Monday, November 18, 2013

Whiteface Mountain: opening weekend, Sunday 11/17/2013

Opening weekend at Whiteface, Nov. 17, 2013.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

We decided to take advantage of Whiteface's earliest-ever opening and headed up on Sunday to kick off our 2013-14 ski season two weeks early. While it wasn't much of a day for taking pictures, the skiing turned out to be quite good and the day stayed at least mostly dry.

The drive up from Saratoga wasn't very inspiring: low clouds, occassional mist and temperatures in the mid-40s. But north of the High Peaks the cloud deck lifted, and as we approached Whiteface most of the mountain was visible below the clouds.

Daniel's trademark green cape is visible, he's the skier furthest downhill

The warm temperatures and soft snow made the skiing decidedly spring-like. Although there was just a single route down from the summit of Little Whiteface (Excelsior-Upper Valley-Lower Valley-Fox), it's a route with 2,400 vertical feet, plenty for day one of the season. Coverage was excellent. The very summit of Little Whiteface was in and out of the clouds all day - maybe the top 100 feet - but it stayed clear from the first turn on Excelsior down.

Sylvie on Upper Valley

We didn't arrive at the mountain until 10:30, but we got in 8 top-to-bottom laps, 4 before lunch and 4 after, for almost 20 thousand vertical feet of skiing. Our lunch break coincided with the only significant shower of the day, and when we went back out after lunch we owned the mountain, many of the supposedly more sensible skiers having packed it in by early afternoon. The rain held off and we had 2400 vertical feet of soft, forgiving snow and wall-to-wall coverage virtually to ourselves, almost the polar opposite of the stereotypical early season white ribbon of death.

The new ski patrol building at the top of Little Whiteface

We'll head up to Gore next weekend, assuming cold weather allows the snowmaking crews to put down enough snow to run the gondola. If not, Whiteface will again be an option. After seven months of waiting, it's nice to now have Day 1 of the ski season in the books.


  1. Nice write up, we decided to skip my daughters ballet and head to Killington Saturday AM. Beautiful day, no wind, nice sunny skies, and 4 chairs, K1 gondola, and a Poma open on Snowden. Nice variety of trails, less soft than I expected though. Some spots were crowded. Overall one of the best opening days in years, and earliest.

    1. Nice! Thinking of trying to get over to K myself, I've got a 2-for-1 coupon to use by Dec 15.