By Albert Gao
“In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes”
- Benjamin Franklin
It is a truth that this is the sad reality in which we exist. We work day in and day out, studying, practicing, and competing. However, during this season, why not take some time to chill with friends? Almost as sad as the pun, half the ski season has passed. With many competitions starting in March, this may be your only chance to enjoy the final touches of the winter season. Now the real question: which park should you go to? In our area, choosing between Liberty Mountain Resort and Whitetail Mountain Resort can affect many aspects of the experience, especially for beginners. That being said, there is only one right answer.
To understand the superiority of Liberty, you first need to consider the terrain. While Liberty stands atop a rounder slope, Whitetail sits on a steeper, sharper mountain. This small detail can cause large problems for new skiers.
The rounder terrain of Liberty provides a generally steady progression in difficulty. Difficulty in skiing is measured with the color of the trail, with green trails being for beginners, blue trails for intermediates, single black diamonds for advanced skiers, and double black diamonds for experts. In my personal experience, the easiest trail, First Class Area, and the second easiest, Sneaky Pete, at Liberty are somewhat similar, which provides a steady increase in difficulty. The same cannot be said for Whitetail. From easiest to hardest, their first three trails, Northern Lights, Almost Home, and Velvet, which are all greens, are practically the same. Then, beginners have the wonderful chance to feel the cold, bitter snow on their face on the fourth trail, Sidewinder. People say “no pain, no gain”, but the only gain on the Sidewinder is the wish to go home. I distinctly recall falling on this trail three or four times in one run. Not only is the trail at least twice as long as Velvet, the snow quality is quite poor, and being tired as a result of the length, caused it to feel drastically different to any of the previous trails. Keep in mind that, like Northern Lights, Almost Home, and Velvet, Sidewinder is still classified as a green trail.
Not only is the progression more consistent, the trails themselves are more enjoyable. Both parks have all the blue trails concentrated on one face of the mountain, but with some key differences. Whitetail’s blue trails are mostly separate and they run from top to the bottom. Meanwhile, Liberty has their upper trails all connected to a large area at the middle-altitude of the mountain, which then separates into four lower trails that can all be accessed via said middle area. If this didn’t win an award for this design, I don’t know what would.
Above: Whitetail’s inferior blue trails
In practice, this design is genius for multiple reasons:
If, for whatever reason, a lower or upper trail is closed off, it doesn’t mean that the corresponding trail is closed by default.
If someone just finished an upper trail with moguls (extremely-miniature hills), and would prefer to not deal with the pain again, they can opt to ski on the other two or three lower trails without moguls.
From experience, the blue trails at Whitetail can be tiring. You stand there for a few seconds to catch your breath, when suddenly, ten skiers zoom past you, making you question why you didn’t go to Liberty. At Liberty, at least for the backside of the mountain, if you feel tired, you can take a safe break at the previously mentioned mid-area.
All in all, any sensible person would likely agree that Liberty is the superior park. If you have any friends that would like to disagree, please respectfully and politely point out that they are wrong.