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Whitetail festival marks solstice

December 20, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

View the Whitetail slideshow.

MERCERSBURG, Pa. -- Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg celebrated the coming of winter and the season's solstice Saturday with a festival of all things winter.

The second annual Winterfest set the slopes ablaze with an estimated 1,000 skiers and snowboarders enjoying the low temperatures, free cocoa, original snowmen and 12 inches of base, organizers said.

Marketing coordinator Matt See said the 2008 event built upon the inaugural success of the festival with more activities for children, free hot cider and an expanded snowman building contest.

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The staff at Whitetail loves winter, See said, and Winterfest is an expression of that love.

"We are excited to get here for the season and we wanted a way to welcome our guests a bit earlier than our New Year's Eve bash," he said.

Winterfest still is a work in progress, See said, but with about a half-dozen snowmen proudly standing for inspection and a handful more under construction, he said the contest was quite popular.

Victoria Utermoehlen, 17, and Hannah Brant, 16, both of Mercersburg, took a break from their part-time jobs to try their hand at sculpting snow.

"It's interesting building one of these with such little snow," Victoria said. "We work in child care here, so I think we will build a baby snowman."

Cameron Chaney, 9, of Reston, Va., and Robert Sullivan, 10, of Leesburg, Va., took one look at the four snowmen holding skis and decided it was time to stand up for the snowboarders in the crowd.

The two boys used Cameron's snowboard as inspiration for their creation of a wiped-out boarder whose snowboard ended up at his nose.

"We wanted to make a unique one that wasn't really like everyone else's," he said. "So we thought, 'Cameron has a snowboard, why don't we make a snowboard one?'"

Utermoehlen said the contest was a great way to involve both staff and guests in the festival and the season.

"We have had a good start to the season," she said. "It's not really busy, but it will get there."

See said for opening on Dec. 6, the resort is doing very well.

About 50 percent of the 20 slopes were open Saturday, and with the temperature hovering around 30 degrees, See said they would start blowing more snow onto the slopes in the afternoon.

In addition to the many activities, Whitetail took food donations for the Mercersburg Elementary School food drive.

Those who donated were entered for a chance to win prizes.

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