West Mountain: Wing It and Ring It

If you’re a New York skier, I don’t need to tell you that winter has been uninspiring so far. In spite of the valiant efforts of snowmakers across the northeast, there is a pitifully small amount of terrain open for us to slide on. We have been reminded once again that weather is destiny for skiers.

West Mountain Welcome Bear
The West Mountain Welcome Bear

To make matters worse, I don’t have a ton of flexibility, schedule wise. Most of the time I can only do day trips and I need to fit them in whenever I have the time to go.

By the end of December I was getting desperate. When a window opened for me and both my boys to go skiing on the last day of the year, there was no question that we would take advantage of it. I researched our Indy Pass options.

West Mountain base area

After weighing the pros and cons of different hills and all of the external pulls on our time, I decided West Mountain would be our choice. Danger Boy wanted to be home for an afternoon football game and Junior wanted Ted’s Fish Fry for lunch. We agreed to get up early and leave at lunch time. It would be almost five hours of driving for maybe four hours skiing, but that’s how it goes some times.

The morning went as planned. We pulled into West’s parking lot at nine o’clock. The hill was shrouded in fog; there was no evidence of snow anywhere but on the trails.

The base area was humming with activity. West had two lifts running, both fixed grip triples. One served the beginners’ slope so there was only one way to the top. We booted up in the mud, processed our Indy passes at the outdoor window and hauled our skis to the snow.

skier
Danger Boy

The beginner lift had no line so jumped on for our first run. The snow was soft and deep enough that we weren’t seeing any rocks or mud underneath. With the warmup run done, we hopped on the West Express, a triple with a conveyor loader at the bottom. The small line moved quickly; in a few seconds we were in the cloud.

At the top, we broke out of the fog and were treated to a beautiful view of horizon, with just a bit of blue sky between the high cumulus and a thick layer of cottony fog filling the valley below. We had to choose from two ways down. We went with the easier route to start, upper holy mackerel.

West Mountain patrol shack

Coverage was wall to wall and deep on the open trails. Except at a few choke points on the switchbacks, there was plenty of room for everybody. We just did our best not to stop in those spots and enjoyed the pliable surface.

By the time we reached the top for our third run, the clouds had engulfed the peak. We turned left to take the black run. I reminded the boys to ski the edge of the trees for better depth perception.

Ted's Fish Fry

Everybody did great. That’s how the day went. We spent most of our time skiing on the switchbacks with a few steeper runs interspersed for variety.

We stuck to our schedule and, after hitting the Clifton Park Ted’s Fish Fry for a late lunch, we made our way south in time for the football game. West Mountain has done a good job of salvaging a hard weather situation, they deserve credit. I was just grateful to be skiing. Like I said before, I was desperate.


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9 comments on “West Mountain: Wing It and Ring It

  1. Ted’s! Nice writeup brownski. Had a pass there years ago and it was great for night turns. I lived in Saratoga Springs at the time so it was an easy 25 minute ride up there.

  2. After driving past West Mountain for years, I was excited to see that it had been added to the Indy pass. (I am always looking for places to hit on the way back to NJ from the club I belong to in Granville, VT.) I went with my daughter and her boyfriend after our first two days at Bolton Valley and Killington. There were not too many trails open, but the Cure off the top was really nice (and pretty steep). The place was packed with kids hitting every jump they could find, and the West Mountain Racing Team running the gates off the shorter lift. Even though there were kids everywhere, the lift line was quick. A quick peek at the menu board revealed decent prices (we had lunch the day before at the Peak Lodge in Killington…yikes), and my daughter said the chicken fingers were the best she’d ever had at a ski lodge. I am looking forward to hitting it a second time when they have more trails open.

  3. West is gem. Stopped a few years back to break up a long drive to N. VT and had a blast night skiing.

  4. I think the best part of your day was going to Ted’s! West is nice for some mid-week night turns, but I prefer Willard for that these days as the prices at West have risen sharply. They are pouring money into building West into a resort, I’ll be very curious to see how that plays out in the near future.

  5. Been eyeballing West Mtn on my way home from Gore for many years. Stopped in for the first time last year. What a gem! although a bit disappointed some really cool looking trails were closed off for racing when I went. Excited they are now on the Indy Pass. Definitely looking forward to going back.

  6. It’s such a nice hill, and I haven’t been back since the new chair. It’s always bittersweet when I pass it at night going south – great to see it all lit up but sad to know I am leaving the mountains again.

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