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.
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.
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.
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.
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...