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“Some news to soften the blow of Ski Center (potentially?) closing…”

by Prince Of Petworth February 2, 2016 at 10:15 am 18 Comments

ski shuttle
Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

Thanks to a reader for sending:

“Some news to soften the blow of Ski Center (potentially?) closing… Shuttle to Whitetail Mountain:

“A New York-based outdoor activity company will begin offering bus trips from Washington, DC to Whitetail Ski Resort on many Saturdays this winter, providing a hassle-free way to make it to the slopes for those who lack cars or prefer not to drive.”

Ed. Note: About Ski Center – a commenter, Kirk, posted:

“Hello my name is Kirk
I do work at Ski Center
The owner is retiring
The inventory is being sold , during a sale , but not ” “liquidated”
The owner is accepting qualified offers to buy the Ski Center , and wants a new owner who will retain management and the core values of what his family and staff have built for 5 decades .
We are all hopeful and realistic that when one door closes it allows for other doors to open
We too love skiing and riding …. We hope to be involved in that pursuit for some time to come .
Service manager
Ski Center”

  • rob

    Being a weekend warrior at a tiny mid-Atlantic hill sounds horrible (and dangerous), but cool that there is a transport option. Midweek is the way to go.

    • DC Skier

      Whitetail has more vert than most other mountains in the region, a high speed quad (a rarity in the region) and generally has an excellent snowmaking team. I do agree that it can get very crowded there on the weekends though, and the cost is kind of nuts.

      Snowshoe offered a $219 season pass last February valid from March 1 2015 to end of season 2016, which I bought. It’s further but if you can afford to stay a night or two, it’s better. Hopefully, they will announce something soon for this coming season.

    • anonymous

      Saving your money and going out west or in Europe is the way to go. The local “mountains” are terrible.

      • DC Skier

        Which ones have you skied?

        • anonymous

          Snowshoe, Whitetail, Wisp, and Big Bear (Poconos). Nothing is worth the money they charge. Terrain is weak, lines are god awful (on weekends), trails are overcrowded, runs are like 2 minutes long. Lower Shay’s at Snowshoe is the only decent trail around but its short, rarely open, and packed with people who don’t know how to ski/ride it.

          • DC Skier

            I mean…it is what it is. We can’t all afford to jet off to Switzerland or Vail!

          • Anon

            I agree with this assessment, though I’ve spent considerable time skiing out west. For folks who didn’t grow up regularly skiing, our molehills are more than sufficient. These people aren’t seeking the gnar – they just want to link more than a couple of turns on their way down.
            With that said, Timberline in WV has the best terrain in the region. It’s not a bad drive, especially if you take off work during some solid snow.

          • anonymous

            People can spend their money however they want, but from a value perspective, you are getting way more bang for your buck by spending $800-900 on a weekend out west then you are spending $400-500 to go to Snowshoe. To put it another way, I would rather go out west for a week every other year than get a few weekends in around here every year. Also, if you really want to get technical, you could go out west and go touring (skinning) for free, which makes to cost basically the same (or less) as resort skiing around here.

            As Anon said, the mountains here are fine for beginners and maybe intermediate skiers, but once you have a taste of the good stuff, everything else is just boring. There is nothing like a woods run in waist deep powder.

          • DC Skier

            I don’t disagree on that value proposition, but when I go to Snowshoe, I spend maybe 50 bucks max for a night of lodging, go out Saturday morning and come back Sunday night, use my pass (now I think on my 12th day with it) and my own equipment. Don’t get me wrong, I have skied in Utah/Colorado/France/Switzerland/Chile etc. So, yes, I am aware that Pennsylvania is not going to stack up to those places. Obviously this bus service is not intended for someone like you, but doesn’t mean it’s not for others.

            Timberline definitely does have good terrain but unfortunately the people running that place are quite incompetent and customer unfriendly. Hopefully someone will buy it and put in new lifts and and better snowmaking infrastructure.

          • Anon X

            In what world is a trip out west only going to cost $900 bucks?

            Best Case Scenario:
            400 bucks for the ticket
            150 for rental car
            100 per day for lift ticket
            200 per night for hotel

            Thats 850 for just 1 day on the hill. 1150 for 2 and 1450 for 3. At a minimum. My costs are far lower than anything I’ve ever paid, except for lift ticket which is almost always between $90-125/day. Plus, you’re talking at least 1 day of leave and long travel days to get anywhere decent from most airports (except Park City and some of hte closer CO hills).

            In contrast, you can drive to white tail for 15-20 bucks in gas and 60-75 bucks for a lift ticket and be home before you usually go to bed.

            Its two totally different costs for 2 totally different things.

          • anonymous

            As a preliminary matter, you overestimated on everything (hardly a “best case”). Without even trying, I found flights from DCA to DEN for $244 at the end of the month. I found a rental car for three days for $42, and lodging on airbnb at Keystone for $125 per night. Add that to two days of lift tickets and you are under $800. As I said, that was in like 2 minutes of searching and without planning. Could you go to Vail for that much? Probably not, but there are plenty of options where the cost would be in that range. Also, if you have a touring setup, you would have no cost for lift tickets.

            Second, I was comparing it to a weekend at Snowshoe, which would include similar costs for everything except the cost of gas v. flight; not a day trip to Whitetail. I would never go to Whitetail because the terrain is boring as hell and for every 45 minutes you spend in line, you get 2 minutes in the slope. If that’s your thing, have at it. I’ll take one trip out west over ten days at Whitetail every time.

          • Anon X

            As a rule, the cheaper the flight the more the fees (Frontier, Spirit) or the more time you’re going to be taking off work.

            I stand by my numbers because those are the best case scenarios on real life travel. $42 for 3 days of rental is ludicrous. And skinning? You’ve got to be kidding me. I’d rather spend 0 time skiing anywhere than walk up hill every single time.

            You went through mental gymnastics to prove me wrong and your examples dont quite do it.

            And, I never said that going to whitetail was the same thing as going out west. I said the costs are completely different for 2 different experiences.

          • anonymous

            Haha, ok. Your post tells me all I need to know about you as a skier/rider. Enjoy “shredding” those groomers at Whitetail!

            AT, by the way, is the fastest growing segment of the industry (pretty much the only growing segment), and there is a reason for that. My guess is you have never done it, hence your skepticism, but it is free, a great workout, and you get the best snow/terrain. Resort skiing doesnt even compare.

          • Anon X

            You suggested going to Keystone (last time I checked, a resort) and saving on the lift ticket by skinning. AT only makes the experience that much MORE incomparable to Whitetail. And, just because AT is growing, doesnt mean its super popular. Often, resorts have very limiting uphill policies. AND, if I need to reiterate this for a 3rd time, all I said was, you’re paying vastly different sums of money for a vastly different experience. I never said I thought WT was good enough for me – I said it was fun for what it was.

            As for your personal attack on “everything you need to know about me as a skier”… the ski world is made of mostly people like me…. literally hundreds of thousands of people. Unfortunately, people like me encounter people like you far too often who make it less fun for everyone else. Constantly using phrases like “shredding gnar” and the ski/ride bro culture where they scream at “gapers” and generally run around feeling superior to everyone who doesnt go uphill after hours or freestyle is just distasteful. Skiing is big enough to accommodate first timers, Olympians, locals, riders, skiing, AT, and many other groups. Skiing has only gotten more egalitarian in the last 20 years and its time for people to just accept everyone else on the mountain and not act like they’re some 8 time gold medalist – because, no matter where you go, there’s going to be someone who is more experienced and is a better skier than you are.

            I’ve skied many places. And, I can have fun on any hill I’m at and appreciate it for what it is. No one is traveling from Santa Fe NM, or even NYC to go to Whitetail or Snowshoe. But, that doesnt mean the fun people are having who do go to these places is any less positive for them.

            In closing, I’ll say, people who keep repeating the canard that its not worth going to local places are just working against themselves. If more people thought it was worht going to Whitetail and the local hills, Ski Center wouldnt have to look so hard for a buyer. The more people skiing the better it is for the sport – so whether you can only ski at Whitetail or 4 times a year to Squaw, who cares? There’s literally no place local with the expertise of Ski Center, interms of boot fitting. Now what is everyone who’s going out to “shred the gnar” at A-Basin supposed to do? Pay MSRP and take a day off of their short trip to get fitted?

          • Popcorn

            anonymous is like those people who say you’re wasting your money eating tacos/pizza/pho in DC because the ones in Austin/NYC/LA are the only ones that are any good.

      • Caroline

        Been skiing practically my whole life, but my partner has no interest in it and I’m not going to take a big trip without her. This local shuttle is appealing to me because I can just jump on without much/any prior planning, get my ski fix, and still have half the weekend to spend with her. I just want to keep my skills up and have fun. I would totally do this except all my ski gear is at my parents’ house and I won’t be up there until late March.

      • ah

        There’s a use for both. Work and money mean trips out west are going to be fairly limited. You’re lucky if you can get more than 2 (or even one) in a season. Plus, there’s no flexibility if work or life intrudes (or doesn’t) – you can’t just pop off on a moment’s notice to Vail, at least at reasonable expense.

        Meanwhile, the local hills provide an intermediate fix between those longer trips with the flexibility to say “screw it, I’m skiing today”.

        that said, I have a hard time spending more than 4 hours at Whitetail at a time – just gets too monotonous. I’m usually in at lift open and out by lunch.

  • DC Skier

    Their Whitetail package is currently discounted on Groupon:


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