whitetail question
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cmr2
December 13, 2005
Member since 02/2/2005 🔗
2 posts
i'm a beginner - only been skiing a few times - but i'm thinking of going up to whitetail with some friends this weekend. i can handle all the greens at snowshoe pretty well, but i'm looking at the whitetail trail map, and the greens are pretty limited. how are the immediate trails at whitetail - too challenging for a beginner like me? just curious if it's worth it to go if the intermediates are going to be too difficult.
Swimmer
December 13, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
You don't get better sitting on the couch.

It's my humble opinion that they call some of the intermediates blue runs simply because of the length of the run. There may be a couple of short roll overs/headwall (steep sections of trail) that approach interesting, however, these are navigated by beginners every day.

Go, have fun. Learn to ski better..."school" your friends by the end of the season.

Steve
(the real question is where are you driving from and are there better ski hills closer to home?
cmr2
December 13, 2005
Member since 02/2/2005 🔗
2 posts
i'm in dc - friends are looking for a short trip.

thanks for the advice! and i definitely agree that i won't get better sitting on the couch. however, i also won't get any better if i'm petrified at the top of a blue...
jimmy
December 13, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
I'm not an expert on the terrain @ Whitetail but IMO the blues there are much wider than the greens at snowshoe, plenty of room to make turns, were you comfortable skiing the greens at snowshoe? Take a deep breath.......make good turns.......wipe ($h!t eating grin) off face, get on lift and do it again.

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snowcone
December 13, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
Just keep in mind that whats 'green' or whats 'blue' is all relative to the local hill. Try the greens at Whitetail and if you feel comfortable and confident then try Fanciful; it's a blue with green tendencies most like the bottom end of Yew Pine at SS.
maxsquat
December 13, 2005
Member since 12/12/2005 🔗
9 posts
Sometimes you just gotta say "f#ck it...i'm doing it"...I by no means is an expert...I'm more of a blue square guy with a few diamonds thrown in here and there...

Do I get scared when I go down the diamonds? Sure I do...but each trip down I try to go as far or faster than I did previously....Some diamonds are a thorn on my feet due to a certain slope that always wipe me out..

Same thing can be said about you doing the blues.... you'll be ok most of the way down...perhaps a certain slope or bump will always get ya...just figure out a way to handle it...
Reisen
December 13, 2005
Member since 01/25/2005 🔗
364 posts
To me, the difference in a slope's difficulty doesn't mean half as much as the conditions. I'm pretty ice-averse. I can ski it, and stay upright, but I just don't enjoy it at all. Specifically, I think a black with good conditions is way easier than an icy green. So if you wind up at whitetail after they've gotten some snow, I imagine those blues are way easier than the greens when they're icy.
JohnL
December 13, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Another thing to consider is how crowded a trail is and the ability level of sliders on the trail. Beginners will probably be very intimidated on a crowded blue trail where the majority of sliders are moving pretty quickly.

For Whitetail, Limelight (right under the lift) is normally less crowded than Angel Drop/Home Run (skier's left of the lift.) There is not a huge difference between the greens and the blues at Whitetail wrt steepness, but the blues will have much faster sliders on them and can get crowded. Early in the morning is the best time to ski the blues at Whitetail.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
December 13, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,737 posts
I think the blues off Whitetail's high speed quad are tougher than just about anything in the basin-side (north tract) of Snowshoe except maybe a heavily bumped up Widowmaker. You might like Bryce. It's about 30 min farther than Whitetail from DC and much smaller, but never crowded, cheaper, and nice terrain for beginners and low intermediates.
therusty
December 20, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
Quote:

There is not a huge difference between the greens and the blues at Whitetail wrt steepness, but the blues will have much faster sliders on them and can get crowded. Early in the morning is the best time to ski the blues at Whitetail.




Hmmm - At the Whitetail that I go to, the trail named Snowpark (rated Green) is twice as steep as Velvet, Almost Home and Northern Lights. Stalker, a short blue off of Snow Park is almost twice as steep as Snowpark. All of the blues trails off the top are about twice as steep as SnowPark. Personally, I would call this a huge difference.

Snowpark is the worst trail with repect to fast sliders being a danger to slower sliders. There are many more collisions over there than off the top.

Early morning is the best time to ski ANYWHERE at Whitetail. Even on the busy days, there are few people on the trails before 10AM.
tgd
December 20, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Agreed. The difference between the blues and greens at Whitetail is huge. When I was first learning, moving from Snowpark to any of the long blues on the main face of the mountain was a very big step I could not make. I started going to Wisp where I felt the variety of greens and blues stepped me up nicely to steeper terrain. I think I actually was skiing some blacks at Wisp before I was able to go back to Whitetail and make decent turns down any of those frontside blues.

I also agree with the assessment of AM skiing at Whitetail. I used to try to hit the 'tail when they opened at 8:30AM. Thanks to the hi-speed Whitetail Express it seemed like I could get 20 runs in the first couple hours before the crowds showed up. Heck, I have skied all day in the middle of the week at Timberline and not get close to that many runs! That is one of the things I always liked about Whitetail, if you time things right, you can get a ton of skiing in per hour.
JohnL
December 20, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

Hmmm - At the Whitetail that I go to, the trail named Snowpark (rated Green) is twice as steep as Velvet, Almost Home and Northern Lights. Stalker, a short blue off of Snow Park is almost twice as steep as Snowpark. All of the blues trails off the top are about twice as steep as SnowPark. Personally, I would call this a huge difference.

Snowpark is the worst trail with repect to fast sliders being a danger to slower sliders. There are many more collisions over there than off the top.




Are you saying that at the Whitetail you ski at, Angel Drop to Home Run (rated blue) or Fanciful (rated blue) are twice as steep as Snowpark (rated green)? I have a hard time believing that is true at the Whitetail I ski at. Especially if you subtract the very long run-out at the bottom of Snowpark.

I'll plead ignorance on the rest of the greens at Whitetail besides Snowpark.

Also, if you are arguing for a tentative slow skier that Snowpark is safer than skiing the blues at Whitetail when the trails get crowded, I'll argue that that skier should look elsewhere besides Whitetail. When the blues at Whitetail get crowded, they are the scariest slopes I've ever skied on. I've thought about wearing some of my hockey equipment on those slopes ...
warren
December 20, 2005
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
John,
I'll have to agree with you about the blues getting scary when it's busy. The last time I was there (last season), my daughter and I almost got mowed over several times by kids skiing out of control (arms and poles waving, legs wobbling, etc) going waaaayyyy to fast and yelling "Look out!" to boot We originally had planned on skiing into the evening but when this stupidity started, we left around 2:00pm. We decided we been there, skied that, and didn't want to end up in a cast!

-Warren-
kennedy
December 20, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
Yup WT for ya. It's a fun hill when it's empty, but it gets way too many gapers. The park is my favorite peeve. Last year the guy whose kid plowed down the run in then wobbled over the jump. His response to my comment of "maybe you should wait til he can ski"?

"oh he's done it before" sure pal, sure. Hope the swelling goes down.

You can see any hill around start to turn into a zoo by 11 am though. I'd hazzard a guess that 11am -4pm is rush hour before and after that it's reaonably manageable.
therusty
December 20, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
I'm not subtracting the run out at the bottom of SnowPark. I'll measure the slopes this weekend and report. I guess that Limelight won't be twice the pitch of SnowPark in degrees on a sampling basis, but when you hold your hand up at the bottom it looks like twice the pitch. I'm trying to get the lift elevation vs distance stats for an exact computation. There's no doubt that the blues are twice the pitch of Velvet/Northern Lights.

I said that SnowPark is MORE dangerous than the blues. As scary as Angel Drop gets, SnowPark is worse. We do try to curtail the most obvious out of control skiing, but on bust days, it is hard to do. We have a new program this year to increase safety awareness on the slopes. (More info when I see it in action).
cjf242
December 20, 2005
Member since 11/10/2003 🔗
30 posts
My wife and I were at Whitetail yesterday. We had a great time except for one incedent. I was wating at the bottom of velvet for my wife when I heard from behind me some kid yelling "Watch out" next thing I know I am being taken down from behind. The edge of his board gave me a nice little cut in the back of my leg. The kid was about 10 so I did not get to mad at him but his Dad (who I had been watching fall down the hill most of the day) Was like "Come one son lets go". Not even a word to me at all. Not a big deal I guess, but if he had been going faster it could have been the end of the season for me. There are way tomany people who should be taking lesons instead of just throwing them selves down the mountian. Just my 2 cents.
JohnL
December 20, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

I said that SnowPark is MORE dangerous than the blues. As scary as Angel Drop gets, SnowPark is worse. We do try to curtail the most obvious out of control skiing, but on bust days, it is hard to do. We have a new program this year to increase safety awareness on the slopes. (More info when I see it in action).





Very sorry to hear that. On a run like SnowPark, you shouldn't be skiing fast at all, even if you're in total control. Too intimidating for beginners on the trail. (But I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir.)

Think that the half-pipe and "intermediate" terrain park are off SnowPark have something to do with the fast riders? Maybe not the best layout...

I do feel for any tentative beginner/intermediate having to ski some of the crowded Mid-Atlantic trails. During the 7$ day at Wisp, the biggest cluster on the mountain was the narrow bottom section of Boulder (blue.) One of the worst experiences I had in the Mid-Atlantic was acting as the rear blocking back for a snowplowing beginner all the way down Salamander at Timberline. Fortunately, my "evil John stare" is more effective than a Ski Patroller's bark.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
December 20, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,233 posts
I never really noticed the crowded conditions on local blue and green slopes until I took up snowboarding about 7-8 yrs. ago. Then I acquired a whole new point of view. I think it is good for ones perspective to be a rank beginner again. It gives one a new appreciation for those trying to learn, who can negotiate the slope (barely) but lack the control to ski/ride in crowds. You stop and wait and wait for what looks like a good opening and perhaps you start and suddenly some yahoo appears out of nowhere going like a bat out of hell with no control. If there is a single 'choke point' on a trail you are otherwise comfortable with like the infamous 'S Curve' on Salamander you get really spooked.
Coach13
December 21, 2005
Member since 12/16/2003 🔗
56 posts
I agree that WhiteTail doesn't offer the greatest progression from greens to blues. The blues off of the high speed lift are quite a bit more difficult than SnowPark, especially on a busy day.

I think that of the 3 SnowTime resorts, RoundTop offers the best progression terrain, especially when you throw in the fact they attract fewer crowds than either WT or Liberty.

If you're stuck on Whitetail as you're one resort, You at least should pick some off peak times to start trying to ski off of the high speed lift.
SCWVA
December 21, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
Coach13,

Are we going to call in sick and meet up at WT this winter as we discussed last spring on Episki? I work out by Dulles Airport and I thought you said you worked near the airport also. Let's play hookie and get some runs in!


Sorry about the hijack of the thread.
therusty
December 21, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
Quote:


Very sorry to hear that. On a run like SnowPark, you shouldn't be skiing fast at all, even if you're in total control. Too intimidating for beginners on the trail. (But I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir.)

Think that the half-pipe and "intermediate" terrain park are off SnowPark have something to do with the fast riders? Maybe not the best layout...





Here's where I'm going to get in trouble. Your Responsibility Code does not say "don't ski fast". It says "ski in control". The only part of Snowpark that is a slow skiing zone is the final approach to the mixing bowl. I've had a ball skiing fast down snowpark when it's not crowded . I choose not to do so when it's crowded as a Guest Service issue because I am in uniform and do realize such skiing can "scare the tourists". But if someone gets scared because another person is within 50 feet of them (believe it or not, I've taught such people), it's at most a courtesy issue not a safety issue. It's impossible to know who you are going to scare and who you won't (i.e. where to draw the line - is 25 feet too close). It is possible to manage separation such that no matter what the "tourist" does (including reaching out with poles), no contact can possibly occur. That's all that is required of our guests. I wish everyone would be courteous, but there are some people who "need more space than they are entitled to" just like there are some people who "take more space than they are entitled to".

There are a couple of problem spots in the Snowpark area where I see kids going fast and barely in control (top of Stalker & across the flats and down the last pitch at the Stalker/Snowpark split). Some of those kids are crossing the line into out of control, some aren't. It's a hard call to make. Especially since we've had a death on the SnowPark side. I usually give kids the benefit of the doubt until I see them getting too close to other skiers/riders for the level of control they are displaying. Many people see high speed and wobbly skis and assume out of control skier. It's not always true. It's a tough call to draw the line between fun and safety. I don't begrudge anyone's opinion on the subject. It's a hard enough task that we have a full time person dedicated to setting the official policy for the resort and managing the day to day details of keeping things safe (which by the way is a no win job).

The 1/2 pipe is open for such a small fraction of the season and gets such relatively little traffic that it has little impact on Snowpark safety. I have not been to the mountain yet to see the impact of the new beginner park, but this park should discourage straightlining of stalker about as much as it encourages straightlining to get to the park. Most of the idiotic park traffic has been moved to Angel Drop. Hopefully that will diminish when we move the old surface lift over there (we're waiting on budget for that). Having the beginner park over on Northern Lights was a good idea with respect to traffic to the park issues, but it took up too much space for first time skiers trying to navigate the steepest section of Northern Lights.

The original master plan for the resort had a trail from the top of Snowpark down to Velvet and trails (and 2 more lifts !) in the bowl between Snowpark and Fanciful. This layout would have alleviated a lot of the safety pressures we now have. Alas, a master plan depends on operating profits to get implemented. We're still a long way off from this kind of terrain expansion.
kennedy
December 21, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
The small park on stalker slows traffic significantly merely by providing a sort of chicane. If you want to hit the park, unless it's clear, you have to slow down to almost a stop and enter from the side. Once in there isn't as much opportunity to gain a wholot of speed because you are almost halfway down stalker and the pitch levels. As a result the decision pretty much has to be made which little feature to hit and which to skip by. for the most part people in that park are beginners. The beauty is they can get their fix of smaller hits and rails so when the bigger items come up it's not such a painful learning curve. Moving the surface tow to lower Angel will cure a lot of problems but probably not erase them. Upper angel suffers largely from being a main access trail for expert terrain, the park and also there is sometimes race practice on Home run. As a result it gets very busy. On the issue of riding fast on Snowpark, as Rusty said, I feel it's okay as long as you maintain control and are aware that you are surrounded by people of lesser ability. With that in mind give them space to move, plan ahead and avoid them. Even the sound of someone coming close freaks some people out and leads to accidents.
JohnL
December 21, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

providing a sort of chicane.




Dang, lawyers who snowboard and snowboarders talking about chicanery. What's the world coming to?

Quote:

when we move the old surface lift over there (we're waiting on budget for that).




I was wondering what the hold-up was on adding the surface lift since the initial announcement was circa the Summer of '04. But it's tough to criticize Whitetail given all the upgrades they've made in recent years (lights on the expert terrain, aggressive snowmaking, new rental building, etc.).

Making SnowPark a slow skiing area still seems like a good idea to me. It may make enforcement a lot easier. I do realize the problem is probably more 10 year old boys speeding down the hill (I've got a nephew in that age range) than advanced sliders speeding, but at least it's an attempt at a fix.
therusty
December 25, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
Good call John L!

With very little traffic at Whitetail today, I took my slope meter and measured the steepness in various spots. Note that these are spot measurements, subject to changes by grooming and snowmaking and not representative of average pitch (I'm working on tracking down the stats for lift vertical and length to generate average pitch for the various slopes. I had claimed twice as steep from beginner runs to SnowPark and double again to the top. However, the top is only 50% steeper than SnowPark.

Northern Lights 5-7 degrees
Velvet 5-10 degress (16 degrees on the last pitch on skier's right)
SnowPark (14-16 degrees on the steeper parts, 10 degrees on the lower flats)
Stalker 20 degrees on the steep part
Limelight 20 degrees
Angel Drop 16-20 degrees (25 degrees right after the home run split and on the last pitch into the mixing bowl) (flat sections of the terrain park run 6-10 degrees)
Drop In (25-28 degrees)
Bold Decision top part=16-19 degrees; steepest sections =30 degrees.
KevR
December 25, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
That's quite interesting, the "buldge" over on Bold Decision to me was always the steepest bit there... now I know it by the #s to be true...

Hmmm, I seem to recall another discussion about the steepest trail in the mid-atlantic, did we every decide what that is?
JohnL
December 26, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

Good call John L!




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