If in the DC area and an experienced skier, which would be the best place to go if you only had a day to drive in the morning, ski and then go back that late afternoon? Any other places I should consider? Thanks a lot for the suggestions!
Given your constrained schedule you are probably correct to pick either Whitetail or Liberty. They are the closest two areas to DC. They are quite comparable in size. Whitetail may be 15 minutes closer and the route is almost all interstate highway, both are about 1.5 hours away from DC. For the better skier both offer a mix of trails, some fairly challenging, but short. Whitetail has a nice high speed quad. Liberty may have one or two trails that are a bit steeper. Both can be very crowded on weekends. Both are nearly 100% open right now (1/24/00). Liberty is almost 100% lit for night skiing, which is cheaper and slightly less crowded than daytime. Both are usually not crowded on weekdays unless there is a school holiday.
I agree with almost everything that Jim K. reports except for distance. From Arlington, VA, Ski Liberty is 1.5 hours away or less and Whitetail is 2.00 hours away. Not much time difference, I know, but something to take into account. Officially, Mapquest.com states that the distance from Arlington to Ski Liberty is 75.8 miles whereas the distance to Whitetail is 92.2.
Although the route to Ski Liberty is not all interstate - it might as well be. From the 270 split (15 or I-70), you take Route 15 North. Route 15 in that area is a four lane highway - not interstate, but very easy to go 65+ (would not recommend higher as the speed limit is 55!). Also, once you turn off 15, the distance to the area by side roads is five minutes. Whitetail involves more side roads once you're off the interstate.
But again, not too much difference. Both areas have comparable terrain.
[This message has been edited by Jim (edited 01-24-2000).]
Whitetail or Liberty...that's a good question
i live in Fairfax, VA and for me liberty is about 1hr 10 mins away while Whitetail is about 1.5 hrs. Whitetail has a high-speed quad servicing very close to a 1,000' vertical drop, while Liberty has a smaller mountain with no high-speed quads. Whitetail has a better half-pipe/terrain park. Liberty does have better night-skiing. As for snow, liberty has a better snowmaking system than whitetail. But at cold times like now, everybody has snow, so thats not a factor. Have fun
one thing to consider: Whitetail has no blacks open at nighttime.
From the ideal part of the Beltway (Bethesda)
Liberty I can get to Liberty in 50 minutes even during rush hour. Of course, I always have at least one other passenger which means HOV lanes on 270. And where HOV ends, the stated mph goes up to 65 which means effective speed of 70+. It's great on a weekday evening to pick my daughter up from school and be able to get up to Liberty in such a short time during rush hour. And weekday evenings at Liberty means no lines at the ticket counter or lifts.
I hate driving around the DC area in general. Trips to Liberty are about the only pleasant driving experience around DC.
Whitetail is fun too. My occasional reason to go there is that nearby is the best place to buy fireworks in the area. Phantom is actually in PA where it's illegal to use the fireworks but legal to buy them as long as you have an out-of-state drivers license and swear that you'll use them somewhere else where it is legal. Yes sir! Whatever you say sir!
What a great area to live in :-)
All of these replies are accurate. Coming from Falls Church, Whitetail is about an extra 15 minutes. Both mountains have their plusses and minuses. This is why my roommate and I have been going to both. We alternate weekend day trips at each. Liberty seems to be less crowded, but Whitetail is great if you get there early. My suggestion is try both and see which you prefer. Lately I have been favoring Whitetail. Good luck.
For financial reasons, it's hard to justify going to both Liberty and Whitetail. Perhaps next year, they'll change the various season/club passes. Since they're owned by the same company now, I can't think of any reason why a pass at one shouldn't let you in to the other (except perhaps if they think they can get away with charging a premium). Realistically, if I can't go to the other slope, I'm just going to ski at the first so it's not like they're going to have lower labor costs...
Season's passes for Liberty are supposed to be good at Roundtop. They are also supposed to be good for two trips to Ski Windam (NY), another area owned by Snow Time, Inc. AND two trips to Whitetail. I've heard rumors that those perks may be expanded as Whitetail is slowly integrated into the Snow Time, Inc. family - but it is only rumor right now. John L. is right that Advantage Cards are good at Liberty AND Whitetail right now for 40% off tickets.
By the way, NOW is definitely the time to go skiing. I was up at Liberty last night during the storm - what was rain/sleet down here was mega snow up there. I haven't skied powder at Liberty like that since the '96 blizzard!! The area easily got a foot plus of the REAL stuff.
[This message has been edited by Jim (edited 01-31-2000).]
The Advantage Card (40% off lifts, rentals, etc.) is good at all three mountains: Whitetail, Liberty and Roundtop. I bought my card from Liberty during a preseason ski expo and recently used it at Whitetail. I don't know whether season passes or other special club/corporate deals are good at all three mountains.
One thing that hasn't been mentioned and I feel should be is that Whitetail is located in a dry county. They do not have a bar and do not serve alcoholic beverages at Whitetail....whereas Liberty has a very nice lounge with music and TVs and drinks. This may or may not appeal to you depending on your persuasions. I find Whitetail to be much more family friendly than Liberty. Liberty seems to have more of a young crowd party atmosphere with excellent apres' ski in the local area. Whitetail is in the middle of nowhere and there is only the lodge for apres' ski which has very expensive food prices. Recommend families pack their lunch to Whitetail.