MERCERSBURG, Pa. — I typically get in one day of skiing annually and I was concerned that was going to be too warm when I went out way back on February 12 — I thought we’d be skiing in “white mud.” Thankfully, despite 42° temperatures, the conditions at Whitetail in southern Pennsylvania were surprisingly good. The snow was packed or fluffy and the ice was largely a non-factor.
My friend Ryan and I departed at around 8:30 a.m. and arrived at Whitetail around 10 a.m. We caught a shuttle bus from the parking lot and about half an hour later, I had gotten my skis, poles and for the first time, a helmet. Ryan, a much more experienced skier than me with days at Hunter and Gore Mtns. in New York State this winter (and a trip to Colorado coming up) elected to snowboard to keep himself “challenged.” He assured me going in that snowboarding had “humbled” him.
We started out going up the EZ Rider Quad lift. After a long wait and a short ride down Snow Park, we decided to move up to the top of the mountain Whitetail Express Quad lift. We went down Limelight, the longest trail at Whitetail at a 4,900 feet several times. We also checked out Fanciful (which really leveled off at the end, if memeory serves), Snow Dancer and Homerun, the later of which had moguls at the top. We tired of those and headed over down Drop In over to the black diamonds and the Experts Choice Quad chairlift. Exhibition proved to be the best of the three expert slopes and we skied it often.
We took a break for lunch and I gobbled down a chicken tenders and fries basket which cost something like $8.25. It proved to be the best “value” there. Overall, the cafeteria looked just like every other Pennsylvania ski area I had been too. Also, it may be worth noting that Whitetail is “in a dry county” apaprently.
Following lunch, we tookanother run down Limelight to get our legs back and it was back to the black diamonds for the rest of the day. Far Side was okay, but a little icy, while Bold Decision, the most difficult trail at Whitetail, was really torn up. Admittedly, I contributed to that in one portion of the slope, sliding for several yards at one point. My belated apologies to all that encountered what surely became a sheet of ice. I only rode Bold Decision once and if I recall correctly, my friend’s one significant fall was on that run as well. My only fall came when a snowboarder got caught in my skis coming off the lift. We returned to Exhibition and finished our day with several runs down it. It is a good, short slope that was just long enough for me and my out-of-shape legs to take all at once. Overall, it was a very successful day skiing.
Whitetail is about a 90 minute drive from Alexandria. From the Capital Beltway (I-495) take I-270 NORTH to I-70 WEST. Stay on I-70 to EXIT 18 MD 68 Clear Spring. Follow MD 68 NORTH into Clear Spring and continue past US 40. There will be snowflake signs to guide the way. The state line is not marked, but there was a police car in a speed trap near it. Shuttle buses are provided in the parking lots.
RENTALS & LIFT TICKET
Unlike the Poconos, the road to Whitetail does not have any ski shops on it, so I had to rent directly from Whitetail, though I had my own boots. A pair of 160 skis, poles, a helmet and an 8-hour lift ticket ran me about $120 which is pretty steep. It was my first time wearing a ski helmet and I was happy with it. My head was nice and warm too though I’ll just buy one for myself going forward. At this point, a majority of skiers and boarders were wearing them, compared to almost no one 15 years ago.