Well it's an awfully late start to the season, but this past week was finally cold and some of the mid-Atlantic places were able to at least partially open. After watching intently all week to make sure the rain was going to hold off, I decided to do Whitetail on Friday, and Massanutten on Saturday.
Day 1 - Whitetail (Friday)
I headed up to Whitetail early, and walked up to this view of no one there yet :
They start the lifts at 8 for season pass holders, and 8:30 for everyone else... I think I was 2nd chair of the non-pass holders. As you can probably tell in the pic, it was foggy... and would get foggier a bit later in the day. I've never skied in fog, and it wasn't too bad. But I did stop a couple of times to kind of get my bearing and make sure I was heading the right way.
Whitetail had 3 runs open, 1 long green (Sidewinder), and 2 of the blues off the HSQ (Angel Drop and Fanciful). Once up top on any of the runs it was a bit soupy. Here's the top of Sidewinder (and the blues were a bit worse).
The pic makes it look worse than it was, though it was pretty foggy and froze to my goggles. Eventually I ditched them and skied without them, as it wasn't too cold.
Whitetail was also having a demo day, which was a pretty big event. There were about 15 tents including some brand specific ones, and $30 lift tickets. (There seemed to be a lot of big boards out there, on a typical man-made icy, slushy day. Don't tell anyone in the "Tyranny of Fat" or "Overselling Wide Skis" threads, or I think some heads may explode. )
I didn't participate in the demo day, as this was only my third time on my current skis that I bought last year, so I figured I'd get used to them first.
I also met up with @marznc for a lot of the day, and she was there for the demo too. Here she is on some Dynastars :
We also met up with @Jamesj, and @Laurel Hill Crazie for a couple of runs after lunch. Great to meet some more bears... but by that time I was toast, and as I was skiing the next day, I didn't want to push it. I'm sure I'll be skiing with them again, probably at either the Aspen Gathering or the mid-Atlantic Gathering.
Overall, Whitetail never got too busy... no real liftlines to speak of by 2:30 when I left. This was the bottom of Angel Drop at the HSQ (Whitetail Express) lift mid-morning :
And the bottom of the other two open runs where they merge :
Day 2 - Massanutten (today, Saturday)
Today I drove down to Massanutten, on another foggy day. Not quite as much fog at Massanutten as at Whitetail, but in spots at the top. It was also a demo day at M'nut, though a much smaller one. And they had their main blue (Showtime) and one of the black (Diamond Jim) runs open.
I again met up with @marznc at her home hill, and today I did a little demo'ing for the first time ever. Per this beginner demo'ing thread - http://www.epicski.com/t/142999/what-is-a-demo-day-for-skis-a-beginner-zone-thread - I got to answer a few of my own questions, and it was fun to try several different skis.
The demo tent was from Freestyle Ski and Board shop, out of Charlottesville, VA :
I wound up trying four different pair - Rossi E80's in two different lengths, K2 Ikonics, and Rossi Heros. It was interesting to feel the difference - the K2's I actually liked especially (I'm an intermediate) and the Hero's were harder to hook-up/get the edge to engage, I thought. The E80's were pretty similar to my Atomic Nomads.
Here are a couple of pics from while we were demo'ing. This is riding lift 4 up to the bottom of lift 6 (serving the black run - Diamond Jim) where the demo tent was. The bottom of the slope on the right is Diamond Jim. The slope on the left is the blue Showtime.
And here's a view of lift 6 and the bottom of Diamond Jim around 11 AM, with fog in evidence and the lights on.
After demo'ing, and after lunch, I joined an advanced beginner/intermediate clinic that marznc was able to hook me up with (thanks a bunch!!!) and I was the only person who showed up. So I got a 1.5 hour private lesson instead!!! That was fun, and hopefully helpful, and afterward it was time to head home.
All in all... a great start to the season. Now we need more cold weather!