Xmas Skiing in, er, Maryland
December 30, 2013
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I must confess that until recently I had no idea you could ski in Maryland. A quick study of a map though reveals that Maryland isn’t just the Chesapeake Bay hugging state I had imagined. For all sorts of Mason-Dixon line reasons, the state protrudes as far west as western Pennsylvania. And in that western extreme, what seems like 100m over the PA state line, lies Wisp.
The Sunday before Xmas was probably not the best time for a first visit. After a sustained cold and snowy period when gun and natural pow was plentiful, a 36 hour, warm, wet front hit the area. Luckily the moisture stayed mostly north, sparing Wisp of the worst of the deluge. By 11am the rain had stopped and a brisk wind quickly blow-dried us in the 50F+ temperatures.
The upside of all this was we essentially had our own private ski hill for the day. With most runs open and well covered considering the drenching they’d had, we explored at will. Slopes trail off all sides of the ski hill that rises above the beautiful Deep Creek Lake, making it easy to link runs and move around the mountain. We found a surprising amount of variety – short steeps, snaking groomers – that bodes well for when conditions are a little less swamp-like. Slow lifts don’t bode well for busy days, but at only 90 minutes from home, I suspect we’ll sneak a few days in at Wisp this season. It looks a fun little ski hill. For Maryland, anyway.
5 days later we headed north to the more familiar climes of Holiday Valley, NY. The cold and snow had returned, creating some pretty decent conditions all over the resort. Groomers skied really well, especially early, and crowds never reached levels that caused any lift-line angst. As on our previous visits, the runs off the Chute chair provided the best skiing on mostly deserted slopes. With good conditions, there’s plenty of fun to be had at Holiday Valley.
I just hope this winter lasts a lot longer than the Steelers season did, and even greets the arrival of the Pirates season. That’d be nice.
Holiday Valley: 6100m
Season Totals: 10 days, 75,400m vert