mega pixels. My kids got it for me as a recent Fathers Day gift. Video Res was on 160x120, next time Ill try 320x240, duh. I tried to take about 5 videos that day. Only two came out, others failed due to either freezing or operator error. Thought earlier I got a video of a friendly husband/wife pair skiing nicely down Angel Drop and Drop In, but resulted in nothing. Due to low temps and lack of reading glasses I wasn't into reviewing images on the spot. Obviously I'm a rookie at this stuff. Will look into that weight idea.

Ski and Tell

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