2018-2019 DC Commuter Skier preview

SKIING: MARCH 22, 2018 WHITETAIL RECAP

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The preamble I had been working on is obsolete.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:

Don’t hate winter, use it!

First, I previewed broomball in the D.C. area, now let’s talk about skiing…

Snow started falling in the Alleghenies by October 13.

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!

Winter arrives earlyDCSki.com

Weather hype

Prepare yourself mentally and physically, the consensus in the meteorology community that this is going to be a snowy winter.

Capital Weather Gang, The Post

❄ D.C. winter outlook 2018-2019: We predict snowier than normal conditions for the first time in three years

❄ TV forecasters predict snowy winter in Washington

❄Forecasters in the private sector strongly favor a snowy winter in Washington

Capital Weather Gang will also be providing a skier report each Friday:

Ski the Southeast

❄ WHAT THE EXPERTS THINK
Five meteorologists from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina think it’s going to be a good one for Mid-Atlantic skiers.

Snowtime sells out to Peak

End of an Era: Liberty Mountain, Roundtop Mountain, and Whitetail Resorts Sold to Peak ResortsDC Ski
Big news about the three closest ski areas to the Capital Beltway:

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 β€” 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.

MORE: Whitetail, Roundtop & Liberty resorts to be sold for $76 millionPublic Opinion (Chambersburg, Pa.) I launched their first web site way back when.

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.

Whitetail finally got that elusive liquor license approved as well (Public Opinion).

Other skiing news and openings

Virginia

The second weekend of December is opening weekend for most Virginia ski areas.

Massanutten Resort set to open this weekend for 2018/19 ski seasonAugusta Free Press

Big News, Early Opening of the 2018-19 Winter Season – Wintergreen

Early Opening! – Bryce

Pennsylvania

Proximity, volume and friends lead me to Pennsylvania for most of my skiing. The Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association (SkiPa) has a press release on what’s new for the season: What’s New at Pennsylvania’s Ski Resorts for the 2018/2019 Season

Oh and Pennsylvania Superior Court says skiing is inherently dangerousPennLive

Here’s what new at Roundtop, Camelback, Liberty and more ski resorts in PennsylvaniaPennLive

Poconos

From the Morning Call (Allentown): Lehigh Valley area ski resorts get a jump on the season for Black Friday

Alleghenies

From the Post-Gazette: Your guide to southwestern Pennsylvania ski resorts | Unpredictable snowfall? No problem as ski areas install state-of-the art snowmaking this season

West Virginia mountain resorts gearing up for snow season

Some W.Va. Ski Resorts Slated to Open – West Virginia Public Radio

PA Snow Pass

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?

There is also a first-time skier package as well.

h/t Ed Fowler of Skidome.org

Are you doing your exercises?

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.
Reagan era Rossis

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.

Pow(d)er Rankings

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:

Ski area Rating Visits TL;DR
Big Boulder, Poconos, Pa. 17 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.
Blue Knob, Claysburg, Pa. ■■ 1 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.
Blue Mountain, Palmerton, Pa. 1 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.
Camelback, Poconos, Pa. ■■

5 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.
Jack Frost, Poconos, Pa. 1 Inverted, small and probably a good choice for younger skiers, but again, kind of far from DC. Biggest plus — shared passed with Big Boulder, so you can ski two hills in one day.
Massanutten, Harrisonburg, Va. ■■ 1 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.
Timberline, Davis, W.V. 1 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.
Whitetail, Mercersburg, Pa. ■■ 9 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.

The long-time go-to for Washingtonians interested in snow sports has been dcski.com, run by M. Scott Smith (interview from 7-ish years ago). He has in-depth resort profiles as well as a facebook page & forums.

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 β€œshee-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.

Sadly, The Art of Skiing featuring Goofy isn’t embeddable in a good format now, so you have to go here and settle for shaky cam.

Twitter list

Remember when twitter lists were a thing? I have a fairly extensive one for mid-Atlantic skiing and a little more (it scrolls forever):

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