Thursday, April 16, 2015

Whiteface Mountain: 04/12/2015

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when conditions are good at Whiteface, it’s a serious contender for King of the East. And conditions at Whiteface weren’t merely good on Sunday, they were phenomenal.

Whiteface Mountain, Sunday morning 04/12/2015.

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

I’ve already had a good run of spring skiing this year, starting with a taste of spring on Hickory’s closing day at the end of March and continuing with Sugarbush and Gore the following weekend. But Sunday at Whiteface topped them all, with perfect spring weather and snow.

Temperatures were already into the mid-40s when Daniel, Sylvie and I pulled into the parking lot (Beth sat this one out… go figure) around 10am, with the strong April sun baking the slopes. We quickly met up with friends from Gore and headed for the upper mountain.

Wall-to-wall coverage on Mountain Run

Looking up at the slides and summit from the top of the Face Lift

We’ve been skiing with my buddy Jim and his 3 kids all season, and the kids definitely had their A-game going on Sunday. Whiteface’s spring lift operations (no gondola) allowed us to take the Face Lift up to the mid-mountain lodge, stash packs there, and then alternate among the Summit Quad, Lookout Triple and Little Whiteface chair to hit one black diamond run after another, without returning all the way down to the base until the end of the day. Don’t try this if your ski legs are in anything less than top condition.



Paron's Run

Coverage was impressive across the entire upper mountain, with minimal bare spots in just a handful of exposed locations. Although light by mid-winter standards, there was a decent crowd of skiers. As you’d expect on a beautiful spring day, the deck at the mid-mountain lodge was packed.

Packed deck at the mid-mountain lodge

It’s hard to pick a favorite when conditions are great all across the mountain. We lapped Skyward 3 or 4 times, hit Cloudspin and Paron’s Run, Wilderness and Mountain Run, Lookout Below and Hoyt’s High. If pressed, I’d have to take Hoyt’s as my pick of the day, with perfect spring bumps and a sustained black diamond pitch that seems to go on forever.

Jim and the kids on Hoyt's High

Lookout Below

At the end of the day, Jim’s 2 girls and Sylvie headed for the mid-mountain lodge while Jim and I, Daniel and Jim’s son Zach headed for one more run down Skyward. We were literally the last skiers up the summit quad for the day – the lift attendant held the rope up for me to get on and they shut the lift down when we got off at the top. We savored the view of the High Peaks for a few minutes before heading down a deserted Skyward, knowing that it might be our last run of the season. By the time we skied the 1800 vertical feet down Skyward, Niagara and Victoria, Jim and the 2 boys were well ahead of me and I realized I was the weak link in our group. I’ve arrived at that point where my kids are starting to out-ski me.

End of the day at the top of Skyward

One last look back

By the time we picked the girls up at the mid-mountain lodge it was well past 4pm. A crew of diehards was still hanging out on the deck, soaking up the late afternoon warmth. It felt like we owned the ski area as we skied back down to the base, a great end to a great day to cap off a great season.

Note: Both Gore and Whiteface announced yeseterday that they will re-open for this weekend, Saturday and Sunday 4/18 and 4/19.