It’s a skier’s world and we’re just riding in it.
That’s just a plain and simple truth. Skiing came well before snowboarding so naturally all the infrastructure is designed for skiers. The only time that I’m the least bit jealous of skiers is getting on and off lifts. It’s just so easy for them. Meanwhile, we boarders are forced to twist and contort our bodies just to get through the lift line and catch a seat on the next chair. And then, of course, we sometimes look like baby fowls just learning how to walk when we get off the lift. Don’t get me started on T-bars. They’re just the worst.
And what about traverses? Seemingly endless flat stretches to get from one trail to another? Clearly something concocted by a mind holding two ski poles to push themselves to the downhill. For boarders, it’s like trying to walk like a little plastic soldier.
Now, I’m not proposing some radical shift in lift technology (except maybe banning t-bars all together). Frankly, I’m not sure how you would go about designing a lift for a snowboarder. At this point we’ve adapted pretty well. Changing it would likely cause as many problems for boarders as it would skiers. But what I am here to tell you is that some mountains are better for snowboarding than others, and the best one of them all is WHITEFACE MOUNTAIN.
Whiteface is a big mountain, standing at 4,867-feet and the highest lift on the mountain takes you all the way up to 4,386 feet. It boast the greatest vertical drop in the east: 3,430’ (or only 3,166’ if The Slides aren’t open). It’s got 288 skiable acres including 90 trails, 53 acres of glades, and 35 acres of double-black wilderness terrain skiing (The Slides). It’s got one gondola, four quads, one triple, and three doubles. And more than one terrain park.
I know what you’re thinking, “Nice facts, but why does that make Whiteface great for snowboarding?” Well, strap in and I’ll tell you.
#1 — Greatest vertical drop
Getting in and out of your binding is not part of the fun of snowboarding. So why do it if you don’t have to? A lot of ski areas have fun runs that end in a few minutes. Then it’s back in line. At Whiteface, you can be cruising for a long time before you have to get back in line. If you start at the top of the Summit Quad (4,386’) and ride all the way down to the base lodge (1,220’), you’ll be carving your way down 3,166 vertical feet. And those don’t have to be easy feet either. While you can take blue trails all the way down, you can also dabble in some black diamond trails and glades. If you get creative, one run could last from 15 minutes to an hour.
Whiteface is only the 5th highest ski area in the east, but it has 3 times the vertical drop of those top four. That means you’d have to take three laps down one of them to equal one ride on Whiteface!
#2 — NO T-BARS
You probably remember from my dazzling recitation of Whiteface facts and figures that I listed a lot of lifts. One thing I didn’t mention is the number of t-bars on Whiteface. That’s because there are none. Zero. Not a single one. Every lift you get on will have a seat for you. You will not be handed something that looks like a medieval pick axe and be expected to shove it between your legs and wait for lift off.
#3 — No traverses
There are only two spots that come close to being a traverse, but both have some downhill angle to keep you sliding. The first is right off the gondola on Excelsior and the second is when making your way over to Victoria. But neither is an actual traverse. In fact, on some mountains they’d be considered a blue trail.
Every where else on the mountain is pointed decidedly downhill. It’s hard to get lost.
#4 — Big terrain, big moves
You’ve probably heard that Whiteface Mountain has a reputation for having big, scary terrain. That’s true. Some of the terrain at Whiteface can be very intimidating. Let’s take Skyward, for example. It’s a big, wide, steep black diamond trail that seems to go on forever. In fact, Upper Skyward drops an impressive 800’, which is more vertical drop than some ski areas have in total! Staring down the headwall at the top can be scary, but it’s a boarder’s delight. The wide, steep trail lends itself to big arcing turns that snowboards were made for. Yes, conditions up there can get a little… firm, but that’s why our snowboards have metal edges.
To make sure you make the most of your Whiteface snowboarding getaway, get tickets online and ride for a few days! There are plenty of places to eat and beds to sleep in while you refuel and refresh for a new day. Things may function a little differently these days with new health and safety protocols, but it's still the same Whiteface. What are you waiting for?
So just to recap: long runs, no t-bars, no traverses, bust a move. Now sharpen your edges and get out there and ride!