Local ski resorts provide fun activity for WCHS students


Photo courtesy of Justin Polhemus

Less than 2 hours away, Whitetail Ski Resort is a very popular getaway for a common winter hobby among the WCHS community.

By Justin Greenzaid, Sports Editor

As the winter approaches there are many seasons to look forward to. Not only does the cold weather bring the winter athletics season, holiday season and ugg slipper season, it also brings ski season. A favorite pastime of many WCHS students, skiing and snowboarding is something that is always a fun experience. 

For WCHS skiers, being on the east coast is a bit of a limitation, however there are plenty of resort options that are each only about an hour and a half away. Whitetail, Liberty, Roundtop, Snowshoe, Wisp and Seven Springs are some of the most popular places amongst the WCHS community and each have their own subtle pros and cons including varying prices, number of runs available, snow conditions and crowdedness. 

“I’ve been to quite a few places in Pennsylvania. They are good places to just have fun with your friends but they usually don’t have the best conditions. My favorite local ski spot is Wisp because it’s close by and resembles resorts out west,” WCHS senior Taylor Branch said. 

Although the snow conditions of these eastern locations are obviously not ideal compared to western mountains, they still provide an exceptional opportunity for fun, especially for teenagers. With resorts extremely close by, an easy day trip can be made on any given weekend. A very popular time to go is Martin Luther King Jr. weekend but the trip can be made on any ordinary Saturday or Sunday or even a Friday night under the lights. 

Especially for the students staying home for winter break, these local spots are great opportunities to spend downtime and adventure out the house. Most resorts are scheduled to open in mid December, providing a perfect opportunity to make fond memories throughout winter break. 

“I usually go in January and February because that’s right before the spring sports season and there are lots of weekends where I can easily get up to the mountains to ski. Also usually the week after MLK weekend is a great weekend to go because there is almost no one on the mountain with still good snow,” WCHS senior Justin Polhemus said. “I usually go with my friends, and this year I’m going to try and get a big group of us to go because it would be a ton of fun.”

So, what exactly are the differences between some of these places? Well, for the most part they are very similar, with only the slightest variation in snow patterns or pricing. Whitetail is one of the most popular places to go and because of that it is also the most crowded. From easy rentals to a large cafeteria to a terrain park, Whitetail has a lot to offer the average skier. However for many, the long lift lines and crowded slopes are a huge turn away. Further locations like Wisp, Snowshoe and Seven Springs overall have much higher quality conditions, but the pricing and distance may not be worth it for some. 

“Some negatives of the local ski resorts are that they have lots of bad skiers who don’t know what they are doing and get in the way. The lift lines also can get very long and make it unenjoyable. Snowshoe is definitely my favorite local spot. It gets good amounts of snow each year and is a pretty decent sized mountain and not a terrible drive,” Polhemus said. 

Being a beginner or an experienced veteran does not matter as anyone can have a good time with friends on the slopes. Learning on the east coast is not too challenging aside from the icy conditions, but the shorter, less steep mountains make it easier to pick up the basics. For someone  trying skiing or snowboarding out for the first time, a less crowded, more mellow option like Roundtop is the best spot. It does not offer many runs, but as a beginner that is not an issue. It is also less crowded than Liberty and Whitetail which makes it easier to avoid accidents, every beginner’s greatest fear. Additionally, it does not compromise distance or price and is just a short drive away. 

“Some positives of local ski places are that they are easy for friends to get to and if they aren’t skilled skiers they can learn quickly and not worry about the hard terrain. I would definitely recommend going to anyone even if they have never gone before,” Polhemus said. 

All in all, the ski experience has a ton to offer for WCHS students and the community ski culture is quite strong. On any given day at a local resort it is possible to run into a physics lab partner or English teacher. Skiing and snowboarding are meant to be fun, so gather up friends and take a trip without worrying about slight drawbacks. 

“I am really looking forward to getting out there this winter. Hopefully the resorts get a lot of snow this year but I will definitely be there with friends anyways this season,” Branch said. “Even though it is hard to compare to out west, the local mountains are still nice because they allow me to practice my skills more often because they are only an hour or two away.”