Pros: Best vertical in East, scenic runs, history
Cons: Icy and cold
Cloudspin Lounge and Black Diamond Burrito Bar
GOOD, BETTER, BEST
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|Snow making percent||98%|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet||1|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad||1|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person|
|Lifts-Total number of lifts||11|
|Lifts-Total lift capacity|
|Runs-Longest run||2.1 miles|
|General-Annual skier visits|
|General-Back country access|
|General-Total area in bounds||283 acres|
|General-Snow making coverage|
Pros: Best vertical in East, scenic runs, history
Cons: Icy and cold
Pros: Tons of vertical, true steep trails, the Slides, Lake Placid, tons of other stuff to do
Cons: Cold, sometimes icy and windy
I have been skiing at Whiteface since I was in high school in the early '80s. It a true skiers mountain. Not a lot of fluff about it. The blues at Whiteface are as hard as the blacks at many resorts. The Gondola makes a nice short ride to the top of Little Whiteface from where you can access some tricky blacks - Essex or Approach - or take an easier way down - Excelsior - a great cruising blue with a couple steeper pitches. When the sky are clear the views from the top of both Little Whiteface and Whiteface are amazing.
For the hardest terrain you take the Summit Quad to the top of Whiteface. From there you can access the Slides by hiking up from the top of the list - true tree skiing that even can involve a frozen waterfall. Or you can ski the downhill runs from the 1980 Olympic games. When standing at the top of Skyward or Cloudspin it's hard to think how good those skiers must have been to point them and go.
There's no reason not to bring the kids though as there is a separate Kid's Campus area. The instructors are supposed to be fantastic with getting the little ones up and going using a direct to parallel teaching method.
A few year's back the mountain opened another area - Lookout Mountain - to the right of Whiteface. The Wilmington Trail is a nice 2.1 mile blue that winds along the edge of the mountain. Hoyt's High is another difficult black if you want a good challenge.
The food at the mountain is very good and reasonably priced for a resort. The chili is absolutely fantastic - in fact almost worth the 5 hour drive from my house good! And the breakfast food in the base lodge - served cafeteria style - is so good we'll forget the sit down breakfast we can get in the hotel and head straight to the mountain every morning.
Lake Placid is a quaint Adirondack village although it does still have a '80s feel to it. There are fantastic restaurants that abound at varying price points. You can skate on the speed skating oval where Eric Heiden won his five gold medals which is right on Main Street in front of the Lake Placid High School. I've been there before when they've had a bonfire going in the middle of the oval, a stage setup with a band playing and sledding hill for the kids - all during the evening.
The area also has a bobsled track - a must ride for sure. It was better than the best roller coaster I've ever been on. A visit to the Winter Olympic museum is in order as well as a trip to the top of the ski jumps.
All in all Whiteface and Lake Placid has something to offer everyone!
Pros: Vertical, Expert Terrain, Beginner Area, Views
Cons: Cold and Icy
Largest vertical in the east, iciest in the east, one of the hardest in the east, and who could not forget the slides. Whiteface offers expert skiers terrain that is truly like nothing else in the east. The slides are the centerpiece for most experts looking to test their abilites. Sadly, the slides are only open few days a year and you need an avalanche probe and a shovel just for the patrol to let you to experience it! Even though Whiteface is renowned for its expert terrain, the beginner area, at the bottom of the mountain, is perfect for new skiers starting out. Also, the long blue cruisers like the wilmington trail cater to intermediate skiers very well. I have skied Whiteface only a few times but, I can say that in the last 5 years it has had few skiers, hard terrain, and massive amounts of ice (it is nicknamed Iceface). I would definitely recommend this mountain to all levels of skiers and I would advise all skiers to realize the extreme difficulty in the terrain due to the extensive amount of ice that litters almost every trail.
Pros: Big, for the East; High speed gondola and lots of good chairlifts; Great apreski lodge and a fun town; That 1980 Olympics vibe
Cons: That 1980 Olympics vibe; Can be icy like every other mountain in the East
Whiteface holds a sweet spot in my heart. When I was a student at Cornell my friends and I would make the drive up to Whiteface a few times a year. We would rent a bunkhouse in the area that was most definitely a youth hostel in 1980 (see 1980 Olympics vibe, both pro and con). It is great for a bunch of college kids, +/- 10 years. We kept the tradition alive post-college when we were all living in NYC.
Whiteface is a sizeable mountain for the East Coast. It has enough terrain to keep an advanced skier entertained for a day. Two days is pushing it. It is wonderful for beginning skiers and families. The lodge at the bottom of the mountain is 1980-fabulous and has a great DJ and live bands after the ski day. It is incredibly fun. Whiteface has updated lift equipment and a great high-speed gondola that takes you to the top of the mountain. It has good variation of terrain, with steep groomed, steep ungroomed, backwoods skiing, and easy stuff.
The town is also charming. I imagine it would be possible to stay in a nice inn there, and have a sweet ski weekend away with your significant other. That was not my experience in Whiteface, but I can see how it is possible.
Definitely a stellar option for those out East.
Pros: Steep and Fast or Mellow and Easy, Child Friendly, You will learn to love "Eastern Hard Pack Snow" Carved Wood Bears under Chair 6.
Cons: Little "turtle shells" of granite poke through surface here and there. Sometimes can be cold and windy.
My family has vacationed at Whiteface every year for the past 25 or so and we have never been disappointed. It's changed a little in that time by opening a new face but the charm and ambiance has remained. Neither my 5 year old or her mother had any trouble descending from the summit to the base and there are opportunities on the way down to short circuit the blue squares with a black diamond that allows more advanced skiers to briefly stretch their legs and then wait until their more timid companions catch up to them at the lower intersection....win win. Conditions can be described as Classic Eastern, with occasional patches of what many Western skiers mistakenly call ice. Those of us who grew up in skiing the east know that you can usually see fish through real ice, the frozen covering that is on an Adirondack mountain slope is called "eastern hard pack snow"
Night Clubbers will be somewhat disappointed by the after hours activity in town but the Cloud Spin bar in the main lodge usually has some acceptable apre ski. Across the street from the speed skating oval in Lake Placid is the Fireside Restaurant, home of the finest veal parmigiana and garlic mashed potatoes that I've ever had. We hit it every year (sometimes twice).
Pros: VERTICAL and time on the mountain vs on the lift line.
Cons: ice / lack of glades. it cant get icy . Nightlife is non existant. parking could be better
I love whiteface. I love the amount of time i spend on the trails vs in the gondala or waiting for it. The lifts move fast and if its presidents weekend stick to lookout mountain or the summit when it gets busy. but it never gets killington busy. I love the challenging steep terrian and the views.
the natural snowfall/ wind can be annoying. Glades wont be as great as say a gore mountain or a tremblant. when it is windy and things ice up if you stick to the narrower trails they will be better.
this is not a fun nightlife place, no clubs, just a few bars and not a bumping local crowd. Lake placid can have marginally better nightlife.
Pros: good vertical, quick lines, great views, steep long trails
Cons: not very diverse width wise
Whiteface is a no frills place, but lake placid is a very very nice town, and there is a nice bar at the main lodge, and it has everything that's needed. Some people may prefer other places like Killington and Gore because of the easier to access variety, and the layout may force people down certain trails to not ski more difficult trails. The skiing is excellent.
Pros: High vert. Good grooming. No phony village at base
Cons: Can be windy. Could use more runs.
I'd say this is my favourite Eastern mountain... nudging past Le Massif when they built the Lookout Mountain pod.
If you like cruising LONG runs, there isn't much that comes close on this side of the Mississippi. The views from the summit are incredible. When I'm up there I feel like I'm on top of the world. I've actually spotted Mount Washington, two states over from the summit.
My take is that the snowmaking upgrades over the last 10 years have made the Iceface moniker obsolete. Its never been icy save for the odd patch here and there. I'm always able to get a solid edge in on Skyward and Cloudspin, which are some of the steepest longest runs in the East- These runs formed the upper half of the men's and women's downhills at the 1980 Olympics.
This might be a con to some, but I really like how Whiteface is in the middle of the wilderness, with almost no development at the base. The 10-15 drive from Lake Placid every morning is a joy, given the spectacular scenery of the rock cliffs, the Ausable river, and the High Peaks all around.
The town of Lake Placid is my family's favourite spot to go (though we usually go in the summer). The village is great, with all the pubs, shops, and hotels overlooking Mirror Lake, with Whiteface in the distance.
Unfortunately, due to state regulations, Whiteface has pretty much maxed out its trail count. Thats too bad, because there's a lot of uncut terrain that would be pretty awesome to ski/board. As is I'd say its perfect for a 2-3 day trip. Gore Mountain is about an hour down the road, which is an option for extended trips... especially since with tired Whiteface legs, the shorter Gore runs are a welcome break. Though its a subject of great debate, this reviewer finds Whiteface vastly superior to Gore... as I'm all about the vertical!
Being advanced level, I'd say the best runs to hit are the above mentioned Skyward and Cloudspin, Parkway, Thruway, and Mountain Run. For ungroomed, there's Empire, MacKenzie and Lookout Below. Hoyt's High has never been open when I'm there, but now that it has snowmaking, it looks like that could change this year. From the lift, it looks incredible.
For high-beginners to intermediate the best run is probably Excelsior. The blue runs off the summit are nice, but could be wind exposed. As well, the entire lower mountain is an intermediates paradise. For a higher intermediate, the Wilmington Trail is a LONG blue trail that gives you views to the north that no other trail on the mountain does.
For true beginners, theres the family section off the Bunny Hutch Triple. Its pretty short vert, so if you're a true beginner, with no ambition to check out some blues, Whiteface may not be a good fit. That said, Lake Placid is a great enough town, that the true beginner could be kept busy with offhill activities.
Pros: The terrain, Lake Placid
Cons: Ice, Wind, cold
For some reason I never end up having a god ski day here but I will keep trying. For some other strange reason I always have a great ski day at Gore? Both places would benefit from having a half dozen more "huge dumps" per season but then again which mountain doesn't.
Lake Placid is a great town with lots to do, especially for families. I still get choked up in the Rink when I see the pictures of Herb Brooks and the boys.
Pros: Steep and good verticle
Cons: icy, cold, fog, freezing rain, variable conditions. Not very big.
I go there once a year to ski with my buddies. They go almost every weekend. The terrain can be pretty icy on top and variable down lower. Don't bring your fat skis. A good midfat that can handle ice is perfect. The weather can vary as I worte under "cons".
I think vermont is better. The verticle feet is 3100 lift served but its only 220 acres so its not wide.
It will challenge you. And, I agree with the other reviewer who said the blues are not easier blues.
I have a good time wherever I ski, but, this place is not my favorite and certainly not worth 5 stars.