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Whitecap opinions?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Did a search on this and didn't find very much, so here goes:

I'm taking chance this year, and taking my family up to Whitecap for part of spring break week. I skied Whitecap in high school and LOVED it, mainly for the quality and quantity of the lake-effect snow, and I liked the hill layout, too. It didn't have the hill specs of Lutsen, but the snow was way better.

Any recent opinions on this area?

I spose I could have asked earlier, but I found an opening and went for it. Whitecap doesn't get anywhere near the advertising press that Lutsen or the UP areas do. Hope it'll be worth the trip!

Thanks for any input, even if I might not want to hear it...

post #2 of 15
Are you going for more than one day? If so, Indianhead, Blackjack and Powderhorn are all close. I would suggest a day at each. My personal favorite is Blackjack. It is not as big as the others, but I like the sustained fall line better than the "steep - flat - steep - flat" characteristic of many of the others.

It has been several years since I have been at these, but I do remember the slow (1950 vintage) chairlifts. Be ready for the peak to peak chair center pole chair at Whitecap, a thrill in itself.
post #3 of 15
Ahh Whitecap - the first place I ever had a season pass and the place I learned how to really ski! I still remember the lifties - drunken toothless Mike the laid-off carnie at South Pole, the burned-out ex-professor in the scarey Elephant Man head-bag on the frontside, the skunky smelling trapper at Weber Lake. I remember gapers trying to straight-run the bottom of Dragon and getting eaten alive by the compression at the bottom and the peak-to-peak lift - the scariest lift in the midwest. I remember when the owner drove a brand new groomer thru the ice of Weber Lake. Good times.

I haven't been there for ages, but Whitecap always had way more charactor (+ more lake effect) then all the other UP places and Lutsen combined.

WCHC Rules!
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input.

Jer, I love hearing about the gritty reminiscences like that. "Toothless carnie" -- isn't that redundant? I thought they were ALL toothless! A groomer going through the ice, awesome. My last time there was in about 1979, so I don't remember the operators very well. I was there with a youth group, and I remember we stayed in a place that resembled a falling down shed. We stayed warm, tho. Hope the Whitecap lodge doesn't look like that!

skugrud -- I've got a package deal that includes 3 days of lifts for the whole family, so I will probably ski all three days at Whitecap. If the Whitecap tickets don't expire, maybe we'll save one and try one or more of the Big Snow three (Indianhead/Blackjack/Powderhorn). You can get a park-hopper pass for those, too, and ski all three in a day.

After we get back I'll type a quick report on Whitecap if anyone is interested.


post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
WCHC Rules!
Uh, BTW, what is the WCHC?

post #6 of 15
hey scottie61

I'm from just south of superior, we are thinking about going to whitecap for the day sat or sun provided we don't get snowed in by the big evil approching blizzard that I'm sure is going to amount to a very intimidating 2 to 3 inches. so if we go I'll post a TR. we went to Indianhead last sat got about 6in of light fresh in the morning, all runs had plenty of coverage and in wonderful shape, the whole family had a blast and I love the retro feel of Inianhead. We hated the layout you have to pole to much to ge from area to area and the "steep - flat - steep - flat" that skugrud mentioned is a pain. over all I'd go back and I would definatly go to Big Snow country before I'd go back to the money grubing Lutsen area.
post #7 of 15

Whitecap & Expert 200 cm ski sign photos wanted

Scottie61, Iceworm and others,

Please post up photos from Whitecap (steep runs - entrance & exit views, lifts especially the tall tower where it felt like you were 50-75 feet or more off the ground, lodge, groomer equipment sheds, etc.).

I learned how to ski at Whitecap a long time ago and would love to see what it looks like now. I remember riding one lift which had a few tall lift towers and thinking it was a long way to the ground.

I also remember one of the steep runs had a sign at the entrance "Experts only 200 cm skis or longer". Does anyone remember the name of that run? Does anyone have an old photo of a sign like this which specified minimum ski length that they could scan in and post here? Where did you ski runs with signs like that (specify resort and run if easily recalled)?

Somehow I vaguely recall that there were sheep penned up near one of the groomer equipment sheds. Does anyone else recall that?

I also remember going to Hurley/Ironwood after skiing to eat a pasty at one of the local pasty shops. I hear that there even is a Pasty Fest in July in Calumet, MI.
post #8 of 15
If I remember correctly, Schwartzwald (riders right off the frontside lift) had a sign stating "190+ skis only" at the top. Whitecap is the only place I've ever seen a sign like this. Nearly all their runs were named after places in Europe. I skied there a lot from (I think) '89 to '93. Pretty much only skied four runs the whole time - St.George, Southern Cross, Dragon (the southside runs) and Grenoble (Granola) on the frontside. I still have a pair of mogul skis from that period - with big sections of edge missing and no original base material left. Whitecap was one rocky place! No photos - just memories.

Pasties are too gnarly for me.

WCHC = WhiteCap Hard Core (or Corps)
post #9 of 15
we got back from Whitecap last night and on final reflection it was a good day of skiing and that's all I and I would suspect most of us ask of a ski area.

the best way i can think to describe whitecap is imagin if a spaceship scoped up a ski resort in 1985 and returned it to earth about 2 weeks ago giving the owners a little bit of time to spruce things up but not much, and giving the visiter time to change clothes but not enough time to update equipment or ski gear (lots of neon, and more straight skis then I've seen in years).

the lodge is a couple of A-frames conected together with a bar/resturant/rental in the basement and a shop/day lodge upstairs, we saw a few familys with crock pots pluged in witch was something I haven't seen a resort allow in a long time, other familys had cotton tablecloths and wine w/long stem glasses. so it was a real eclectic group and kind of a cool vibe in the day lodge. rentals are $22.00 a day for the equipment they had at the time the spaceship scooped them up. I wuold suggest renting in ironwood if you need to rent.

the slopes are layed out kind of nice and there is a lot of different tails to explore, whitecaps claim to having three mountains is a little more than optomistic on their part, but they do have a lot of differant exposures, the wind was blowing 20-30mph yesterday so we were able to spend to most of our time on the back/south side of thunderhead mnt where we were sheltered from the wind. I did ride across the peak to peak chair, that is a trip to remember, it feels like your a good 100ft in the air and with the wind we had I was holding on real tight.

I would suggest visiting the wine hut at the bottom of thunderhead mnt by weber lake, nice hot cider w/cinnomom shnopes.

again overall a good day of skiing but I'm not sure that I wouldn't get bored after the first fay or two and have to take a 10-15 min drive over to BigSnow country.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
iceworm -- thanks for the input. I've been wondering about Whitecap. They don't seem to know how to market themselves. You hear a lot about the Big Snow resorts, and no one even knows Whitecap is there.

Well, next week the family and I will be doing the time warp again.


post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by Scottie61 View Post
They don't seem to know how to market themselves.
It's always been that way - they either don't know or don't care. Whitecap's where I learned how to really ski - on the south side runs you either learn to ski wierd stuff or you end up in the hospital. Whitecap's also where I got an appreciation for hiking - poaching blown-in powder on the south side before they had the chair running. Glad to hear they haven't changed.
post #12 of 15
Originally Posted by Scottie61 View Post
They don't seem to know how to market themselves. You hear a lot about the Big Snow resorts, and no one even knows Whitecap is there.
Had a NICE powder day there in January and hope to return. Fresh powder lines all day long and zero lift lines. Couldn't ask for more.

But the "don't know how to market" comment sure rings true. A sign on Highway 2 would be a good start. And stickers like every other resort gives out to put on cars, helmets or skis. This is basic stuff - it's like the owners don't want anyone to know it exists or how to get there.
post #13 of 15
Did they ever light up the sign on highway #77? Did they ever move the rockpile for the golf course that was at the bottom of one of the runs? Did you ever see anyone on the ski patrol? Good rentals available at Hobby Wheel in Ironwood and at Big Sno Outfitters in Bessemer- both located along the south side of U.S. #2. It could be good at Whitecap if they ever get it finished.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

Back from Whitecap

Well, we just got back, and overall, had a good time.

A couple issues, but nothing major.

I'll repost tomorrow with details, and if anyone is interested, post some pictures.

Pretty tired from the drive -- G'Nite!


Trip report here
post #15 of 15
pictures - YES please post
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