Mike RothBy Mike Roth  12/14/07 Early Season- From Depression To Joy

In the fall the start of the season seemed pretty depressing, with warm weather into late October and early November. It becomes very hard to think skiing no matter how optimistic the avid skier may be. The past couple years have been a bust for the ski season although there were few good days. As winter approaches we start to think a great ski season, and this year for me is no exception. There are plans already to go to Austria in late January.

Hopefully Europe will get snow?

Last year it was questionable but as it turned out it snowed a couple days and there was some pretty decent snowmaking, thus making the trip on of the special ones on the list of many trips that I have gone on. However the weather everywhere is a big concern, whether it is global warming or not you have to admit that for the past few years there has been more severe weather that you can shake a stick at, with the wildfires in CA. to earthquakes, to tornados to hurricanes and tsunamis there has been so many more than I can remember than in the past. Global warming, no one knows but there is something going on up there and Mother Nature is playing havoc with us.

As the weather changes or opportunity to ski close to home here in the northeast, the more we will have to think about traveling further for the weekend. Then again we in the capital district are spoiled since a day trip for us makes skiing qa deal as compare to having to stay overnight..

 Now that December has rolled around I am now in the mood to write in the blog. Mother nature has started to co-operate with the ski areas and produce some cold weather to produce snow and better yet has produced some good dumps of snow to get a good start on the early skiing season.

The first week of December, I skied at Whiteface for 2 days. The skiing was fantastic, especially for early season. There were very few people there since it was on the weekday and very few trails to ski. Basically, Excelsior was open from top to bottom, almost 2500 feet of vertical. Since it was winter conditions, with a good cold wind blowing riding the gondola was a treat. The trail had plenty of snow, both man-made and natural and the skiing was fantastic. (I know I said that before, but it warrants repetition). Remember there was no snow in the capital district at that point. There were 2 other trails open Lower Cloudspin and Northway both with guns blaring and plenty of snow that you did not mind putting up with the noise.


Top of Whiteface on Excelsior 11/29/07                                                                              Photo by Mike Roth

The Lake Placid area was a winter wonderland with many winter activities for the family to do including and not limited to a very fast bobsled ride, which I took on the new bobsled track.

I might also add that Whiteface Mountain is not in Lake Placid; it is about 8 miles from the town and actually is in the Town of Wilmington. If you are looking to stay over and ski most of the time Lake Placid with the higher priced accommodations are usually booked well in advance being filled with people who might be in hockey tournaments
or other winter activities such as ice skating, cross country skiing, sledding and riding
snowmobiles. The beds fill very fast and in fact if you want accommodations closer to Whiteface you can stay in Wilmington where there are simpler older motel that can suit the skier’s needs very nicely.

We stayed at the Ledge Rock, literally across the street from the entrance drive to Whiteface Mountain. This motel the closest to the mountain since it is a state run facility there is nothing on the mountain and most likely will never be. They have many ski and stay packages that are very reasonable. A midweek ski and stay package (excluding holiday periods) would run about $87.50. A lift ticket is included in that price. Almost worth driving up and staying overnight to get a fresh start in the morning and possibly even first tracks.

The owner, Dave Baker, is very friendly and accommodating to his guests, he greets you at check in and makes a breakfast every morning. There are eggs to order and if you are lucky to hit the right morning you could possibly get into the Apple Nut Cinnamon French Toast he makes. I will keep that secret recipe to myself unless he allows me let it out to the world. Then that will be another story for the blog.

It was fun staying at these smaller more personable places, including B&B’s, because you get to know people rather than a large hotel that doesn’t care if they get close and personal.

So the next time you are thinking of going to Whiteface and want to make it a couple days rather than just a day trip. Think around the mountain it might be easier to get a place to stay and certainly more reasonable and you can still get to enjoy all the Olympic venues that are offered in the area.

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