I almost feel guilty. It's been a rocky start to the ski season, but I've managed to log 4 out of 4 excellent early season ski days. Part of it is luck. We've skied on days when the sun is out and the snow is soft. Part of it is a function of low expectations, like our trip back up to Whiteface on Saturday. Skies were gray, temperatures 40-something, and there was no sign of winter anywhere. Enthusiasm was in short supply as we pulled into the lot looking up at a mountain brown clear to the summit.
It didn't take long to turn the frowns upside down. The snow was soft top to bottom, coverage was great, and the sun quickly won out over the clouds. Crowds, what crowds? Incredibly, despite a week of mild temperatures, Whiteface managed to expand their terrain adding Victoria and Broadway to the open trail count. With Essex, Northway and Excelsior open as well, there was just enough terrain variety. You couldn't help but hoot on Essex's legit black diamond bumps and smile on Vic's soft, rounded moguls. We had our best day of the season so far.
Our dual mountain Whiteface-Gore passes have been working double duty this season, allowing us to leverage the best conditions to our advantage. Early season plays out differently each year, but Whiteface's latitude and elevation have given it the edge with this year's marginal temperatures and natural snow shut out.
Will our streak of good luck continue? Even I have to admit it's not looking good. After seasonably cold temps make a brief appearance this weekend, mild conditions return for the week leading up to Christmas. This ski season is hanging on by just a thread.