Firsthand Report: New Ski Technology for Whitetail Rentals
By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist
January 28, 2012 — Whitetail replaced its entire collection of rental equipment this season and Charles and I visited last week was to learn about and demo the new standard adult skis and boots. The Elan Exar Mag Track skis have a slight vertical camber or “rocker bottom” in addition to the side cut so that they engage in turns more easily with less shifting of the user’s weight. Cody Gossard, lead instructor of the day, gave us a short lesson on how easily the skis turn on relatively flat terrain; he said that many of the instructors and staff at Whitetail were evaluating several skis and boot combinations last season and the vast majority were impressed by the Elan ski/Dalbello boot system.
The Dalbello Vantage 4Factor boot system can accommodate virtually any man or woman foot length with 12 shell sizes, but only 4 sole lengths; this substantially reduces the time necessary to adjust the ski bindings. Both Connie and I found our boots well padded, easy to enter and exit, and easy to adjust. The new rental boots also have a flip lock behind the ankle to facilitate walking. The rental staff including manager Rick Salomon, Charlie Cushwa, and Carla Smith could not have been nicer; they say that even at peak times, the fitting and distribution process is dramatically improved over last year and renters get out onto the snow much quicker.
We had this magnificent mountain to ourselves and a small group of several hundred others during a midweek visit. The mountain and the rental shop were doing a fine business, but it did not feel crowded. The weather could not have been more perfect. The sun was shining and the temperature in the mid thirties to forty. It began to cloud up a bit in the afternoon, which was good. The snow was just starting to mush up in the sun. Whitetail did an excellent job of grooming and snowmaking, as usual. 99% of the terrain was open when we were there. 22 trails were open and 8 lifts. It was Heaven!
The additions to the EZ Rider Quad take getting used to; there are gates which open automatically, and a rolling carpet which helps you slide onto the lift. That can catch you if your balance is bad. The seat pads are comfortable for riding, but the slight back tilt makes it harder to exit at the top and require a little jump. The lift operators are good about slowing down to load and unload — ask them if you feel shaky. I am still weak after a broken hip last March.
Our old friends at Whitetail were warm and friendly. We were all talking sadly about our friend Buddy Hauk, the Chief Mountain Host who died the week before. He visited Whitetail the day before he died, to say goodbye. Over the weekend, many wore black hats to honor him. Buddy was seldom seen without his black cowboy hat and wide, infectious smile. Most of the regular adaptive ski instructors were on a break on Wednesday - they had had a very busy week. The adaptive program is run by Bill Dietrich, and they work closely with Disabled Sports USA in Rockville. They teach classes by appointment when requested. Costs are kept down through private donations.
In all, it should be a good season for Whitetail and the other local areas, as long as they have the most modern, expensive, and up-to-date snowmaking equipment. It has obviously been a bad snow year in many parts of the world so far, but snow making has defied the gods and salvaged the industry!
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About the Author
Connie Lawn is an avid skier. In her spare time, she has covered the White House as a reporter since 1968. To read other articles by Connie, click here.
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The views and opinions expressed in DCSki Article Comments are strictly those of the comment authors and have not been reviewed or approved by DCSki. If you believe a comment is inaccurate or inappropriate, please contact DCSki's Editor.
Boots - posted by Matthew
February 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm
I want new easy walk boots!!!!!!
boots - posted by Connie Lawn
February 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm
I agree with you Matthew. In general, I find ski boots too heavy and complicated. They are akin to women wearing stupid, stilleto, pointed high heels! This is why more people go to snow boarding. Yours, Connie