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Firsthand report: Whitetail, Saturday December 30, 2017
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Updated 8 days ago
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19 days ago

SKIING: DECEMBER 30, 2017 WHITETAIL RECAP; PRAISE FOR THE PA SKIPASS

Whitetail, from the top of the black diamond lift

By WFY December 31, 2017 DatelinesPennsylvaniaSkiingTravel Pa.snowWhitetailYAAAAH-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOOEY!

A Washingtonian recaps a day of skiing with his 9-year old son at Whitetail and recommends the Pennsylvania 4th and 5th grade Ski Pass.

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- William F. Yurasko
2017-2018 Ski Preview

19 days ago

Nice review!  Thank you for sharing it,  I will finally get to Whitetail tomorrow and I’m looking forward to getting my season underway!

18 days ago

Whitetail Ski Patrol is looking for anyone who may have seen an accident/incident there this morning..

 

http://www.wgal.com/article/skier-dies-after-being-found-unresponsive-at-whitetail-resort/14524108

18 days ago

crgildart wrote:

Whitetail Ski Patrol is looking for anyone who may have seen an accident/incident there this morning..

 

http://www.wgal.com/article/skier-dies-after-being-found-unresponsive-at-whitetail-resort/14524108

Damn, that is awful.

17 days ago

I spoke to a member of the ski patrol at Whitetail yesterday.  The accident occured on Limelight under the lift and speed was a factor.  I thought it might have been on one of the expert runs but it turns out it was just an advanced run.  Hate to hear these stories but hopefully they remind us to ski safely.

17 days ago

How did your day on the mountain go?

17 days ago

The conditions were better than they were at any time last year.  There were a few ice patches and more hard pack than I would have expected but still very nice overall.  The lift rides were cold due to the wind but not having any snowmaking going on was very nice (and seldom found last year).  I did a few warm up runs on Sidewinder and then moved on to the advanced hill.  There were no lines and everything was well covered.  Far Side was in good condition also.  As usual, the guys running the expert quad were only marginal in keeping the chair from clocking you in the back of the leg but I’ve gotten used to not depending on them and putting a blocking hand back there.  

17 days ago

I’ll be interested to learn more about that accident.  Does anyone know if it was a single skier accident, or if someone else was involved?

Also, I wonder if it involved the concrete pylons that the snow guns are sitting on under the HSQ.  Limelight wasn’t open yet when I was at WT (Thurs and Fri), but those pylons had no padding protection.  Were they there last year?  Were they padded?  I wonder why WT chose that spot versus on the other side of the trail…

MWolf, I hear you about the expert’s choice chair.  I’ll post a quick writeup in another thread about my experience skiing there two days last week, but the lifties were only sporadically swinging the chair, so a blocking hand was necessary for me as well.

17 days ago

 

 

Reisen wrote:

I’ll be interested to learn more about that accident.  Does anyone know if it was a single skier accident, or if someone else was involved?

They were asking for witnesses to come forward if anyone saw it happen… probably to check and see if a collision or near miss caused the poor soul to lose control and hit the equipment..

 

as for loading chairs.. I ALWAYS put a hand behind my butt and never count on the liftie serving the chair up carefully when I sit..  Nice when they do but at the places I ski most don’t do it well if at all..

Scott - DCSki Supporter
16 days ago

Reisen wrote:

 

MWolf, I hear you about the expert’s choice chair.  I’ll post a quick writeup in another thread about my experience skiing there two days last week, but the lifties were only sporadically swinging the chair, so a blocking hand was necessary for me as well.

I was at Whitetail Sunday evening and observed this at the Expert’s Choice quad as well.  I almost mentioned it in the story I published yesterday, but opted not to in case it was a one-time fluke.  There was no one in line at the Expert’s Choice quad when I skied up to it Sunday night, and the lift attendant didn’t bother coming out of the lift hut to hold the chair as it quickly swung around and struck me.  That chair whips around the corner with some force, so if one wasn’t paying attention it could cause an injury.  I wasn’t sure if the lift attendant didn’t see me in time to come out of the hut (there weren’t many people skiing the experts at that point), or just didn’t want to be out in the cold.  The next time I rode Expert’s Choice, there was one attendant who attempted to hold the chair, although not too well.  In the past the attendants at Expert’s Choice have been excellent at grabbing the chair and easing it towards you, so some better training might be in order.

16 days ago

Scott wrote:

I was at Whitetail Sunday evening and observed this at the Expert’s Choice quad as well.  I almost mentioned it in the story I published yesterday, but opted not to in case it was a one-time fluke.  There was no one in line at the Expert’s Choice quad when I skied up to it Sunday night, and the lift attendant didn’t bother coming out of the lift hut to hold the chair as it quickly swung around and struck me.  That chair whips around the corner with some force, so if one wasn’t paying attention it could cause an injury.  I wasn’t sure if the lift attendant didn’t see me in time to come out of the hut (there weren’t many people skiing the experts at that point), or just didn’t want to be out in the cold.  The next time I rode Expert’s Choice, there was one attendant who attempted to hold the chair, although not too well.  In the past the attendants at Expert’s Choice have been excellent at grabbing the chair and easing it towards you, so some better training might be in order.

I was thinking about this last night.  There have been times when the “service” has been better and perhaps the very cold temperature had something to do with it.  Another thing that comes in to play is that all of the ski resorts in the area do seem to struggle to find help when ramping up for the season.  I’m guessing that they have had “short” seasons for employees often in the past few years.  All of that makes it challenging to get “good” help and gives the employer less flexibility when trying to improve those who are a little below average.  I’ve been responsible for hiring seasonal help in the past and there are times when you have to hire and retain employees even though they are quite as good as you’d like.  

I do get the impression that the expert chair has some of the less experienced operators working it as opposed to the main WT Express Quad.  I seem to see the same few gentlemen at the bottom of the WT Express from season to season.  I’m guessing that is their bread and butter so they make sure it has the best personnel running it.  I’m still impressed with the overall operation at WT.  “Experts” should have experience and their chair is their first check before dropping you at the top of the mountain where you can really hurt yourself.

16 days ago

Lift ops and the lifties at Liberty always better than Whitetail.  Liberty appropriately staffed and organized 98% of the time - Whitetail is so often hit or miss.  Seems like everytime I am at Whitetail there is no “line conductor” to handle the after lunch surge at the express quad.  Someone should pass along a few friendly reminders to Mr. MacAskill.

16 days ago

I was at Liberty on Monday. There was not a single time that the chair hit me. The lifties always swung the chair back for a gentle landing.

Scott - DCSki Supporter
15 days ago

I’m told that Whitetail is going to address the situation with the Expert’s Choice lift.

15 days ago

Thanks Scott! It’s nice to see the resorts paying attention the articles here.

I do think some of it might have to do with the loading to that lift. It just feels like there is a short distance between the bull wheel and the “Load Here” cones, but I don’t know if there is anything they can do about that other than better train the lift operators because of how quickly it starts to asend. I might be mistaken about that distance, but that chair seems to sling around differently than others.

I do feel like Whitetail usually has the most attentive crew on the EZ Rider Quad, as I have been there on weekends and seen large crews running that lift. (And helping beginners… to keep things moving) 

Scott - DCSki Supporter
14 days ago

I think you’re right about the shorter distance — it certainly feels that way to me, too.  My guess is that the Experts Choice lift also runs at a speed that’s near the upper end for a fixed-grip lift.  The Lift Off quad, on the other hand, runs at a slower pace because it serves beginner terrain and is likely to have less experienced riders boarding.

I definitely felt a slight sense of panic when I realized there was no operator there to catch the chair.

13 days ago

RodneyBD wrote:

.. no “line conductor” to handle the after lunch surge at the express quad.  

That is my biggest lift peeve; that there is more concern over scanning tickets than in cueing up customers and filling chairs. It’s obvious most lift staff don’t ski and don’t get the importance of not letting empty and solo chairs go up on crowded days, while trying to scan every person.

Having just spent a few frigid days at Snowshoe, I think they have an even more annoying situation. They seem to scan every single person, every single ride. I guess that’s a factor of their upside down-ness, where anyone could drive to the top of any part of that ridge and drop down to any lift w/o a pass. 

 

9 days ago

camp wrote:

RodneyBD wrote:

.. no “line conductor” to handle the after lunch surge at the express quad.  

That is my biggest lift peeve; that there is more concern over scanning tickets than in cueing up customers and filling chairs. It’s obvious most lift staff don’t ski and don’t get the importance of not letting empty and solo chairs go up on crowded days, while trying to scan every person.

Having just spent a few frigid days at Snowshoe, I think they have an even more annoying situation. They seem to scan every single person, every single ride. I guess that’s a factor of their upside down-ness, where anyone could drive to the top of any part of that ridge and drop down to any lift w/o a pass. 

 

But couldn’t anyone drive up to the base of a right-side-down and hop on a lift if they aren’t scanning? What’s the difference? At the Shoe, you can still get on the lift even if you forget your ticket, and I guess someone could go from one lift to another “forgetting” their lift ticket and get 6 runs in :)

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
9 days ago

My impression is that there are two reasons for scanning lift tickets.  First, to discourage people from loading without a valid lift ticket or pass.  Second, to gather data on usage.  Vendors who sell RFID push the data gathering aspect pretty hard, whether using automated gates or hand scanners.

8 days ago

I have to say, when I was at snowshoe this past Sunday they did a pretty good job of both scanning and loading the lifts. And when someone didn’t get scanned it appeared that loading the lift took priority. 

8 days ago

I’ve never seen an open chair go up Ballhooter because scanning tickets took priority, they usually have 3-4 people working the lines; 3 scanning and Mike or someone else calling people out to line up to load 4 at a time. 

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