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Does Whitetail plan to fully open this year?
12 posts from 9 users
Updated 3 days ago
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21 days 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?

21 days 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 

21 days 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.

20 days 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.  

20 days 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.

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20 days 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.

5 days 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 

 

5 days 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.   

5 days 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. 

4 days 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…

3 days 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.    

3 days ago

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

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