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Does Whitetail plan to fully open this year?
22 posts from 12 users
Updated one month ago
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2 months ago

I was at Whitetail on Friday (the 24th) to get some laps in as they’ve finally opened Snowdancer and Fanciful on the high speed quad as well as Exhibiition and Bold Decision on the expert side. I thought that conditions were really good as they had a full week to blow snow pretty much around the clock. What surprised me, though, was that there was zero snow on Farside and very little on Home Run and Stalker. Not blowing snow on Homerun pretty much forces everyone to ski through the terrain park to get to the high speed quad if you’re coming down from that side.

Does anyone know if they plan to blow enough snow to get these trails open for the year or have they already thrown in the towel on the season?

2 months ago

I doubt they are done… if you saw the place before MLK weekend it is clear they put significant snow down last week. It also poured some Friday night, so they had to prepare for that. I think their snow management has been pretty good this year considering the weather.

also, historically they make snow through the first weekend in March (or whenever the electric bill resets) I suspect they will try and get farside and limelight open for next weekend. It’s been a slow start but they still have the big Presidents’ Day weekend ahead 

2 months ago

Doubt they invested all that money on the techno alpines not to use them. Was there today and spoke to some staff about it. Given the window they had last week, the strategy was probably to lay down a heavy base on the core trails so they could withstand some warm spells and continue to build on the others as they can.  They have 100% snowmaking capability and have invested heavily over past years but don’t think even they have the air or water to go 100% on all trails simultaneously. Additionally to bring all trails online  at once requires a lot of man power.
 

Far Side and Limelight are two of my favorites. It was disappointing but confident they will keep pushing; Mother Nature willing.

2 months ago

I think it will all depend upon the weather over the next few weeks.   There may be some limited snow making windows at night this week, but nothing sustained on the horizon like we just had.   I am surprised that they didn’t try and open Home Run before Fanciful or Snow Dancer as I remember that being one of the earlier trails to open each year.   They did seem to get Snowpark open much earlier this year than in previous years, though from the web cams doesn’t appear to have full width coverage that it has at its best.  

2 months ago

To wit: the fact that Homerun hadn’t been blown meant their PA Alpine Racing Association giant slalom (run by the Whitetail Ski Education Foundation) couldn’t be held this past weekend. Luckily, Roundtop was able to pick up the event, but it’s a blow to WTSEF as these races are major fundraisers for their host teams.

It’s cool that Whitetail is completely (almost completely?) the Techno Alpin fan guns. Having a homogeneous snowmaking system makes it easier to operate. Some of these guns were moved from Liberty, which replaced them with PoleCat fan guns (the gun of choice at Mount Snow).

But it seems that Peak Resorts (and now Vail) is into a very different snowmaking approach to what SnowTime did over the years. They belive is building big whales, opening runs when things are deep, concentrating capacity on core runs. This makes the runs that do open more resilient to thaws, allowing the resorts to stay open through the all-too-familiar and increasingly frequent thaws and rain events. It works, but it can be bewildering to longtime customers at these resorts.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

songfta wrote:

It’s cool that Whitetail is completely (almost completely?) the Techno Alpin fan guns. Having a homogeneous snowmaking system makes it easier to operate. Some of these guns were moved from Liberty, which replaced them with PoleCat fan guns (the gun of choice at Mount Snow).

But it seems that Peak Resorts (and now Vail) is into a very different snowmaking approach to what SnowTime did over the years. They belive is building big whales, opening runs when things are deep, concentrating capacity on core runs. This makes the runs that do open more resilient to thaws, allowing the resorts to stay open through the all-too-familiar and increasingly frequent thaws and rain events. It works, but it can be bewildering to longtime customers at these resorts.

May not be just former Snowtime ski areas, the approach to what trails to open and how deep to build a base before moving on to other trails has shifted at Massanutten in the past few years.  They started adding automated guns, as well as more portable big fan guns a while back.  Also automated existing pole guns.  From Nov thru Dec 2019, the focus was just on DJ, Southern Comfort, and the expanded teaching area at the base.  Added Lower Showtime eventually, along with Geronimo.  But had to re-start on both (only part of Lower Showtime) more than once before the latest round of 24-hour snowmaking.  Upper Showtime and Paradice opened last week with with full side-to-side coverage.  What I remember is that Upper Showtime and Lower Showtime used to open with 3/4 side-to-side coverage in sections.

one month ago

All resorts on east are going with min 12 inch base. Liberty 90% open RT 90%   They can make a lot of snow. Even just one 24 cycle.

Weather models are all off this year. The basic pattern is mild wet 2-3 days 2 days of decent temps.  Each week 1 to 2 days of snowmake.   Liberty did blow on white lightning .  

if you look at YEAR 2002 it was teh same but not as good of snomaking 

 

one month ago

It looks like the snowmaking window may only be about 24 hours late this week with warm temps through Thurs, two cold days and then warming up again.   I am sure any snowmaking at WT, Liberty, etc. is going to be on building up existing trails which have been so depleted all Winter.   There won’t be any big cold spells for at least the next two weeks and then we are pushing late Feb so even if we get some good cold weather in early March doubt local resorts will want to invest much into additional snowmaking by that point.

Does anyone remember the last time Liberty and WT have not been able to open 100% at any point during the Winter?   We’ve had a number of warm Winters recently, but from what I recall there always had been a few good cold spells for snowmaking during those Winters.   

one month ago

No eastern resort goes through the season thinking that they’ll not open all of their snowmaking terrain. If they don’t get it done it is because of not enough consistent cold and a lot of thaw cycles so that focus is on keeping what they have. IMHO that has been the case here in the Mid-A. Then the last factors late in the season being, is there enough business to justify the expense and also resorts begin to turn in their rented air compressors beginning in March or sooner. 

one month ago

skiracerx wrote:

All resorts on east are going with min 12 inch base. Liberty 90% open RT 90%   They can make a lot of snow. Even just one 24 cycle…. Liberty did blow on white lightning .

 

90 percent is a bit of a tenuous claim for Liberty. In terms of trail name count, sure. In terms of acreage open? Not so much. Lower Strata and White Lightning account for a decent amount of skiable acres on the mountain. And trails that are open aren’t always open to full width. The bottoms of Lower Eastwind and Lower Ultra are getting quite narrow again after the aggressive rain, wind, and warm weather. It’s a tough season.

And yes, they did blow on White Lightning, getting it about 90 percent of the way to covered (or coverable, given the size of the whales they’d built), but then the warm weather hit and… that’s that. They may try to complete the job Thursday night through Sunday morning, but at this point that may be all for nothing. We shall see.

Sure, the snowmaking has improved markedly since the early 2000s. During the last few years of SnowTime ownership, and now with Peak and Vail making the calls, the snowmaking is better. High efficiency fan guns can work wonders, and have kept Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail going.

But the money train for Mid-Atlantic skiing tends to leave the station after President’s Day weekend, so we’ll see how much longer the resorts hold on after Monday. I’m optimistic they’ll try to hold on through early March if the weather is conducive to continued snowmaking, but if the pattern of this winter continues? Well…

one month ago

The webcams are even more depressing today with the continued rain and although there looks to be a short snowmaking window tomorrow into Saturday it will take all the ski places can do to recover some of the base on open trails lost these last two weeks.   I still hold out hope that there will be a cold spell in early March and local places like Liberty and WT will put some effort into snowmaking (though not likely) to have a strong March like they did last year.    

one month ago

I doubt they will open 100%.  Probably will maintain the base trails that have open now.  Time to move up north!

one month ago

I had a rare opportunity to have a day to myself skiing Whitetail last Friday; it was glorious. They were blowing snow all day to catch up. After my legs gave out around 5 pm I went to the bar to have a drink and dinner. That’s right, the BAR at Whitetail! Never thought I’d see the day.

I spoke to a few employees while there and they said if it is not open now it will not be open this year; which makes sense. I also found out that Whitetail has a negotiated electricity rate through February with the local utility company. After that, it is the going rate which would lead one to believe that it gets much more expensive to make snow in March. 

Scott - DCSki Editor
one month ago

I’m guessing next weekend might be the last weekend Whitetail makes snow.  I stopped by this evening and despite the recent snowmaking, conditions were not good at all — very icy, as I describe in my Firsthand Report.  I think conditions might have been better in the morning, but it didn’t look like many people were having fun tonight and a lot of people were skiing out of control.  I left after two runs — it wasn’t worth having someone crash into me.

one month ago

Scott wrote:

I’m guessing next weekend might be the last weekend Whitetail makes snow.  I stopped by this evening and despite the recent snowmaking, conditions were not good at all — very icy, as I describe in my Firsthand Report.  I think conditions might have been better in the morning, but it didn’t look like many people were having fun tonight and a lot of people were skiing out of control.  I left after two runs — it wasn’t worth having someone crash into me.

Liberty was pretty decent today… we were there from around 11-8 and there was some icy spots popping up late in the day, but still was very carvable 

one month ago

Whitetail was great last Thursday, mid-day. They were making snow all morning but not with all the blowers and turned off everything around 1 pm. Too bad it got all icy by last night. If they can make snow again next weekend it should get nice again for at least a little while.

one month ago

I was up there today (Monday Feb 24th). For what they had open, the conditions were good - better in the morning than at lunch time as it was 55 degrees by then and everything softened up. Some trails more than others. Bold Decision had the best conditions throughout the day. 

To follow up on my original post from one month ago…no they never did get Farside, Homerun, or Stalker open. As I stated before, not getting Homerun open resulted in everyone getting funneled into the terrain park if you were coming over from the expert side or if they skied down Angel Drop. I avoided the weekends this year for this reason as what I saw on the webcams coming down from the terrain park was ridiculous - 20+ skiers (just on the lower slope) coming down to the base area in one screen shot. No thanks. 

The bigger issue was not opening Farside. Not opening it meant that there were no bumps on Exhibition for the whole year. They had to groom Exhibition every night because if they didn’t then anyone who wanted to ski on the expert side and hates bumps would only have the choice of skiing Bold Decision. Depending on conditions that can either be an OK thing or not. 

I just wonder if Snowtime still owned Whitetail, would they have made the effort to get the whole hill open. I guess we’ll never know. This is the first time in 10 years that I didn’t buy a season pass. Between the warm winter, tons of rain, and increase in season pass price, I’m really glad that I didn’t. 

 

 

one month ago

Have no idea why they never tried to get Home Run open with Angel Drop being the most used trail from that lift.   It would seem to make more sense to try and open HR before one of the three of Fanciful, Limelight and Snow Dancer to take some of the pressure off of Lower Angel Drop.    

 

ksampson3 wrote:

I was up there today (Monday Feb 24th). For what they had open, the conditions were good - better in the morning than at lunch time as it was 55 degrees by then and everything softened up. Some trails more than others. Bold Decision had the best conditions throughout the day. 

To follow up on my original post from one month ago…no they never did get Farside, Homerun, or Stalker open. As I stated before, not getting Homerun open resulted in everyone getting funneled into the terrain park if you were coming over from the expert side or if they skied down Angel Drop. I avoided the weekends this year for this reason as what I saw on the webcams coming down from the terrain park was ridiculous - 20+ skiers (just on the lower slope) coming down to the base area in one screen shot. No thanks. 

The bigger issue was not opening Farside. Not opening it meant that there were no bumps on Exhibition for the whole year. They had to groom Exhibition every night because if they didn’t then anyone who wanted to ski on the expert side and hates bumps would only have the choice of skiing Bold Decision. Depending on conditions that can either be an OK thing or not. 

I just wonder if Snowtime still owned Whitetail, would they have made the effort to get the whole hill open. I guess we’ll never know. This is the first time in 10 years that I didn’t buy a season pass. Between the warm winter, tons of rain, and increase in season pass price, I’m really glad that I didn’t. 

 

 

 

one month ago

I’m pretty sure homerun is the last trail with the old blue fan guns. In the past limelight has been the last blue to open, but they replaced all the fan guns on limelight over the summer. 
I think farside might be in a similar situation where both expedition and bold decision have newer snowmaking and it makes more sense to put the effort on the more efficient equipment.
 

I don’t think snowtime had anything to do with choices they made this year… a few years ago liberty and whitetail opened after New Years and closed before March… making deeper bases on fewer trails just makes sense given the weather patterns of the last few seasons. Even snowshoe has some trails that probably won’t open this year (sawmill) 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago

rbrtlav wrote:

I’m pretty sure homerun is the last trail with the old blue fan guns. In the past limelight has been the last blue to open, but they replaced all the fan guns on limelight over the summer. 
I think farside might be in a similar situation where both expedition and bold decision have newer snowmaking and it makes more sense to put the effort on the more efficient equipment.
 

I don’t think snowtime had anything to do with choices they made this year… a few years ago liberty and whitetail opened after New Years and closed before March… making deeper bases on fewer trails just makes sense given the weather patterns of the last few seasons. Even snowshoe has some trails that probably won’t open this year (sawmill) 

Massanutten has also focused on building base and keeping core trails open.  Upper and Lower MakAttack have not seen any snowmaking action.  Won’t be the first time in the last decade that they haven’t opened all season.  Easy to see on the webcam when they had to do a complete re-start on Geronimo after every warm spell (daytime temps over 50).

Adding automated snowguns and adding automation to older guns made quite a difference at Mnut.  Especially after the water supply was enhanced significantly.  But still need the cold temps.

one month ago

I went to Whitetail today, most likely for my last turns of the season with my son. We were not the first chair but a close second and clicked into our skies by 8:15am. The conditions for the first 2-3 hours were fantastic. Around 11am the sun and warm temperatures turned it to a soft, wet nightmare.  Kinda of like skiing on mashed potatoes. The crowds really were not bad for a weekend.

I spoke to a few different employees. Most said two more weekends but one stated next weekend will probably be the last. As always it really depends on the weather; which currently does not look good.

On a possitive note, I did convince my teenage son to spend the day with his old man :) Here is to hoping for a better season next year.

one month ago

As of 2/28 rumor was that WT had 200 hours left in the snowmaking budget and would blow at night on open trails when possible. Rumor has it the “Vail guy” wasn’t happy about trails that weren’t open. Replacing the last of the original snowmaking pipe has priority, but trails without fan guns will soon be history. WT did blow some piles on Homerun early but Mom Nature had other plans.

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