Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Willard Mountain: 02/02/2011

I had been meaning to get back to Willard all season, ever since I interviewed owner and GM Chic Wilson back in November. With our kids home for a snow day, today seemed like the perfect opportunity to head over for a family ski day.

Base lodge from the Wipe Out trail

Willard is ordinarily open from 4pm to 9pm during the week, but they open early on snow days and during school breaks. Today was a noon opening, and the four of us arrived around 1:30. Since our 3-year-old is a non-skier (not for long though!), we used a shift-skiing strategy: Beth and I took turns skiing with Daniel, while the other stayed in the lodge with Sylvie. Willard is the perfect place for doing that, and the strategy worked well.

Fresh tracks under the double chair - some of those might be mine!

Willard's 500' vertical may not be impressive compared to the big resorts, but the mountain makes great use of the terrain. The twin double chairs ascend a steep main face (the Colonel trail), with several interesting narrow, steep trails to one side and wider intermediate and beginner trails on the other side.

Easy glade - look for the carved wooden bear on the birch in the center

Willard reported 14 inches of new snow from the two-day storm. Chic told me that they had groomed the trails overnight, and then let the new snow on Wednesday accumulate on most of the trails. We had a blast skiing those 8+ inches of ungroomed and very lightly skied snow. It was easy to find untracked lines all over the mountain. The new snow on top had a denser consistency than some of the other storms we've had recently, but skied great.

Lookout trail

Checked out some tree shots between the trails

Around dusk the snow started up again and we skied into the early evening, under the lights, for Daniel's first night skiing experience. Total cost for the day: well under fifty bucks with a 2-for-1 coupon for Beth and me and a very inexpensive junior ticket for Daniel. Willard's a half hour from home for us, so I'm sure we'll be back. Hmmm, Thursday nights are 2-for-1...


  1. I'm a Gore regular (season pass holder since 2001), but with young children at home, I have become a huge fan of Chic and what he does at Willard. You won't meet nicer people anywhere. I have my kids in the BARC Sunday afternoon program there; total costs for the 4 of us (2 kids, 2 adults) is $620 for the whole season, including rentals for the kids. You can't beat that, and the instructors are just terrific with the little ones.

  2. You're right, a local hill like Willard is a great community resource. Our son Daniel learned at Willard in their Little Colonel program 2 years ago when he was not quite 5 yrs old. Can't say enough good things about that program and the instructors.

  3. Hey glades even I could ski!!! Didn't realize they have two fer nights. I'll have to take my GF's son and maybe her niece. She don't get out much anymore but she's a natural ripper. Thanks for the info, Jeff.

  4. SB, I'm pretty sure every Thurs is 2-for-1 and every Tues night is $20 - those deals are on their website. There are Entertainment Book coupons out there too. I know West is right around the corner for you, but I think you'd enjoy the variety at Willard as well. Think (more) snow!

  5. Oh, we'll go. Double checked, Thur. is 2-1, but that info is somewhat buried at the site.

    Thanks Jeff!

    That link Denis N posted on HR for cheap Gore tickets has some awesome deals for many NY Mtns. Bookmark it ( you prolly already have ). Off to ski West now.