Whitetail goes outdoors before the snow flies

October 28, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - The second annual Great Outdoors Festival, a two-day "break-even event aimed at getting people to the Whitetail Ski Resort off season," brought about 2,000 people to the facility outside Mercersburg over the weekend, a Whitetail spokesman said.

"We do this to familiarize people with Whitetail," spokesman Chris Black said. Those who went saw dog training and trials, a wood-chopping demonstration by Penn State Mont Alto forestry students, a fly-fishing exhibit and wood carving. They were able to climb walls, shoot bows and arrows, see reptiles, hear country music and watch their kids take part in a variety of small-fry events.

The resort is getting ready for its 2002-2003 ski season, Black said.

New this year are six snow-tubing trails, complete with their own tow system and lodge. While it's a first for Whitetail, snow tubing is gaining in popularity at ski resorts all over the country, Black said.


"It takes no skill, it's for any age and you get towed back up the mountain," he said.

Also new this year are lights on four expert trails. Night skiing has been available on less-difficult trails in the past, he said.

Skiers will also experience a new 17,000-square-foot ski lodge, which was completed this summer.

Other new buildings include a combination structure for the skiing school and lift employees. A trailer that was used to house the facilities was towed away. "It's all part of our beautification plan to move out the eyesores," Black said.

Last year's ski season didn't turn out to be as bad as it could have been with all the warm weather, he said. "It wasn't as good as the year before," he said.

The new season is scheduled to run from Dec. 15 through March 15, depending on the weather, Black said.

"All signs - long-term forecasts and the almanacs - say that we're in for a cold, snowy winter," he said. "That remains to be seen."

Whitetail has 20 year-round employees. About 700 part-timers work there during the ski season, Black said.

A job fair at the resort will be held Nov. 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. and on Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a sign in front of the resort.

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