If you like being the first one on the mountain, Whiteface has a program for you. The complimentary First Tracks Program offered by the Whiteface Mountain Host Patrol in cooperation with the SnowSports School gets 14 skiers and riders on the mountain 30 minutes before everyone else. Guests who sign up for the program are treated to the freshest conditions possible. First Tracks participants are escorted by a member of Whiteface Mountain's Host Patrol and one instructor from the Snow Sports School. It is necessary to stay with the mountain staff during your First Track Experience because technically the mountain isn't officially open yet.
The First Tracks Program is offered on weekends and daily during holiday periods. It is necessary to sign up in advance by calling the guest services desk at 518-946-2223. The First Tracks list fills up fast so be sure to call well in advance. Dave at the guests services desk says that he typically starts taking names for the upcoming weekend's First Tracks list as early as Monday. When I tried to get my name on the list for a Saturday, I called on Wednesday and it was already full. I was however, able to get myself on the list for Sunday.
Skiers and Riders taking part in the program are expected to have intermediate or Advanced level skills. In order to get the most out of the First Tracks experience participants should plan on arriving at the Guest Services desk at 7:50 with your boots on and ready to go. If the group is on time it is possible to take one run while the mountain is not yet open and then get a ride up again before the mountain has officially opened. Skiers and Riders are expected to have an all-mountain lift ticket to take part in the program.
On the particular day that I took part in the program the weather threw us a major curve-ball. Extreme winds rendered the Gondola shut down. Despite the weather related difficulties Whiteface Mountain staff seemed determined to make sure that the First Tracks Program would still happen. It was determined that we would use the Face Lift for the First Tracks Program rather than cancel it all together. We were given our First Tracks badges identifying us as members of the group, received a few instructions from our friendly host patroller Sandy before heading out the chair lift. We loaded the lift right behind Ski Patrol and long before the general public. Our group made some nice turns down Upper Valley and loaded the chair again before any members of the general public. It felt like being VIP, if only for a run or two.
If you are an experienced skier and don't mind getting up early give the Guest Services Desk at Whiteface a call and see when they can get you on the list for the First Tracks Program.
Stay Close with great Ski and Stay Packages in the Whiteface Region and get to the mountain early for FirstTracks.