This post will be updated through the 2018-2019 ski season
The preamble I had been working on is obsolete. It snowed on Thursday, November 15. Almost 4 inches in the front yard in Alexandria’s West End. Winter isn’t coming, winter’s already here. To that, I say:
Snow has even accumulated at few places in the western extremes of day-trip distance on the October 21. The snow guns were roaring on November 10 in several places, even in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Thanksgiving openings are possible. Big Boulder in the Poconos will be open this weekend. Ski season is starting!
On September 24, 2018, it was announced that Snow Time, Inc. was being purchased by Peak Resorts. Snow Time was the parent company that operated Pennsylvania resorts Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail — each within a 90-minute or so drive of Washington, DC. The sale of Snow Time to Missouri-based Peak Resorts marks the end of an era for the Mid-Atlantic ski scene.
The history of Snowtime and its founder, Irv Naylor, is an interesting one that I was unfamiliar with until this great article.
What does it mean for DC area commuter skiers? Probably not much yet, but the Peak Pass might make that trip to Hunter Mountain and its 1500 feet of vertical drop seem more inviting. What happens in the 2019-2020 season will be interesting. Whitetail has been very well-run under snow time and my hope is that will not change.
Do you have a 4th or 5th grader? They can ski cheap at participating ski areas with the SkiPa Snow Pass.
I signed my oldest kid up for it last year and it worked out very well for us – $40 for the pass which meant free lift tickets at participating resorts. The first time we went, I got a break on rentals and lift ticket as well and we spent a $55 out of pocket that day.
I wish other states (or commonwealths) had this as well. Maybe start with 5th and 6th graders next year, Virginia?
I’m an evangelist for daily wall-sits leading up to ski season. Earlier in the decade, I’d do them around 2 o’clock every day at work; co-workers even joined in. It makes a huge difference, even just a week ahead of time. More than and you really see how much easier and better the skiing winds up being. SkiDome has more on getting in skiing shape.
Don’t be that guy
Last year’s Camelback trip was a friend’s first in a decade. He used his old skis. Before we even got out of rentals, he was having some remorse about the decision.
Spend the $30 and have a better, easier day.
Also, don’t be the guy that leaves his phone on his friend’s kitchen counter when you head to the slopes.
While I encourage you to read all of my recaps of skiing in the Mid-Atlantic, I have broken it down into easier to skim format:
My two semesters of college phys-ed were here, so I have a soft spot for it, but since then it’s been turned into a snowboard park and apparently a good one. If I had a month of ski days in a season, I’d take a day there bordercross runs are fun. SkiTheEast was there.
Rustic, prone to ice and not as big as they claim, but get a little bit of fresh snow and it’s a really fun mountain that I really want to visit again. It’s also an inverted lodge (on top of the mountain) despite being the highest skiable elevation in Pennsylvania.
My grade is a bit incomplete since it was a spontaneous trip in March one year, but I think it’s worth a second look. The vertical drop is amongst the best in Pennsylvania. The touchscreens instead of paper forms in the registration area would be welcome everywhere.
The biggest ski area in the Poconos has over 30 trails and is very popular, perhaps too popular. I have lots of great memories here, but its a bit far for over 800 feet of vertical and huge crowds on holiday weekends. It’s all interstate highways to get there though.
It’s small, hence Massa-nothin’, but the black diamond runs are really fun and the scenery is stunning. The Poconos, it ain’t. I had my best day of skiing here, right after the Pitchers and Catchers Day Storm in 2014. Another one I want to get back again.
T-Line has been a chronic impending disaster for years, but that may no longer be impending. It’s poorly run, broke and may not even open. DCski.com is sick of all the forum threads on this underachiever. Maybe they will just go belly-up so someone like Peak can snatch it on the cheap.
The elevation is under 2000 feet, but is over 900 feet of vertical drop. At only 90 minutes from the Capital Beltway, it’s an excellent option for D.C. commuter skiers. It may be the best run ski area around and the are finally getting a liquor license. The Peak purchase will be viewed closely.
In the distant past, I took trips to Liberty, Roundtop, Wisp, Montage Mountain and Eldora (Colorado).
Oh near-ish mountains I have yet to visit, Wintergreen is near the top of my list. Seven Springs gets praise for its apres ski, but I’m not sure 750 vertical is worth the trip when Blue Knob is closer. Since I tend to ski with Pennsylvania-based friends, Montage and Elk mountains off of I-81 look like a tempting alternative to Camelback but they are probably overnighters, as is Snowshoe. A friend, since departed for Costa Rica, used to say he wouldn’t ski south of Hunter Mountain, that’s intrigued me.
Independent Snow Sport Media
Several sites provide important coverage of our region’s ski areas. They are great for finding special deals, getting insight on what ski areas are really like, conditions and the community of Mid-Atlantic skiing.
Skidome.org focuses on the southern Pennsylvania resorts closest to D.C. and has discounts for regular skiers. The site is quite extensive and it turns out, one of my co-workers (now in Utah) was a founder.
According to some (like the NBA; the NHL realized the folly & realigned divisions), DC, Virginia & Maryland are the Southeast. I suppose the case for most of the Old Dominion is fairly strong, but semantics aside, SkiSoutheast has profiles & news of Virginia, Maryland, West By God Virginia & more southern resorts. It’s enthusiastically updated often, a must-read if you want to go to a WV resort or further south. They are looking for people to join their team too.
LiftTicketTV gives a family perspective on skiing, mostly in Pennsylvania, but sometimes further out. They are most active on youtube, but also twitter.
Your annual cinematic inspiration
Pronounced “shee-ing,” skiing is fast becoming the most popular of all winter sports. And small wonder, for there is no finer conquest than that of a mountain clad in its glorious winter mantle of glittering white.