It may be hard for you to believe that it simply was not cold enough at Whitetail to make more snow. It may be easy for you to believe that SnowTime was trying to save money because of the bad weather. But consider this: starting a snowmaking system is like turning on a florescent light. There is a huge energy investment just to turn the system on because air and water have to be run through several compression and cooling cycles before they are ready to be blown (but if they are only using the fan guns, they only have to compress water at the plant). Once you've gone through the investment into getting started, you want to blow for as long as you can. If they were trying to save money, why would they have started the guns at all for just a couple of hours and why would they have blown on the tubing slope? There's a very good chance that that entire slope will be bare by Sunday.
Of course, I am biased because I work there. But because I work there and I know a little something about how things work, I can tell you that the snowmaking strategy used at Whitetail this year has been to maximise the amount of snow being made instead of concentrating it on a few runs. Tubing, Limelight and Exhibition were a couple of days away from being ready to open, but in hindsight seems foolish for trying. Why did they try? Because they have fan guns on them and fan guns provide extra snowmaking capacity via their onboard air compressors.
Have you ever experienced a temperature inversion at Whitetail? Shortly after full sunset, for about 5 minutes on the EZ rider lift, there will be about a 25 mph downdraft of cold air at the surface hitting you in the face as you get on the lift. As you hit the first lift tower, the wind switches directions and is about 20 degrees warmer. In 13 seasons, I've personally experienced this all of 3 times. Normally, at most, there is a 1-2 degreee temperature difference between the bottom and the top. But weather can do weird things occasionally. Being warmer in Mercersburg than in Frederick does not even rate as weird. That's just unusual. Did you know that Blairs Valley sometimes has its own micro climate? There are many times when the weather at Whitetail differs significantly from Clear Spring and Mercersburg town which are just a few miles away. Did you know that official temperature measurements are made 6 inches off the ground? That's why we can have a frost when the temperature does not officially get down to 32. During an inversion, it's also one more reason why snow can not be made 20 feet above ground when the wet bulb temperature
at ground level may be below 32.
Second guessing, Monday morning quarterbacking and 20-20 hindsight may be fun. And we are going to be making some mistakes along the way (that is the nature of making lots of decisions - you get some of the wrong). Whitetail pays big money for a resort specific weather forecast. Occasionally, it's wrong just like any forecast. But historically, it's been worth every penny. We may know a lot about our weather, but we have not figured out a way to change it.
At Whitetail, we are skiers and riders too. This weather hurts us in our hearts just like yours. We get it beat into our thick heads every week that we need to strive to make every customer experience so enjoyable that they will want to return again and again. We do care. We try very very hard to not "make the public suffer". We also hope that you will find it in your heart to see that we are trying as hard as we can to get our season going.
Disclaimer - this is not an "official" message from Whitetail. It's just an opinion from a guy who works there and cares.