Embrace Spring Skiing at Whiteface

Spring skiing is here early this year. Avid snow lovers certainly would have loved a longer winter season but the early rains and high temperatures have given us what may be spring. We are lucky enough to live near a mountain that provides us with snow-blowing so we are holding on tight to our top-most trails. We also have been graced with some fresh snow this week.

Deals:
Whiteface has offered a sweet deal to those who will be skiing the East NY next year- if you buy a seasons pass for winter 2017/2018 they will grant you free skiing for the rest of this season.
Whiteface will also continue their usual deals- Why Not Wednesdays when you bring a Coca-Cola product for a full-day lift ticket of $48 & Give Back Sundays when you bring a donation for listed non-profits and receive half off.
Liftopia also is a great option for cheaper lift tickets. I haven’t personally utilized this site because a season pass is worth it for me, but I have heard several success stories.

Week Days:
Is the mountain super crowded? There aren’t enough trails open anymore to avoid all of the people? Kids everywhere and people blocking your path? This is because you have visited Whiteface on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. During the week this time of year Whiteface is an epic playground. There have been days when I’ve felt like the only person on the mountain besides the liftys. —>Side note: Appreciate, Appreciate, Appreciate. Those liftys, those cooks, those on register, those are your mountain people. They are working while you ski so they can ski. They’re inside and running lifts on the best days for YOU. They have name tags so learn their names and use them. Tip the cooks a little extra on those sunny days. We all need each other. <—

Technique:
The snow is softer because the days are warmer, or because it’s March it could be sheer ice. How do we deal with these severely varying conditions?  Technique.
Hit a patch of ice? Breathe, and slide until you can catch edge. Engage your core. Don’t let fear overcome, snow exists on the other side of those three seconds of pure terror. Even those who ski well fear falling on ice.
Snow suddenly soften? Keep your tips up and drop your butt slightly lower. Engage your lower body. Power through those slow wet patches with ease.
Catch a patch of fog? Look ahead. This is great technique for all skiing but sometimes it’s hard to look away from your skis or out of your close vicinity. Skiing is like driving. You want to constantly be changing perspective from left to right, near to far, so no small details are missed. Eyes always open and alert.

Layering:
I’ve shared thoughts previously about layering and what I wear to the mountain, but spring skiing is a little different. On a warmer day (40+) I like to make sure I have on an entirely wicking base layer (no cotton!). One pair of extra socks and gloves always go into the pack. Also an entirely waterproof outer layer as opposed to maybe a usual down jacket is smarter on warmer days in case of falling. The snow will be meltier than usual.

Last but not Least:
Whiteface is a huge mountain, and is meant to be explored. Leave your comfort zone, whatever that is, and try some trails you haven’t previously visited. Recently I’ve found that I consistently explore the same path while on Whiteface. This weekend a friend was visiting from out of town and we took him skiing. He loved riding down Excelsior -blue trail-, practicing his turns, looking at the mountains, and just cruising. It gave me a new appreciation for those trails that I have dubbed “not difficult enough”. My favorite trails have been closed for two weeks -glades- and I really learned to love the rest of the mountain. Taking it easy, appreciating the view, and carving some solid turns makes for a different kind of awesome day. As of tonight we’re fully into spring. This means appreciating the little things like stopping to smell the evergreen!

Have fun out there!

B.B.

 

 

 

Buy Warm Gear Near Lake Placid! (and Support Small Business)

 

 

All of these exciting outdoor winter sports get cold sometimes, and it’s completely inevitable- as we all know. Regardless of this fact, it’s still difficult to locate the best warm gear. The choices are difficult to work with because we only have 2,
1. Spend tons of money for quality gear, or,
2. Buy a less expensive gear and have to replace it often

These aren’t great choices. When it comes down to it, I’ve learned that it’s better to save up and buy from better brands. This can be lifesaving gear so it’s best not to mess around with cheap crap.  Some of them (Osprey, L.L. Bean, etc.) come with lifetime warrantees and will replace your gear. Other quality brands I’ve worked with (Patagonia, Sorel, Spyder, Burton) are also more than happy to replace or repair gear that has been damaged while being used for its purpose. Most of these brands are offered at local gear stores in the area which I love to support. They often have sales and it’s wonderful to try on expensive items before purchasing.

Lake Placid Gear Discounts:

If you’re looking to find some of the gear I’ve purchased at a cheaper price, try out these awesome gear stores in or near Lake Placid. They’ve treated me well and will do the same for you!

    • High Peaks Cyclery-
      • High Peaks is across from the Bowling Alley Bowlwinkles, on lower Main Street, Lake Placid. It’s a high quality shop offering brands like Patagonia, Arcteryx, Deuter, and more. They’re known for their mountain bikes and AT gear, but they also offer a guide service and tuning both of which are extremely reputable. All of that being said, I have found some of the best sales of my outdoor buying career at HPC. Every couple of months they offer a 50% off rack with tons of great buys. They also offer one of the only discount rooms in Placid. This “Recyclery” is in the back of the shop on the right side and is filled with all kinds of shoes, clothes, and gear. The owners are knowledgeable, kind, and super active. This place promises a good deal.
    • The Mountaineer-
      • The Mountaineer in Keene is on 73 about 35 minutes from Lake Placid. This is a huge gear shop filled to the brim with awesome outdoor goodies. It is expensive as all gear shops are but conveniently placed are a couple of sale racks on the second level of this shop. On my last visit there I picked up a beautiful Woolrich sweater for only $35! Also- the employees aren’t pushy as I’ve noticed elsewhere. They’re helpful and genuine.
    • Lake Placid Ski and Board-
      • This shop has been in town for a long time and for good reason. The owners are super knowledgable and remember locals. This is a great spot for all of your downhill gear. They have awesome jackets and snow pants, under layers, helmets, bags, skis, poles, and boots. They always offer great deals and have sales on last years items. Well chosen gear for a cool little Main Street shop.
    • Cunninghams-
      • Cunninghams has been hit or miss for me since moving to Placid but I need to shout out to them for my awesome skis. I was searching for the perfect skis when I fell into an amazing deal at this shop. ‘Last year’s’ skis, same as the new but with different design and less than half the price. They are still the best skis I’ve owned after 3 years of use. Don’t mark the ski barn off, they have great deals and great service.
    • Placid Planet:
      • Placid Planet carries the best alpine race gear in town and they also offer a wonderful tune-up. Their road bikes and tuning are highly regarded as well (spring is coming)!
    • Blue Line Sport: Saranac Lake:
      • If you are in town for a couple of days (Or years! You may just love it here and stay!) definitely check out Saranac Lake. It’s a wonderful town with history and quirkness. The restaurants are delicious and the stores are super unique. Blue Line Sport is one of them. They have tons of great base layers, sweaters, and slippers. My family got many of our ski clothes and other outdoor gear there growing up. Definitely worth a stop– frequent sales!
    • EMS-
      • While EMS isn’t a local store, it’s a great option for gear that you might not be finding at other spots in Placid. EMS isn’t great for downhill gear, but is great for downhill clothing like Smart Wool and Darn Tough socks (often on sale). They have the best spread of hiking boots, climbing gear, and Osprey packs in town. EMS is known for being expensive as other gear stores are, but if you shop right it can be cheap! Becoming part of their rewards program gifts you $10 when you build up points (I have $40 saved right now!) and furthermore they have great seasonal sales. Head to the secret gear spot downstairs and in the back usually there are a couple of sweet sale racks! You never know what you may find.

Aside from all of these awesome shops be sure to check out the other small businesses in our beautiful surrounding towns. Their character and originality are so inspiring. The shop owners and employees are so practiced, knowledgeable, and helpful.  #shoplocal #shopsmall !!

Check out my next post for what I wear to the mountain and how you can find similar gear!

Thanks for viewing!
Hugs and Backpacks,
B.B