Warming Up to Whiteface

Whiteface elicits a lot of passion from skiers from both sides; some thrive on the unique and challenging terrain, while others make up the group responsible for the notorious nickname “Iceface.”

Rational or not, until recently I fell into the second group. After my collision with a tree at Stratton in December, I’ve developed a newfound skittishness on firm surfaces.

I’m relatively new to skiing, I started in 2015. I love skiing fast, but slick surfaces force me to make skidded turns on skis that never seem sharp enough. When I encounter sporty conditions, I tend to end my day early, once the corduroy is gone and the loose granular gets pushed down the slopes.

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Whiteface Slides Tour

When the Slides are in play, I try to arrive early, just to be sure. Still in the end, all that really matters is where you are when they drop the access ropes.

Summit-Patrol-Hut

I was coming solo to Whiteface hoping to enjoy the Slides for a third time. To improve my odds, I contacted the mountain and asked if I could ski with a Mountain Host.

I’d skied with a Mountain Host once before, in December a few years back. I was told at that time that many of the hosts really like skiing with guests. They do seem to enjoy it.

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Whiteface Slides Open for Lunch

I was at work on Monday when I saw the images of the earliest opening of the Whiteface Slides that I can recall. I was hungry to return to some of my favorite terrain and determined to get to the mountain for a run during my lunch break on Tuesday.

Whiteface Slides Open

When I arrived I heard that The Slides weren’t open, so I left my beacon in my locker. When I got to summit I saw that they were open. I booked back down to the base, grabbed my Ortovox and shot back up to the top.

As I was riding the lift, I watched a cloud socking in the summit and had just about talked myself out of going in alone in low visibility. Thankfully, when I arrived at the top there were a couple guys headed in and I asked to tag along. I passed Patrol’s beep test and headed in.

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