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Whitetail opens for skiing and snowboarding

About 400 bundled up to hit slopes to try out 12 inches of manmade snow

December 30, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Snowboarders hit the slopes for Whitetail's opening day Friday during its 2011-2112 season. Standing from left to right are Tucker Swartwood, Chambersburg, Pa., Bryce Stewart, Chambersburg, Jonathan Flannery, Greencastle, Pa., and Joseph Ficken, Greencastle. Seated are Arielle Wood, Mercersburg, Pa., and Taylinn Morrison, 18, Chambersburg.
By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — What Mrs. Claus doesn't know won't hurt her, right?

Well, after a tiring night of delivering Christmas presents around the globe, Santa Claus hopped on his snowboard Friday to break in the new manmade snow at Whitetail.

Well, not exactly. Santa, aka Cole Barrett, 16, Alexandria, Va., thought it would bring holiday cheer to Whitetail's opening day on Friday if he dressed as St. Nick.

"Everybody is saying, 'Hi,' to Santa, and I'm saying, 'Hi,' right back," said Cole, who couldn't wait to hit the slopes.

"Summer was hot, and we haven't seen snow in Alexandria (Va.), so when I heard that Whitetail was opening, I wanted to come down with my buddies," he said.

Katrina Gayman, Whitetail's director of marketing and sales, was thrilled by the midweek turnout on Friday's opening day. About 400 bundled up to hit the slopes to try out the 12 inches of manmade snow.

While the ski resort is opening a bit late, Gayman said it really wouldn't negatively impact the resort's bottom line.

"Our goal is to try to open the week before Christmas. This is considered a little later because it's after the Christmas break. Financially, I don't think it's that much of an impact. Anymore between Christmas and New Year's it's not nearly as busy as Martin Luther King Jr. or Presidents Day weekend," she said.

Not all of the resort is open.

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The beginner trails are open — Northern Lights, Almost Home, Velvet and Sidewinder. If the weather cooperates, Gayman said they hope to make more snow, so the intermediate trails can be open by next weekend.

So far, tubing is not open because Gayman said the staff concentrated on the ski slopes.

"Also, the temperature over there doesn't get as cold as here, so the snow-making opportunities haven't been there. Hopefully, that will be open by next weekend," she said.

Gayman said it's the perfect time to visit Whitetail.

"It is at the beginning of the season so it is a lighter crowd," Gayman said. "If you are a pass-holder and haven't picked it up yet, you will avoid the crowds and avoid the long lines."

It didn't bother Matt Owens, 16, Clarksville, Md., that not all the trails are open.

"It's the first day, and I wanted to get back on the board. Hey, I'm getting 100 percent more runs in than people who are sitting at home right now," Matt said.

Matt's friend Chris Geaney, 17, Clarksville prefers skiing.

"I like getting out here before it gets packed and enjoying no lines," Chris said.

Joseph Ficken, 19, Greencastle, Pa., and friend, Jonathan Flannery, 16, of Greencastle are normally not early risers. But on opening day at Whitetail, they hopped out of bed at 6 a.m.

"Seeing snow is awesome," Ficken said. "Snowboarding is exhilarating."

Taylinn Morrison, 18, Chambersburg, has been waiting for Whitetail to open since early December.

"I love snowboarding. I was really excited to hit the slopes; it's something to do in the winter, and it's good exercise," she said.

Whitetail will be open New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, and through the 2012 season from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, log onto www.skiwhitetail.com.

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