Explore First Tracks at Whiteface Mountain
Whiteface Mountain offers a way to beat the lift lines Saturdays, Sundays and holidays throughout the season with their First Tracks program. This program is free to the public and gives you the unique opportunity to take a run before the lifts are open. Space is limited to 14 people, intermediate or above skill level, and sign up is first come, first serve by contacting the Guest Service desk or by emailing email@example.com.
I decided to check it out Saturday. I emailed Guest Services Thursday and secured spot #13, note - you can sign up as far in advance as you'd like. Saturday morning I arrived at the 7:45am meeting time to the Guest Service desk, checked-in and was given a special First Tracks credential to get me on the gondola. At 8:00am we all headed out to the gondola with our equipment. There was already a line of 20+ people waiting for the 8:30am opening of the lift. The First Tracks group headed around them to the Ski Patrol line. We waited for a bit at the bottom of the lift and some Ski Patrollers went up the gondola ahead of us. Whiteface Mountain entertained us with a giveaway, drawing a number from one of our credentials, #13 proved to be lucky that day and I walked away with a $25 gift certificate to Cunningham's Ski Barn in Lake Placid.
It was now around 8:10am and time to board the gondola for the top of little Whiteface. We waved goodbye to the group of skiers and riders waiting in line as we headed up the mountain. When we got to the top, we were the only ones around. Once we had our skis and boards on, Pat, our guide gave us a few instructions before we headed down. The rules were we all had to take the same trail and we all had to roughly stick together. The trail choices were Excelsior to either Boreen or Lower Valley, we chose Boreen. Pat lead the group and another staff member followed up the back. The trails were beautifully groomed with occasional patches of fresh snow at the sides of the trails. After a short traverse along the ridge of Little Whiteface the trail curved right, down a short pitch into Excelsior - a fun, winding trail of linked "S" shaped turns, great for cruising on and carving some turns. I let the group go ahead of me and caught up at my own pace, it was great having the feeling of the entire trail to myself, especially on a Saturday morning! The group met up at the end of Excelsior. Once everyone was accounted for we headed down the next pitch down Upper Valley to Boreen. The trails were wide open and the groomers were perfect, it was a great way to start the day. At the bottom of the run I said goodbye and thank you to Pat and headed to the lift line as the rest of the public was loading for their first run of the day.
It was a fun VIP experience and it didn't cost anything. This is a great program for anyone wanting a private run. Just note that the program is geared towards intermediate level so the trails taken are Excelsior and Boreen/Lower Valley, all blue squares and greens. This program is not for those wanting first tracks down Mountain Run or any other of the mountain's many black diamonds – for that you will have to wait in line.
This week they are offing a special Valentine's Day First Tracks for couples only on February 14th and then will be running daily First Tracks from February 15th - 24th. Email the Guest Service desk: firstname.lastname@example.org for details and registration.
Check out First Tracks at Whiteface and book your ski and ride stay today!