The AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge was designed to provide a method for our forum members to get official answers to skiing-related questions directly from a ski area representative. Ted Blazer, ORDA President and CEO of Whiteface in Wilmington, New York, took the AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge and provided the following responses on 6/5/2006:
highpeaksdrifter: Hi Ted, thanks for participating. What are the chances that the Tree Island Pod project will begin this summer? If not this summer, when do you expect to begin this project? I’ve also heard of a proposal to make another blue trail off the summit of Little White, so intermediates would have another option besides Excelsior. Is there any chance of that happening for the coming season?
Ted Blazer: The tree island pod project is part of an amendment to the Whiteface unit management plan. It first needs to pass through an approval process with the APA. It is unlikely that the tree island pod and the trail you referenced from the top of Little Whiteface will be undertaken this season.
takeahike46er: “Whiteface Glade” (the area between Paron’s and Cloudspin) was proposed as new terrain the mountain would like to add. Any chance it will be debuting any time soon? Any other new glades on the planning board?
Ted Blazer: Not proposed as an action this summer. There is a new proposal for glades in the new tree island pod project.
AdironRider: I noticed that the snowmaking capabilities of the mountain were greatly improved this year and made for a positive riding experience despite unfavorable conditions. Will there be any more improvements to the snowmaking system in the near future? Any plans for work on Empire?
Ted Blazer: The addition of a new screen to filter the water prior to pump intake has aided snowmaking at the Mt. More improvements are contemplated in a proposed amendment to our unit management plan. No plans for Empire enhancements this summer.
Greg: In general, what are your thoughts on the new online community specifically for skiers of the Adirondacks at SkiADK.com? Do you feel forums like these are a good resource for feedback and have you ever seriously considered a suggestion that was posted on Web forums like SkiADK or AlpineZone? Do you feel other ski areas are missing out by not tapping into online resources like these? I look forward to your continued participation on SkiADK and AlpineZone.
Ted Blazer: I feel it is a great forum from all sides. It is a perfect medium to relay information. Yes other areas would be missing out.
Tin Woodsman: Following up on the questions regarding the Tree Island Pod, on what basis will ORDA decide whether to move forward with the proposed Lookout Pod and what would be the timing of this move? Are there environmental concerns specific to that terrain (Bicknell’s Thrush, etc.) that will need to be addressed before beginning construction? As currently planned, does ORDA envision creating terrain in the Tree Island or Lookout pods which conforms to recent Eastern skiing trends of gladed and adventure type skiing, or should we expect only groomed boulevards?
Ted Blazer: The Lookout pod was not part of the approved unit management plan and as such can not be undertaken. We are working very hard to mitigate any impact to the Bicknell’s Thrush. We will work to created interesting terrain while keeping in mind the need to maintain our slopes due to ever changing weather conditions.
takeahike46er: The Slides seemed like they were open more this year than in previous years, despite the relatively mild temperatures that dominated much of the winter season. Was this due to a change in policy or favorable conditions?
Ted Blazer: The staff at Whiteface monitors very closely the conditions in the Slides. This combined with training and proper devises allowed for the area to be open more. Conditions were more stable and favorable this year.
freeheelwilly: While enjoying some apres ski lounging on the deck at the base lodge about a month ago I observed a great deal of what I’ll euphemistically refer to as “deferred maintenance” of the structure. Is there a plan to address this either through some light carpentry and paint, a new base lodge or something in between? What about the Kids Kampus that was advertised? While I would not like to see scarce funds wasted on unnecessary amenities, I hate to see the existing infrastructure so noticeably deteriorate. On that note, any plans to replace Chair G (2)?
Ted Blazer: I appreciate your comments. We will continue to work at maintaining the facilities as they should be. Plans for a new base lodge are not part of the unit management plan; however efforts are under way to deal with Kids Kampus. Lift G replacement is not in this years capital plan.
kcyanks1: Good Whiteface questions, by the way. I’ve always wondering what it would be like if they could develop the terrain under the Gondola. I figured that a lift coming from the left going up to the right (looking up the mountain), perhaps to the top of Little Whiteface or somewhere else a little further down on the ridge, would be cool. Any plans for developing terrain in this area (not necessarily underneath the gondola)?
Ted Blazer: I would have to double check our boundary; however, I believe the area you are talking about is outside the Whiteface Intensive Use Area.
highpeaksdrifter: Has the idea of offering a season pass that included Whiteface, Gore, and Belleayre ever been discussed? I know that Whiteface and Gore are run by ORDA and Belleayre by DEC, but they are all state owned. It might be a way to get people who live in the NYC area to purchase a pass so they can do day trips to Belleayre and long weekends or week vacations to the North Country. Your thoughts?
Ted Blazer: There are currently no plans to combine the passes for the three ski areas.
AdironRider: Will there be any increased effort to open the Superpipe earlier in the season? I think that with the World Cup bringing much publicity, and with the incredible setup that Whiteface has in place (a whole separate run and lift), this could prove beneficial in increasing the interest of the younger crowd. Keep up the good work. This season was great and I’ve only seen improvements in my time as a season pass holder.
Ted Blazer: We hope to open the pipe earlier this season, as we have contemplated in past seasons. We have been caught by some weather that forced us to alter our snowmaking plans and priorities. Appreciate your comments and how the pipe interests our younger crowd…and even people my age.