Wisp-y about Wisp
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KevR
January 19, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Two days of skiing at the Wisp -- first time ever. Overall impressions, given the limitations of the mountain they've done a great job maximizing what they have. And there are plans to expand, although this won't add any HEIGHT to mountain... Saturday the snow conditions were the best I've encountered this year, generally dry packed powder with a very few icey spots in high traffic areas, snow fell much of that day and into the night before a change over to rain, then back to snow again on Sunday. On sunday an inch or so of the fresh stuff sat on top of a slightly wettish sublayer... Also on Sat, it was crowded but the lifts were generally keeping up with demand with no unbearable waits. all very skiable and fun. Sunday was was much better crowdwise. well, I ended being the only one with enough remaining energy to ski, so the single-line meant I skied without any wait at all really. In general the trails are easy with a few steep sections here and there on the blacks, Odin's Chute, squirrel cage, main street, etc... For those of you that like ungroomed or moguls, The Face, Devil's Drop, and Bobcat bowl had 'em and a smattering of trees next to DD to ski around. Next to Main Street and Squirrel Cage, the trail was left ungroomed (or semi-groomed) and one could get a sense of natural ungroomed skiing -- I like it when a resort, no matter the size, tries to show that skiing can encompass more than just running groomed trails...
For me my fav trail BY FAR was Devil's Drop, steep and ungroomed with some trees next to it. The Face was also fun and a challenge, especially for me as moguls I am just not much good at... I spent most of sunday going down DD with an occasional foray across The Face, then I'd mix in a quick run down Bobcat, fantasizing that the 3 inches of fluff at the bottom was 2 ft deep and the run was infinitely longer - hey sometimes its all in your head! ;-)
By late aternoon the wettish lower layer of snow firmed up and things got a bit icey, so i called it a day.
Overall I enjoyed my 2 day stint at Wisp, although the original plan was to head to T-line on day 2, I have no regretts. I think for the beginner/intermediate skier, this is a great place to ski. For the more advanced skier, the lack of terrain will get old after some number of runs... your mileage will vary.
Ah, should mention, the pipe and jumps looked truly awesome really... didn't try 'em though! ;-)
Other pluses -- plenty of places to stay, and a fair amount of places to eat afterwards, other things to do besides skiing for the non-skier, lots of natural snow or so it seemed, and affordable... Negatives: terrain, no half day tix for the holiday weekend, no "mountain" weather report on the tube...
Mileage: 200 miles on the dot from BWI area...
JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 20, 2004
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,696 posts
Thanks for the informative report KevR. When I've been at Wisp the lift lines on the backside chair beside the Mainstreet trail never seem to be too bad, true again this past weekend? Your weather and snow conditions sound pretty decent, especially considering that around DC there was a pretty nasty rotation of snow/sleet mix, cold rain, then blustery winds.
tommo
January 20, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
The weather in Garrett was all snow until about 11:00 Saturday night. Then it turned to rain through the night, which really knocked down the 6"-8" of fresh snow, creating a slush layer underneath. The precip changed back to all snow about 8:00 Sunday morning @ 35F. Temps dropped all day and it snowed on and off for the rest of the weekend. By Monday afternoon, another 4-5" of really light, dry powder had fallen, and temps were around 10F. XC was outstanding on Monday; Downhill was great conditions, but quite cold and windy.

There were no significant lines at Mainstreet the whole weekend; I would estimate that the longest there for all three days was <4 min. The two new chairs were a bit more crowded, but, again, they are handling the crowds very well. And, as expected, every single slope was open with deep, deep base and good fresh snow on top.

Wisp is, indeed, vertically challenged, but they try to make up for it by having the most consistently excellent conditions south of New England. This year, for instance, they were completely open in mid-December, 90% open all the way through Christmas week, including the melt down, and then really put the snow down over the last few weeks. I really don't think anywhere, including Snowshoe, can compare when it comes to snowmaking capacity. If they could just raise the mtn top by, oh, 500 ft ;-)

(Man, after rereading, this sounds like a commerical for the place. I should say that I have no vested interest in Wisp except that my kids have season passes there. But I do find the overall quality of the place and the service and facilities to be **outstanding** since the new ownership took over. Event the lodge food is fairly inexpensive. I don't know how things are going financially for them, but it sure is good for skiers....)

[This message has been edited by tommo (edited 01-20-2004).]

KevR
January 20, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
That weather report sounds right on to me. I got up Sunday AM with grand plans and then slept in when I'd realized it had rained -- very depressing after the super-nice snow on Sat. However, once I got there, the lines were quite short and I am sure (no doubt helped by my sunday single status) I skied vastly more than the day before where we skied from 9am-4pm. It also snowed most of the day again so that was nice. By 4pm the snow however was hard and truly icy in spots.
On Sat the lines were manageable but there was some waiting, especially when one of the lifts (main street?) went down briefly due to electrical issues. But it (or something) came back relatively quickly and the lines were never that long, I didn't think... although I never timed it myself.
Overall they've done a great job of maximizing what terrain they have, there are plenty of lifts that are reasonably speedy and trails winding around the hill on so forth. And the snow was fantastic one day and still generally above average (for what I am used to -- WT) even with the rain the next. Further it did continue to snow on Monday, although I (unfortunately) had to return so no skiing...
The place was also filled with young kids learning to ski which is always great to see, and I as I said I like the ungroomed areas too which to me means the place understands skiing.
For the truly advanced skier, I think you'd probably not enjoy it too much due to the limitations of the terrain, but then again maybe if you were there with kids or beginners, you wouldn't really notice it.
From what I can understand they are going to expand the trails down the north side and also build some sort of resort center at the top of the mountain -- that's cool.
SO after years of eschewing the place, I stand corrected! Ok, so it's vertically challenged, whatever...
;-)
tromano
January 20, 2004
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Tommo,

Don't feel ashanmed. Wisp is one of the best local ski area. Particularly if tons of vertical isn't your biggest buying point. Also the way that vertical is measured is very misleading. Since a resort only need one (or 2) long trial(s) to publish a huge vertical when in fact the total vertical of all trails is probably the best measurement of how big a resort really is.

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