Skiing the Whiteface Road
Submitted By Michael Virdone
The Mountains & Stats
People On The Trip
This was a trip I had wanted to do for the longest time so Nicole and I took the recent snow as an opportunity to get it done. We stayed at the Birch Tree Inn in Williamsburg Friday night. It was a pretty nice motel and the rates were good, plus it put us 5 minutes from the start of the auto road. We woke up Saturday, Nicole took care of boiling water, and we headed out to the trailhead. We were going to ski up the road using mine and Addario's splitboards and then snowboard down. |
We ran into our first problem of the day when I stupidly left the skins in the car so they were ice cold and impossible to get onto the skis. After a while of fighting with the skins we eventually got them on all 4 skis and began our climb.
The grade of the road made the climb a pleasure and we made good time. It was a nice change of pace to have a marker every mile to tell how far we had gotten. As we got higher it got colder, but since we were moving it wasn't too bad. We enjoyed the views along the road and soon we had views of the summit (far away).
The climb went pretty quickly and we only ran into a few hard packed spots, other than that it was all powder. The grade of the road was gentile enough so that we didn't need the heel risers.
When we reached the first turn we enjoyed the great views to the high peaks and lake placid. After the first turn the road was a bit more exposed and it got colder so we stopped briefly to layer up. At the second hairpin turn there was more hard packed snow but the wind died down. We stopped in the blasted out area between the last turn and the castle to put the snowboards back together. Here we ran into another problem, one of the splitboards wouldn't go back together so we wasted at least 15 minutes trying to get to board to work correctly.
After stashing the boards by the rocks we continued to the summit. We should have put our snowshoes on but we assumed that the wind had cleared the road to the summit. Unfortunately we were wrong and ended up making some postholes. At the castle we put on our snowshoes and made it the rest of the way to the summit proper.
We enjoyed the summit quickly and descended. We returned to the snowboards and decided against going to Esther. This turned out to be a great decision because Nicole was unable to snowboard down in her regular boots. Nicole ended up walking down while I snowboarded and waited every few minutes. This ended up making me pretty cold since I was standing still for 10-15 minutes at a time. Eventually once we could both see the gate house I ditched Nicole and skied the rest of the way to the car.
This was a very enjoyable hike/ski and I recommend it to anyone who has considered trying it. It could have been a lot more difficult had the weather been colder or windier.
The Good and The Bad
The skiing up was easy
Snowboarding difficulties on the way down