For nearly 20 years, D.C.’s three “local” ski resorts have been managed by one company, Snow Time Inc. Snow Time made it possible to buy one ski pass that allowed access to all three resorts — Liberty, Whitetail, and Roundtop — and the company poured its profits back into these three ski mountains with upgrades to the snowmaking, lifts, lodging, and trails. Now, those nearby ski destinations have become part of a bigger operation.
On Sept. 24, Peak Resorts reported it was purchasing Snow Time for $76 million. Generally, when a large company buys out a smaller one, there is good news and bad news. However, so far it looks like only good.
The Advantage Card, good at all three resorts, is still available for $119 per person or $199 for families and saves 40 percent on lift tickets, with the sixth lift ticket being free. A Snow Time Individual Season Pass costs $579 and is also good at at all three resorts. The new Peak Pass adds skiing or riding at Jack Frost and Big Boulder in the Poconos, Hunter Mountain, N.Y., Mount Snow, Vt., and three New Hampshire resorts. It costs $1,029 for adults over the age of 30 and children ages 7 to 17. However, for those ages 18 to 29, the Peak Pass costs only $399 — that’s 10 resorts in all for less than the price of the Snow Time Pass. In addition, skiers and snowboarders may still purchase a variety of other Snow Time season passes, including the discounted night-only pass and mid-week pass.
Otherwise, skiing and riding at Liberty, Whitetail, and Roundtop will be “business as usual” reports Christina Petrilli, marketing director at Ski Liberty.
Liberty Mountain maintains 16 trails and three terrain parks, with a vertical drop of 620 feet. There are eight chairlifts. New this year, Liberty has replaced all of the snowmaking plumbing on its longest trail, Dipsy Doodle, which extends for almost a mile. And it also has expanded its spa. At only an hour from Washington, D.C., Liberty is an even mix of beginner, intermediate, and export terrain. All trails are lighted.
Liberty’s close proximity makes it ideal for weekday night skiing. And, while generally considered to be a day-trip mountain, the resort has a 116-room hotel perfect for a quick getaway. The hotel includes a conference center and a saltwater indoor pool and McKee’s Tavern, one of the best pubs in the region, which showcases live local musicians on weekends. Also new this year is unlimited use of the snow tubing hill Tuesdays through Thursdays, 4–10 p.m., instead of the usual two-hour pass. For only $26, it might be more fun to spend all night tubing instead of skiing.
Whitetail Resort, a 90-minute drive from D.C. or Baltimore, has 23 slopes, including 10 intermediate, five advanced, and six beginner, as well as two terrain parks, a half pipe, eight chairlifts, and a vertical drop of 935 feet. Night skiing is available on most trails.
From the time Whitetail opened in 1991, the main draw has been the centrally located high-speed detachable quad chair lift. The lift whisks guests from bottom to top in only a few minutes and services the bulk of the intermediate trails. On an uncrowded day, a determined skier or rider can crank out 20 runs per hour. Whitetail also features a tubing hill for non-skiing winter fun.
Roundtop Mountain Resort, near Harrisburg, Pa., takes about two hours by car to reach from Washington, but only a little over an hour from Baltimore. It’s very similar to Ski Liberty in its layout and feel, with 16 slopes, eight lifts, night skiing, and a vertical drop of 600 feet. It, too, has a tubing hill. However, due to being farther away from D.C. and a tad farther north than its sister resorts, the mountain is generally less crowded on weekends, and a bit cooler.
Skiers with season passes should be sure to check out all three resorts. Actually, that’s 10 resorts now!