Liberty: current conditions
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twin58
January 24, 2001
Member since 04/1/2000
198 posts
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Was at Liberty Tuesday evening (1/24) and can report that it's disappointing, especially in comparison to how much better it's been earlier this season.
I was expecting to see evidence of the 8 inches of snow their web page reported but it's either melted, been compressed, or they lied. Everywhere I look offtrail, I see 2 inches on the ground. The beginner slopes were basically ice. The expert slopes had a good inch of fluff on top of a hard sheet of ice.
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I went to WT Tuesday and found the slopes much better maintained that what I have seen at Liberty this season. I guess the old WT staff is still in place and doing things the old WT way despite the new ownership.

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Lots of young boarders seem to insist going up in a chair by themselves, even when they are with their buds.
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That was happening at WT too. It's not onlu boarders, as skiers were just as guilty. I almost always had the four-person chair all to myself.
There must have some mishap recently with boarders at WT, as the lift workers were strictly enforcing a policy that boarders must have retention straps. (I was going to say "leashes," but I don't believe in that skier vs. boarder nonsense.) There were turning back boarders from the lift chair.
Also, having the lift chair to myself so often, I was able to attach my rear foot binding (strap-type, not step-in), but at the top, a lift worker said I was not allowed to do that, and that my rear foot must be free of its binding on the trip up the hill. I've never encountered that one before. I'm not complaining; if those are the rules, OK.

don
January 25, 2001
Member since 08/28/2002
15 posts
Was at Liberty Tuesday evening (1/24) and can report that it's disappointing, especially in comparison to how much better it's been earlier this season.

I was expecting to see evidence of the 8 inches of snow their web page reported but it's either melted, been compressed, or they lied. Everywhere I look offtrail, I see 2 inches on the ground.

The beginner slopes were basically ice. The expert slopes had a good inch of fluff on top of a hard sheet of ice. Maybe it's better in the daytime when the temperatures allow the ice to soften but I was there at night when the temps were well below freezing.

They began blowing snow about closing time so this should help. However temps are going back above freezing during the day today so I can expect the same thing again this evening.

They had lots of lift problems. The J-bar was down for awhile which put a big crush on the front lift to the summit. The lift pairs on both the front and the back had trouble staying in service - they rarely had both running.

I spent the evening working on the mogul park and it was frustrating because the park is so short and then I would have to wait on a big line to get back up. I just realized that only one of the lifts even stops at the midway so with the J-bar out, all the boarders were doing the same thing and we had massive lines on lift 3 and no lines on lift 2. But mob mentality was in effect and even people going to the top insisted on joining our line. Liberty could really use some help in getting the most out of their lifts. (Or maybe we're just too stupid.) Lots of young boarders seem to insist going up in a chair by themselves, even when they are with their buds.

Once, a lift attendant was actively pairing up singles to fill all the seats. That really helped. I wish they would do that more. More often, there are a bunch of attendents just looking bored. Last week, there were 10 attendents at the bottom of the backside lifts just standing around cracking jokes and having a good time but otherwise doing nothing helpful.

Finsout
January 25, 2001
Member since 01/23/2001
104 posts
WT inherited those weird rules from the Roundtop/Liberty folks who have no clue about snowboarding. You are probably going to see a departure from customer service/friendliness too since the lifties at RT/Lib care more about the BS rules than courtesy.
(Anonymous)
January 25, 2001
I was at Liberty last night, for the first time. 3 weeks ago I was at Whitetail. I wanted to check the forums to see what people were saying, compared to what's on their web site.

First, I thought conditions were lousy! Their web site says "great". Not so...very hard packed w/ a dusting of frozen granular on top, icy spots. At least that's the good thing about the DCski web page & these forums...you can find the truth about these places, 'cause you ain't gonna get it from them!

Second, the comment about the lift operators is right on. I saw plenty of extras standing around, while they could have been pairing singles, etc. Also, more disturbing, on the backside lift, they weren't keeping the "stop & load" marker line clear of snow. People were trying to figure out where to stop & get ready to hop on the chair. The folks working there weren't too helpful.

As for the leash thing, I've been skied before I boarded, & have been boarding now for 5 years...and have NEVER seen a runaway snowboard! I agree they have bigger things to worry about than that!

Finally, my 2 cents worth on Liberty vs. Whitetail. The terrain at Lib is more interesting, but Whitetail has the better cruising/runout slopes. WT also seems to be run more professionally. I'll go back to Lib, but I'll go by what people say here about conditions. I'd like to go when they actually do have "great" conditions.

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twin58
January 25, 2001
Member since 04/1/2000
198 posts
>>
WT inherited those weird rules from the Roundtop/Liberty folks who have no clue about snowboarding. You are probably going to see a departure from customer service/friendliness too since the lifties at RT/Lib care more about the BS rules than courtesy.
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I'm absolutely in favor of that requirement. I've never seen a board take off down the hill by itself, but I certainly wouldn't want to get slammed in the head by one. A helmet wouldn't do much good. I am a boarder, and I am trying skiing too.

Scott - DCSki Editor
January 25, 2001
Member since 10/10/1999
1,096 posts
Hi folks,

Of the complaints related to conditions in this thread, it sounds like most of the trips were in the evening/night. Unfortunately, in the Mid-Atlantic, regardless of where you go it's not uncommon to get less-than-ideal conditions at night. As soon as the sun goes down, things can start to get icy. Especially recently, when it's been getting well above freezing during the day, and then dropping below freezing at night - the typical Mid-Atlantic freeze-thaw cycle.

A few years ago, I did most of my skiing at night, and it was almost always icy. Then I started going during the day, and the difference was remarkable. The sun softens things up nicely, and of course you get the benefits of overnight grooming early in the day (and any nighttime snowmaking.) Midweek during the day is the ideal time to go - you'll find the best conditions and no crowds. Unfortunately, that's not the most convenient time for all of us to go.

I believe Liberty (and most of the resorts around here) do indeed have excellent daytime conditions right now. But you should expect the quality to diminish as the evening wears on, unless it's stayed consistently cold throughout the day.

- Scott

Finsout
January 25, 2001
Member since 01/23/2001
104 posts
I'll agree with Scott. If you are going to go to Liberty of Roundtop, go in the mornings especially on weekends. Also a word to the wise, make sure you keep a close eye on the schedule of events. Mornings after late night skis are usually pretty crappy unless you get real luck with the weather. Whitetail used to groom at 5 pm do they still do that??
Finsout
January 25, 2001
Member since 01/23/2001
104 posts
PS-- Don't rely on the snow reports either. Everything is exaggerated big time. Just use common sense view hte local weather near your mt. if its cold the night before chances are it will be good the next day. Roundtop and Liberty are notorious for blantant lying on thier reports. If anyone needs a Roundtop report just ask me on this thread--I live 6 miles for the lifts and ride just about every day.
don
January 25, 2001
Member since 08/28/2002
15 posts
Thanks for your offer. How's the skiing today? I was thinking of coming up this evening. It's 3pm and I see they list the temp as 32 right now. So it sounds like another freeze cycle for this evening, sigh. Oh shucks, I think I just talked myself out of it.

You suggested coming up on the weekend mornings. Are you saying that because the weekend evenings are a mob scene? I always figured the weekend days would be more mobbed than the evenings. What are the weekends really like? Mobbed all day or just in the evenings?

twin58
January 25, 2001
Member since 04/1/2000
198 posts
The last time I was at Liberty, the middle school ski club arrived via bus at 3 p.m., resulting in instant long lines at the ticket windows. At least try to beat them.
I figure Liberty must be using a rubber ruler to measure the snow depth.
I have a rule of thumb I use to judge grooming quality. I was at Liberty from 2:30 to closing the last time I was there. I found that after about two or three runs, the icy ridges on the slopes had scraped all the wax off the base of my board. Two days ago, I was also at WT from 2:30 until closing. I checked the bases on my skis after several runs, and the wax was still fine. I attribute this to better grooming.
I thought WT was about as good as you could expect, and I anticipate that I'll drive just a little farther and pay just a little more to go there again, rather than Liberty.
I know we aren't in Colorado, but WT strikes me as being better maintained.
Finsout
January 26, 2001
Member since 01/23/2001
104 posts
if you use step in, yes a leash is a good thing, but with strap ins, the both bindings would have to come out to make a leash work, but since the leash is attached to a binding, its useless. my bigger problem is how they handle it.
Finsout
January 26, 2001
Member since 01/23/2001
104 posts
Don, be glad you didn't come up. I got there around 5:00 and it was already icy big time. As for the weekends here's the scoop--friday nights are a nightmare with every school kid within 50 miles showing up. eveything is packed. saturdays tend to get super crowded beginning at about 9:30 because of the princeton ski club/shop buses. from there its just downhill (no pun) all day and talk about icy! sunday morning are by far the best bet for the weekends. most kids have hangovers and a lot of others are still in church so you can usually get good uncrowded conditions until about noon. as for grooming, roundtop has never done a good job in that area as long as i've been riding there and i typically ride about 60 days a year there. the reason is that they rush things in the morning and then they dont have time to go back and fix problem areas.
Jim
January 26, 2001
Member since 11/22/1999
317 posts
I also agree with Scott's comments. You're on skiing the Mid-Atlantic. You should expect the freeze-thaw-freeze cycle. Conditions during the day are often awesome for this area - really. The absolute best time to go up is early morning. The snow is recently groomed and has set up perfectly and not too many skiers have gone through.

Early, btw, is showing up at 8:00am when they open - not 10:00am when the lines for lift tickets are long. At Liberty, once you get out there, head for the backside. Crowds don't hit over there til much later in the afternoon. This strategy works for weekends as well as weekdays.

As for new snow - heck, 8 FEET would get scrapped off fast given the number of people that head out. Again, go in the morning and the groomers would have pushed all the scraped off snow back to the slopes. Or ski the edges of the trail. Strata top to bottom was a dream this past weekend if you stayed to the right of the slope (going down). Powder powder powder - all from skiers who pushed the stuff off the middle to the sides.

As for grooming, Liberty grooms at night right after the area closes and in the morning right before opening.

As for liftees - if you seem them lolligagging around and not marshalling lines, monitoring the lifts or otherwise doing their jobs - complain to management. They often don't know about this stuff until someone tells them. I've personally seen both the general manager and risk manager have a "talk" with liftees who aren't doing their jobs. If you don't want to take the time to complain directly to management - tell the ski patrol. Management can be raised on their radios or by telephone.

Just some thoughts.

Jim

Finsout
January 26, 2001
Member since 01/23/2001
104 posts
jim, you are right about skiing on the sides, but i chaps me that they groom fresh natural snow at all. i can see on the beinner slopes, but the inetermeds as well! as for complaining, that seems to be the #1 mechanism for getting things done at Lib/RT (pretty halfassed way if you ask me) but try it if you are younger or boarding? You'll get polite indiffernce or a hostile blow off depending on the person.
don
February 5, 2001
Member since 08/28/2002
15 posts
Is it really snowing at Liberty? The home page says it snowed this morning but the accompanying weather report says "snow mixed with occasional rain" - which could mean a downpour given Liberty's usual bend on conditions. And their SlopeCam's are totally worthless.
(Anonymous)
February 5, 2001
I was at Liberty today - it did really snow. They probably got about 3-4 inches which they did not groom during the day at all. No rain - thank goodness. I think they were as surprised as the rest of us to be getting the natural stuff. It stopped snowing right after lunch and got sunny - a great day!
Finsout
February 6, 2001
Member since 01/23/2001
104 posts
Roundtop was all that and more yesterday. they easily got 10 inches with no-one there. only 2 down points--1-gunbarrel was not open (being groomed) and the lift guys did a horrible job keeping the seats clean. gunbarrel has been groomed top to bottom to make the top more makeable plus rumor has it the are planning to open 2 new trails over the summer and they are supposed to be at least intermediate level.
twin58
February 6, 2001
Member since 04/1/2000
198 posts
I get Liberty's daily snow report via e-mail, but I just don't believe it. I think they put a gray filter in front of the lens to make things look more overcast. Liberty's sister (brother?) resort Whitetail's website is more honest, I feel. If the high for the day is in the mid-forties, WT will say so.
BTW, today, WT refers to primary condition and secondary condition. What does that mean?
AirHawk
February 6, 2001
Member since 12/27/2000
50 posts
Something seems fishy here. Whitetail Reported 2 inches of snow from Mondays (2/5/01's) Storm but liberty report and Roundtop both report 6+ inches liberity i think was reporting 8 inches yesterday but droped it down to 6+....I may not be a rocketscientist but i know that snowfall does not very that much between those 3 resorts and something is wrong... This seems kinda fishy to me....i think that Roundtop and libery to shape up on there Conditions reporting and report more accurate conditions...just my thought

Air

don
February 7, 2001
Member since 08/28/2002
15 posts
I was at Liberty on Tuesday evening (2/6/01) from 7pm to 10pm. There was no evidence of NATURAL snow except for occasional drifts of a fraction of an inch. If it has snowed there recently, it's all since melted.

Nonetheless, Liberty's artificial snow is hanging in there. Most of the trails were open and had adequate coverage. There was about 2 inches of, uh, slush in most places.

I've never skied in slush before but it's as you might expect - really heavy wet snow. Oddly, one person told me that they perceived it as "faster" while another person insisted it was "slower". To me, it merely felt as if it took more effort to maneuver and it certainly was grittier and not as smooth and pleasant as the real thing.

But hey, 2 inches of crud is better than 0 inches of crud. And we all agreed that it was better than ice. At 10pm, it started to get a little icy but even then it wasn't too substantial.

There was no snowmaking going on. If this warm weather keeps up, the mountain's going to be totally unskiable very soon.

(Anonymous)
February 7, 2001
Of course there was not a ton of natural left by Tuesday - the temperatures were in the mid 40s at least. Even on Monday afternoon, it got warmer and sunny. There honestly was a good bit of snow on Wednesday - it just got warm. It looks like we may end up getting a little bit of a warmer snap in our area - unfortunately. But, I have skiied this area for 20 years and Liberty seems to have more than enough snow to carry them through it with good grooming. I would be more concerned for Whitetail with their poor exposure, they will probably be the ones to have problems with the warm weather. Hopefully, it will just get cold again!!!!
Finsout
February 7, 2001
Member since 01/23/2001
104 posts
airhawk, let think about this for a minute--whitetail is 76 miles from roundtop and liberty is something like 40 miles--of course there will be variations. where i live we got 13 inches but just 10 miles away they only got 8. the further west they got even less because of the storm track. i was shin-deep in it at roundtop all day so i know first hand what they got. they frequently lie on their snow reports but this time i'll give them credit. roundtop actually got more then they reported. also, they groomed monday night and what do you think 6 inches of natural snow packs down to? probably about half an inch.
don
February 8, 2001
Member since 08/28/2002
15 posts
I enjoyed the slush so much Tuesday evening that I returned for more skiing Wednesday evening (2/7/01). Actually, the real reason was that my kid desperately wanted to go, otherwise I wouldn't have gone.

Anyway, conditions were very bad. By 6pm, icemaking was in full progress and the 2 inches of slush turned to 2 inches of gravelly ice with occasional piles of more powder-like ice.

I was really surprised by the temperature drop. When I left work, they were reporting temps in the 40s but by the time I got there, it was below freezing, thus the ice. What I don't understand is why they weren't making new snow. I hate to think that they've given up for the season already.

Finsout
February 8, 2001
Member since 01/23/2001
104 posts
Don,I used to wonder the same thing, but they probably didnt make snow for a couple of reasons: 1) the conditons weren't right and 2) they know that warmer weather is coming so why waste the resources. Snowmaking is a lot more complicated than i first realized, but in talking to roundtop's snowmakers over the years, i know it takes more than just 32 or below. between 28 and 32, the snow tends to get super heavy and bacially becomes concrete. plus the temp where snow can be made effectively goes down as the humidity goes up and i think it was pretty humid last night. plus its supposed to get into the 60s tomorrow followed by rain so im sure they didnt want to waste expensive snowmaking resources on very marginal conditions. based on the upcomming weather, i'd say your best bet is sunday morning since the cold front coming through on saturday should allow for decent snowmaking sat night.
don
February 12, 2001
Member since 08/28/2002
15 posts
Liberty's website says "4-6 inches of new man-made snow". I guess I believe them - the only question is - but how much melted after you finished blowing it (and how much did it compact down to). Anyone been there today?

Finsout - thanks for the insight on why they choose to make or not make snow. One of the employees also told me that the dates matter - the ski resorts all count on the upcoming weekend ("President day weekend") to be well-attended (read: lucrative) so they're going to be making snow no matter how iffy the conditions are.

Jim
February 13, 2001
Member since 11/22/1999
317 posts
As of Sunday, there was still plenty of coverage on the slopes at Liberty. The only areas where discernable barespots existed were under chair 5 over skier's right on Eastwind (effectively the edge of the trail) and at the bottom of lower Strata. Otherwise, the slopes have more than enough snow. In fact, I spoke with an instructor who was out at Whitetail. Apparently, they are doing a hurt dance with lots of mud on all the trails.

As for snowmaking - yes, I would expect that Liberty is going to make snow at every opportunity. One more factor that plays into the snowmaking equation - power. Apparently, Liberty purchases power in chunks. During the winter months, when demand for electricity is lower (i.e., no competition from power gobbling a/c units), power for snowmaking is more economical so its purchased in a package deal. Both before and after that time, the price of power is significantly higher. So don't expect to see much snowmaking past February or before December. Even if you do, keep in mind that its costing the area big bucks for the extra power. As for overall power consumption, keep in mind that pumping thousands of gallons of water from the bottom to the top, cooling the water and combining it with high pressure air takes an enormous amount of energy.

don
March 5, 2001
Member since 08/28/2002
15 posts
From their respective websites, it appears Whitetail got double the snow that SkiLiberty did today. If we do the reality-fudge factor (divide by a large number), we get that WT got 2 inches and SL got 1 inch. Anyone been to either today and can say something about conditions? I'd really like to go skiing sometime this week!!!
(Anonymous)
March 5, 2001
I was up at Liberty today - they appear to have gotten a couple inches - the roads were slushy in the morning and clear in the afternoon. It does not seem like they go the rain like DC and Baltimore. Coverage was pretty good and day skiing was really quite nice.
(Anonymous)
March 9, 2001
After reading everyone's posts, I have some answers and insight into the rumors/comments that were started.

As said before, the snow fall does vary from resort to resort. Remember the big storm we were supposed to get in February? Well that storm dropped over a foot of snow on Philly, but ten miles west, they didn't get anything. All storms are different and their track and ferocity depend on a lot of different variables. These can change dramatically and rapidly. So, if you have questions about snow fall, check your local weather, or call the resort.

As far as the webcams. They are basically like normal cameras. They have an iris. Point a normal camera into the sun a couple of times, then check your film quality.
Where I am headed is, the iris on a camera becomes distorted and discolored after constant exposure to very bright lights and harsh weather conditions. This is what causes the pictures to look so grey and dreary. I am sure you can tell the difference between the shots on the webpage.
If they are all grey, odds are it is grey outside.

Finsout
March 12, 2001
Member since 01/23/2001
104 posts
the bottom line is they lie always about conditions. i've seen the worst conditions imaginable at Roundtop and they make it look ok. IE--the middle of minuteman was so bare one time they had to shovel snow so you could get a path to get to the bottom and they were saying they had 100 percent coverage with a 20 inch base. sure it was covered--you could get top to bottom and where they measured was the deepest point. another time the halfpipe had huge bare spots that there was no humanly possible way to ride it, but they called it open. NEVER solely rely on their ski reports. the best way is just experience and talking to people. like right now, RT has huge amounts of snow, but its so grainy and washboard ice its barely ridable. i certainly wouldnt pay full price to ski/ride it.
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