MERCERSBURG, Pa. — The cold late November and December has given ski areas across the Mid-Atlantic a head start on their seasons. That and a combination of use-it-or-lose-it vacation time led me to Whitetail for my first ever December skiing.
Difficult traffic getting out of Northern Virginia delayed my arrival until 11 a.m. I was surprised to see about 100 cars in the parking lot. There was no line to get lift ticket and rental throughout the process. I went with some 170s instead of my usual 160s to see how I would do.
I started on the green slopes serviced by the EZ Rider Quad lift. A run down Snow Park or Stalker confirmed that I had not yet done enough wall-sits, but I would be okay. It got a little sticky at the bottom though which was an omen for the day.
Having limited time and eager to challenge myself more, I headed over to the Whitetail Express Quad and started skiing on the trails on the middle of the mountain. Fanciful was in pretty good shape on the top 2/3s, but slowed me up at the bottom with its fresh, ungroomed machine made snow. Getting back to the lift was work. It was a good run though and probably had the most consistent conditions of the day. After a few runs on Fanciful, I headed over to Snow Dancer which mostly more of the same, but a little uneven snow-wise. After a run or two, I was able to find better paths to keep my momentum going close to the lift. Next, I head to the right of WEQ and skied down Homerun which was satisfying. Limelight was closed and several days from being ready, even with continuous snow-making in progress.
I next took Angel Drop into the Drop, but made the mistake of heading onto Fallmount instead of over to the black diamonds. Fallmount might as well be cross country skiing because it nearly completely flat. I gave up and picked up the skis, dropped $9.84 on chicken tenders & fries basket and a Pepsi at the cafeteria.
For the second half of the day, it was another couple of runs down Homerun and Angel Drop and then over to the Experts Choice Quad. Exhibition and Bold Decision were the only two open. I took a few runs down Exhibition, then moved over to Ridgeline to head back onto Angel Drop. Following that, I head over to Bold Decision which was deserted, ungroomed and sticky. It was the toughest run of the day and not in a fun way. Going down it felt like a chore and I took a minor tumble. I hope the groomers got it for skiers later in the week.
Running out of time, I skied Ridgeline back to the middle of the mountain and completed the day with a trip down Homerun.
Lift ticket and rentals cost me $105 and included a lesson that I did not use.
The lodge reminds me of a college dining hall more than a ski lodge, but the lack of alpine ambiance is no big deal because the features are above average for mid-Atlantic resorts, though it is worth mentioning Whitetail is dry.
Some of the trails had only about 60% of the surface area available for skiing since it is early in the season.
Grading on a curve because it was mid-December, I award Whitetail a on a scale of green circle being the lowest and black diamond being the highest. More grooming was needed and Bold Decision probably should not have been open. Overall, I was pretty happy to knock another month skied in off my list. Also, with 935 feet of vertical drop, Whitetail is the best option for a quick trip from the DC area. I may be back to teach my son how to ski if the weather cooperates.
Whitetail is about 75 miles from the Capital Beltway (I-495) via I-270, I-70, MD 68 and Blair Valley Road (watch your speed).