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Comparing Cannon with Whiteface

jimk

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I made a fun visit to Whiteface two weeks ago for the first time since 2000. Conditions were variable and ranged from generally very good to a few slick spots. It was a cold March day, but the sun came out in the afternoon and the views were outstanding. I got to do a little exploring in Cloudsplitter Glades off Little Whiteface, scratch my way down a good long bump run called Lookout Below in the Lookout Mtn trail pod, and capped the visit with some super scenic runs from the Summit Quad.

Skyward View from Whiteface
whiteface skyward - Copy.jpg

I have only a handful of days at Cannon and Whiteface and my impressions may be a bit superficial, but I've visited both mountains in recent years and they seem to have a lot in common: state-run utilitarian vibe, less expensive and maybe a little less crowded than many large Northeastern areas, more than a hint of undeveloped potential, and tops in class for superior scenery.

Mt. Lafayette vista from Cannon
cannon Mt. Lafayette.jpg

Both places have a signature aerial lift (tram/gondola) and northerly locations with relatively high elevation terrain. Both have reputations for harsh weather and less manicured slopes. Whiteface has more overall vertical, but both have challenging terrain including fun glades. They also share a nice backwoods feel and minimal slopeside development, although Cannon's got a small amount of lodging at Mittersill and Whiteface has the resort town of Lake Placid a dozen miles away.

Cannon Tramline
DSCF1859.jpg

I don't want to reinforce false stereotypes, but maybe one way to summarize their similarities is that they are NOT for those who want to be coddled and offer a big mountain experience for the East with robust advanced skiing under optimal conditions, including true expert terrain such as The Slides and Tramline/Kinsman.

The Slides at Whiteface
whiteface slides.jpg

What say the board? Agree, disagree, additional comments? :)
 

jimk

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Sugarloaf and Sugarbush have a lot in common too. Like the term "sugar".

Sounds like another good thread topic:
-damn good skiing in general and extraordinarily good spring skiing
-many runs with long uninterrupted vertical
-high end advanced terrain
-moderate crowds
-must pass a lot of other good areas to get to them :)
 

MadMadWorld

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Not sure if you are saying that they offer optimal conditions or if you are saying the advanced terrain is great under optimal conditions. I would definitely disagree that either mountain is not for beginners/people that need to be coddled. I don't know of many mountains in the east that don't cater to this crowd. I guess MRG and Magic are the only mountains I can think of that aren't "beginner friendly"
 

hammer

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Based on one trip to Cannon I found it to be fine for beginners and advanced. Intermediates...not so much.
 

x10003q

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Not sure if you are saying that they offer optimal conditions or if you are saying the advanced terrain is great under optimal conditions. I would definitely disagree that either mountain is not for beginners/people that need to be coddled. I don't know of many mountains in the east that don't cater to this crowd. I guess MRG and Magic are the only mountains I can think of that aren't "beginner friendly"

Whiteface is not a great place for green and blue skiers. The Kids Kampus is a wonderful beginner area away from the speeding experts on the rest of the mountain. When you want to step up to the main mountain there is not a lot for lower level skiers. There are zero green trails and 1 blue trail off the gondola. The blue trail, Excelsior, is a high speed race track. Lower Northway (blue) is a high speed drainage for experts jetting back to the Little WF Double as is Upper Valley( blue). From the top of the Summit Quad there are The Follies and Parons, both ok blues for intermediates and some adv begineres, but they drain into the high speed blues mentioned above and Victoria, another steep blue.

The Wilmington trail off Lookout is a long, tough, blue. If conditions are not optimal you better be a strong blue skier to handle it.

The HSQ out of the main base, The Face lift, serves 1 green that splits into 2 trails and there are 2 blue trails. Once you get a little below the midstation Bistro, the trails flatten out to become a long run out.

If conditions are marginal some blue skiers will have trouble riding Excelsior off the gondola.

I have been a regular at Gore for 25 years. I love going up to WF a few times per season. The blue skiers in my family will not go to WF anymore unless there are perfect conditions. It really is an advanced mountain.
 

Savemeasammy

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^This reads as an endorsement of Whiteface to me!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

BenedictGomez

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Whiteface is definitely not "less expensive" when compared to other eastern resorts, it's $85 for a lift ticket.
 

BenedictGomez

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I would definitely disagree that either mountain is not for beginners/people that need to be coddled. I don't know of many mountains in the east that don't cater to this crowd. I guess MRG and Magic are the only mountains I can think of that aren't "beginner friendly"

Whiteface is a terrible place for beginners with very little true beginner terrain.

It's by far the toughest mountain I've skied on the east coast in terms of terrain difficulty versus subjective Green, Blue, Black Diamond trail ratings, and second place isnt even in the rear-view mirror. There are intermediates at Whiteface that would/could be diamonds at plenty of New England ski resorts.


The biggest knock on Whiteface is the Iceface moniker, which I rate as, "mostly true". Conditions there usually stink, you really have to "time" a trip to Whiteface rather than book in advance.
 

BenedictGomez

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The Wilmington trail off Lookout is a long, tough, blue. If conditions are not optimal you better be a strong blue skier to handle it.

Took the gf down Wilmington last month at her request, as the few other times she skied it in the past she loved it.......with decent conditions.

She was honest to god scared last month under firm and variably icy conditions. Especially at that big, steep, lefthand turn towards the bottom. I was proud of her for making it down without falling, but a bit nervous. It looked like something that would be on an FIS course, and would 100% qualify as a black diamond pitch at most places in the east.

But this is what I mean about Whiteface, if you're a beginner venturing onto blues or an intermediate venturing on blacks (or even a lower-level intermediate going ONTO blues) etc... you really need to ask people who know the trails before you ski certain places at Whiteface.
 

MadMadWorld

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Whiteface is a terrible place for beginners with very little true beginner terrain.

It's by far the toughest mountain I've skied on the east coast in terms of terrain difficulty versus subjective Green, Blue, Black Diamond trail ratings, and second place isnt even in the rear-view mirror. There are intermediates at Whiteface that would/could be diamonds at plenty of New England ski resorts.


The biggest knock on Whiteface is the Iceface moniker, which I rate as, "mostly true". Conditions there usually stink, you really have to "time" a trip to Whiteface rather than book in advance.

Hmm I didn't feel like that but okay. I agree some of the intermediates could be classified as diamonds at some mountains but I don't see how Smuggs wouldn't be in the same category if not ahead. How many mountains have intermediate glades? Not many. And if they do the trees are not nearly as tightly spaced as theirs. All of the intermediate glades would be at least a single diamond at pretty much every mountain in the east.
 

BenedictGomez

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Hmm I didn't feel like that but okay. I agree some of the intermediates could be classified as diamonds at some mountains but I don't see how Smuggs wouldn't be in the same category if not ahead.

I honestly cant think of a single Blue Square at Smuggs that I could compare to a black diamond at one of the larger NE resorts. If anything, frankly, I think Smugg's intermediate terrain is extremely tame. Having been a SPH at Smuggs for four years (five?) and visited Whiteface enough, I honestly dont see how you can compare their marked trails degree of difficulty as being similar.

In my experience skiing the east (ex-Maine, never skied Maine), it's

Whiteface....................................... then Smuggs, Jay, Stowe, Gore etc... (in whatever particular subjective order you like). My 2¢.


How many mountains have intermediate glades? Not many. And if they do the trees are not nearly as tightly spaced as theirs. All of the intermediate glades would be at least a single diamond at pretty much every mountain in the east.

IMHO, the reason you have two twigs and call it a diamond is primarily done for insurance purposes (wisely) at most mountains. But I'm talking about trails, not glades.
 

MadMadWorld

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I honestly cant think of a single Blue Square at Smuggs that I could compare to a black diamond at one of the larger NE resorts. If anything, frankly, I think Smugg's intermediate terrain is extremely tame. Having been a SPH at Smuggs for four years (five?) and visited Whiteface enough, I honestly dont see how you can compare their marked trails degree of difficulty as being similar.

In my experience skiing the east (ex-Maine, never skied Maine), it's

Whiteface....................................... then Smuggs, Jay, Stowe, Gore etc... (in whatever particular subjective order you like). My 2¢.




IMHO, the reason you have two twigs and call it a diamond is primarily done for insurance purposes (wisely) at most mountains. But I'm talking about trails, not glades.

Lol we're not talking about glades? If it's listed on the trail map/report as a TRAIL shouldn't it be considered one? Mountains don't have to mark a glade a diamond just because it's tree skiing. It should be relative to other glades at the mountain. Someone dropping into Highlander would have a big shock if they thought it would be similar to The Shire. In addition, many areas have boundary to boundary skiing and down even mark their trees and they never seem to run into trouble.

Not sure about Whiteface but I am pretty sure Cannon never lets any intermediate trail go wall to wall bumps. I know of a few VT mountains that do.
 

BenedictGomez

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Lol we're not talking about glades? If it's listed on the trail map/report as a TRAIL shouldn't it be considered one?

No.

I personally dont consider glades, "ski trails", I never have, and never will. This is a relatively new gimmick designed solely to boost "trail count". When I was a kid (heck, even just a handful of years ago) it wasnt a "trail", it was just skiing in the woods.
 

Scruffy

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Whiteface....................................... then Smuggs, Jay, Stowe, Gore etc... (in whatever particular subjective order you like). My 2¢.

QUOTE]

I don't know dude? Skied all these plenty of times. Stowe is tougher than WF, and I'm not talking the glades or hikable stuff. Stowe may be easier for beginers/intermitates though. And as for Maine, you should go to Sugarloaf or Saddleback if you're a good skier, and I'm assuming you are.
 

BenedictGomez

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I don't know dude? Skied all these plenty of times. Stowe is tougher than WF, and I'm not talking the glades or hikable stuff. Stowe may be easier for beginers/intermitates though. And as for Maine, you should go to Sugarloaf or Saddleback if you're a good skier, and I'm assuming you are.

Correct, but that's primarily what this entire conversation has been about. The fact that Whiteface has very little beginner terrain, and what there is can be fairly steep (relatively speaking of course) and even "intermediate'ish" in spots. And that some of their intermediate trails are closer to legitimate black diamonds (at least in spots), or bogus black diamonds at others.

Again I'm going to use my intermediate gf as an example here:

My gf skis ALL the intermediates at Jay Peak
My gf skis ALL the intermediates at Sugarbush
My gf skis ALL the intermediates at Smuggler's Notch
My gf skis ALL the intermediates at Gore
My gf skis ALL the intermediates at Plattekill
My gf skis ALL the intermediates in the Poconos

Yet last season, my gf HIKED down a steep "intermediate" at Whiteface with Galapagos Island tortoise moguls that was clearly really a black diamond, and that some resorts would fraudulently even (falsely) claim to be a double black diamond. Another time I felt bad (really bad), but this was something I'd never seen in my life, an intermediate trail with huge moguls and solid steepness.

The conversation gets WAY more subjective once you start talking solely about the black diamond terrain, but if you wanted to extend the conversation there, I dont agree that Stowe is more difficult than Whiteface. And IMO, Smuggs has the most difficult on-map trail I've skied in the entire east, but yet I wouldnt rank Smuggs' black diamond trails (except for that one) as being harder than either Stowe or Whiteface. Again though, this last bit about black diamonds is really in the eye-of-the-beholder IMO.
 
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