Monday, November 18, 2013
Whiteface Mountain: opening weekend, Sunday 11/17/2013
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 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.
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.
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.