Spring skiing in the 'dacks
What happens in Placid when the temps start to rise? Spring skiing, of course!
Submitted by Guest Blogger: Ryan Damp
February 14, 2017 – Spring (!?) preview
Love was in the air this past Valentine’s Day thanks to heavy snowfall! We saw well over a foot dumped across Whiteface Mountain over a 48-hour period, adding onto the nearly 200 inches of snowfall that had already dropped this season. Conditions were immaculate and skiers of all ages and skill levels were able to enjoy their Valentine’s Day on the slopes of Whiteface. And with temperatures hovering around a comfortable 30 degrees, as well as frequent bouts of sunshine, the day offered a glimpse of what to expect from the spring skiing season.
Despite what appeared would be a very crowded day at the mountain (the parking lots were bustling), the vast terrain of the slopes naturally spread out the traffic. Oftentimes you'd get the impression that you had the mountain all to yourself. The lines at every lift were short, the trails wide open, and with 288-skiable acres, Whiteface proved to be a true thrill to explore.
My first run of the day began with a ride up the Gondola to the top of Little Whiteface. The view at the top was a pleasant surprise, to say the least; with the clouds now cleared up, a spectacular view of Lake Placid proved to be an added bonus to the day. After soaking up the sun and the scenery, I decided to ski down Excelsior, a popular trail for riders of all skill levels, and then head to Victoria. The snow on Victoria consisted of a fresh blanket of powder, that any skier would appreciate (such conditions would prove to be the norm for the day), as well as some moguls running down the left side of the trail.
From there I was eager to ride up Lookout Mountain, a personal favorite of mine. Lookout Mountain, Whiteface’s newest addition having opened in 2009, is home to three trails and two glades. Each trail is no doubt unique and exceptional in its own right. The Wilmington Trail, paying homage to the hometown of Whiteface, is the longest trail on the mountain, winding down the east side for over two miles of slopes that every skier would enjoy. Branching off of The Wilmington Trail is Lookout Below, one of the steepest and most challenging trails on the mountain. Last, but definitely not least, is Hoyt’s High. The trail offers a challenge for experienced skiers, playing host to nicely contoured trails covered with natural snow.
Sweet Valley High
Although definitely not for everyone, I most enjoy taking on Whiteface’s glades skiing. The Sugar Valley Glades, running parallel to The Wilmington Trail, are a thrill to explore. The double-black diamond terrain will challenge the most experienced skier, while providing for an exciting and fun adventure. The glades begin with a steep slope, densely populated with tree coverage, that’s difficult to navigate. While it starts off as an unquestioned challenge, it eventually gives way to a much smoother, more open, tree skiing experience. With 53 acres of glade skiing scattered across the mountain, there are virtually an infinite number of ways in which fans of tree skiing are able to experience skiing in the heart of the Adirondack wilderness.
No trip to Whiteface is complete without a picture atop the Whiteface Summit. On a clear day, you are able to see Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont to the east. The view to the south yields an extraordinary view of the Adirondack mountain range, including numerous 46er mountains such as Marcy and Algonquin. You’ll need a few minutes to soak in the view before it’s time to venture down the slopes of what is the single greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies. The Whiteface Summit offers a few options: for expert skiers I recommend a ride down the steep, open slope of Skyward, while for intermediate and above skiers, I recommend taking Riva Ridge over to the Follies or Paron’s Run.
For those who prefer to spend their day at the mountain flying off jumps or hitting rails, Whiteface will have what you’re looking for. Scattered across the mountain is an arsenal of over 30 rails and boxes, a dozen jumps ranging from 10 feet to 55 feet, and a skier/boarder cross course. Whiteface’s terrain parks located on Broadway and Brookside will prove worthy even to the most experienced park enthusiasts.
Why I choose Whiteface
Regardless of your style of riding or skill level, Whiteface will surely have what you’re looking for. From its 87 total trails and numerous terrain parks, to the 53 acres of glades skiing, Whiteface will never offer up a dull moment. It’s truly a behemoth to conquer, as one could ski all day and experience a new trail on every run. And with spring temperatures well on the way, there is not a better time to “Ski The Face”; so check out the numerous ski-and-stay packages currently available, and plan your perfect getaway, today!
This week ADK stolen slogans: The Adirondacks that never sleeps in big sky country is for lovers.