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The preamble I had been working on is obsolete.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.
— Snowshoe Mountain (@snowshoemtn) October 13, 2018
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 early – DCSki.com
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
Capital Weather Gang will also be providing a skier report each Friday:
NEW: Our first Mid-Atlantic ski report of the 2018-19 season… Please share with your ski enthusiast friends. We plan to post these every Friday. https://t.co/bp80UpYyL2
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) December 14, 2018
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 Resorts – DC 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 — 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 million – Public 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
The second weekend of December is opening weekend for most Virginia ski areas.
Massanutten Resort set to open this weekend for 2018/19 ski season – Augusta Free Press
Big News, Early Opening of the 2018-19 Winter Season – Wintergreen
Early Opening! – Bryce
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 dangerous – PennLive
From the Morning Call (Allentown): Lehigh Valley area ski resorts get a jump on the season for Black Friday
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.
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:
|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.
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.
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.
Remember when twitter lists were a thing? I have a fairly extensive one for mid-Atlantic skiing and a little more (it scrolls forever):