Monday, February 29, 2016

Whiteface Mtn: 02/27/2016

Skyward and Little Whiteface from the summit chair, Saturday 02/27/2016.

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

At this point in the season a skier’s got to pick his days. You’re going to want new snow or warm temps and spring conditions. Saturday at Whiteface was neither. We had a great day anyway.

I’ll dispense with the obvious up front: conditions were firm and fast. Even icy. Temperatures remained below freezing all day, even at the base. We sharpened our edges overnight and they were dull by the end of the day. But a skier couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day to be in the mountains, with bright blue skies, endless views a breeze with enough bite to remind you that it’s still winter.

Mountain Run

More Mountain Run

We skied with my brother, who hasn’t been to Whiteface since… well, since before Lookout Mountain opened. It’s always fun to show someone new – or almost new – around the mountain. Considering the terrible winter we’ve had – the most recent thaw was just a few days earlier – the mountain is in surprisingly great shape. There’s not a bare spot to be found, even down at the base, and just about the entire mountain is open. The notable exception is the Lookout Mountain terrain, which simply ain’t gonna happen this year.


Summit chair


The expert terrain off the gondi was good – Mountain Run, Wilderness, Essex – but the best skiing was found on Skyward. Sure, the drop-in was icy, and below that there was just enough loose granular to get an edge in. But the adrenaline rush was as good and the views as expansive as ever. There’s a handful of trails in the east that are as good as Skyward, but none better.

Daniel skiing Skyward, Dave about to drop in

Hello down there!

Last run

Bottom line: we all ended the day with big smiles. I’ve skied on enough overcast days with limited terrain this year that I would have killed for a day like this earlier in the winter. There’s no telling how much longer the ski season will last (here’s one guess, here’s another), so get your days in when you can. Pick your days when you can, be prepared, and savor the rest of the season. I can tell you I’m going to enjoy re-reading this post in July.

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