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Whiteface Mountain season pass holders got a jump on other skiers by riding the new lift and the new Wilmington trail a day before they officially opened to the public. Photo: John Fitzgerald, Lake Clear
Whiteface Mountain season pass holders got a jump on other skiers by riding the new lift and the new Wilmington trail a day before they officially opened to the public. Photo: John Fitzgerald, Lake Clear

Postcard from Whiteface: a tryout of Lookout's new trails

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Today is the official opening of Lookout Mountain, a new ski lift and trail system at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington. Even though the ribbon cutting was today, the ski area opened the lift to season pass holders eager to get an early taste of the new intermediate trail system. Jacob Resneck tried it out.

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When I arrive at Whiteface Mountain in the midafternoon most of the die-hards had already taken their first run down what's been named Lookout Mountain.

General Manager Jay Rand says dozens queued up this morning to take the first run down the two and a half mile trail.

 "I think we had a great opening. An awful lot of people really showed up so we had a good line there ready to rip."

Assistant Manager Bruce McCulley arrives in his ski gear, having just taken several runs down from the 4,000-foot summit that was once part of the original Whiteface ski resort until the state realigned the trails in the late 1950s.

ME: How is it out there?

McCulley: Good. Beautiful.

ME: Have a good run?

McCulley: Yeah, nice. It's a nice day.

ME: I'm just about to run up there myself and ski it.

McCulley: Yeah - you goin' up today?

ME: Skis are downstairs.

McCulley: Yeah, good.

It's about an eight-minute ride up the triple chair lift that brings skiers up more than 1,500 vertical feet. Much of the trip on this run is enveloped by low clouds. I don't mind since the frozen rain that was pelting me has finally subsided.

I'm no expert skier. In the past I've tried some expert Black Diamonds, but usually find myself doing as much praying as skiing.

The Wilmington Trail, as it's called, begins gradually with only a few narrow drop-offs that

I find challenging. Like most runs here it will be the day's weather conditions that determine how difficult a run actually is. Thankfully there is minimal ice.

A few daring skiers and boarders veer off the trail to try a few jumps and I watch one catch his ski on a rock and take a spill.

<crashing sound>

Later, I encounter a group of Clarkson University students who are intermediates like myself. They say they like the relative gentleness of the run.

"It's not too steep which is good because we don't have everyone that is really good so we can take everyone down it which is nice."

"Compared to the other trails there's a lot more powder - it's a lot smoother."


The new lift is part of a $9.2 million expansion at Whiteface and Gore Mountain, the Adirondacks' two state-run ski areas. Ski center employees and mountain regulars alike tell me they welcome this second connector trail that gives non-experts a new way to get down the mountain.

For North Country Public Radio, I'm Jacob Resneck in Wilmington.

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