Whiteface, 2/17/13

Only got one day of skiing in, but it was a pretty good one. Spent the morning lapping the Facelift lift, which had surprisingly light lines. This was probably attributable to the -2 degree reading when we woke up, and the subsequent looooong line on the gondola. They were blowing snow midmountain, which was nice, and the wind was only an issue near the top of the lift. The sun was great, though, so the wind wasn't a major factor.

My brother and I went to the kid's zone mid day to get his boys and his wife prepped up for lessons, then we headed back out. In the interim, they put the upper mountain on windhold, and closed the gondola, with predictable disasterous results for the lift lines. Took us nearly an hour, in large part due to poor lift choices, to get from the kid's zone to the Freeway lift. Freeway was slow, in part because htey had 3 chairs of folks who got scared when tehy got off at the top and had to be downloaded. There were 5 or 6 people who took their skis off and were walking down the headwall when we were skiing down. 2 towers from unloading, a huge gust of wind came through and tilted our chair about 30 degrees, where we had to sit for about 30 seconds waiting for it to die down and the lift to resume. I clenched a bit.

Once off the lift, we went to Upper Parkway, and with howling wind and blowing snow, and a year since the last itme I was on skis, the headwall looked dicey, but wasn't actually bad- not nearly as icy as I feared it would be- more windblown than scraped, so there were good pockets of soft snow to turn in, and the rest was mostly well packed but not boilerplate. I pulled to the side just before the cutoff to Upper Thruway and looked uphill to see my brother finishing a dramatic slide, sans skis, into the soft snow on the trees between the two trails (in retrospect, he shouldn't have been on that trail in those conditions, but you only learn by doing, and I didn't know what we'd encounter up there- I probably should have let him go first, though...). On the edge waiting for him to recover, I had to hunker down against the wind to keep from getting blown off my edges. The rest of the run down, though, was an excellent bomber run, good carving snow, and not much ice around.

We finished up with another run up Facelift, and down to the kid's area, where we met back up with the family (brilliantly coming out of the cut through just as they came down off the lift). Wrapped the day with a couple of laps of the Bunny Hutch Triple with the kids, and away we went.

Overall, not as crowded as you'd expect on a holiday weekend, but a couple of chokes were pinball games (my brother got taken out twice, neither time his fault, by 10 year olds, one of whom was screaming at the top of his lungs as he barreled down the hill completely out of control). Conditions were overall pretty good, despite some pretty heavy winds. Some ice, but generally not too scraped down.

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