This weekend just past, I had the opportunity to visit the infamous 'Iceface,' Whiteface Mountain, in Wilmington, NY, near Lake Placid.
It has one of the largest vertical drops of mountains in North America (only beaten by the stuff out West) at 3400 feet. The summit wasn't open yet, as it is still early season, but even from the Little Whiteface, it's 2500 feet of vertical till you get to the base lodge.
Roughly 20 trails were open by the end of the day on Sunday, and aside from the green stuff open near the lodge, I tried to ski all of it.
Saturday: We had 30-35 degrees, with a constant light snow falling all day. The snow was soft on the mountain, though a bit thin near the top of the gondola, with small stones poking through. One of our group took a nice hit, possibly a core shot, to his snowboard. I got some scratches along the bottom of my skis, but nothing too serious. I only lament that I don't think I'll get a chance to get them tuned till after this weekend.
Sunday: The temperature dropped, and the sun came out. It was in the upper teens, and no clouds, except for the guns, in sight. The trails had been groomed, and one area that had huge bumps was now hardpack. Because it had not been too wet, we didn't really encounter the famed ice of Whiteface, and in area where the guns were blowing, it was actually really soft man made powder. The conditions provided for some really fast skiing.
On Saturday, I spent most of my time on Approach into Mountain Run, and Excelsior into John's Bypass and Victoria's Run. Due to the poor visibility on Saturday, no one could see that the entrance to John's Bypass was open, and the trail was empty as could be, and had plenty of snow.
The open black runs, except for Essex, were super soft, and bumpy, and despite my relative newness to skiing, I felt confident going down those runs, though I went slow.
Sunday saw more crowds, but the majority of people were still only skiing down Excelsior. From what I was told, some of the snow on Essex was skied off, and it was icy in spots. Mountain Run also had some icy patches, making it tad hairy, though I was very proud of myself for not falling when I found myself suddenly sliding down 5 feet of ice after coming off a whale sized mogul.
Overall, I was very impressed by the trails I skied on Whiteface, and definitely want to return during the winter, when the mountain has more trails open, and I can go to the summit.
The video below is a Gondola to Base Lodge run on my Hero 4 black.