Hometown Mountain Shoutout: Whitetail Resort, PA

Grant Weaver |
Whitetail Resort
The resort view from the ridge across the Blairs Valley. Image: Whitetail Resort/Facebook

Nestled in the Tuscarora Mountains of southern Pennsylvania lies Whitetail Resort.  A local ski resort to the major metropolitan areas of Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD, it offers a great getaway.  As one of the closest ski areas to the entire metro population, the resort gets its fair share of visitors each year.  The resort was recently acquired by Vail Resorts Management Company which allows it to be featured on the Epic Pass.  It also gives locals an expansive network of resorts to travel to.

Despite the southeast facing slopes, Whitetail maintains some of the most pristine trails in the Mid-Atlantic…and for that matter anywhere.  If snowmakers can make snow in the temperate and unique space that is the greater Washington, DC area, they should about be able to do it in the desert…almost.  Whitetail boasts some of the most potent and precise technology to maximize output for the season.  It must be noted that the resort would not be anything at all if it weren’t for the snowmaking/groomers and mountain operations crew.


With a 935 ft. vertical drop, it is considerably taller than the other DC area surrounding resorts.  This helps with skiable acres as well as the overall mountain layout.  Whitetail has a tremendous slope design and skill level separation.  They essentially have four ‘peaks’.

The first is the beginner/never-ever area serviced by two magic carpets, the U-Me Double and the Lift-Off Quad.  This area is set up with a lot of Terrain Based Learning concepts.  Small berms, spines and ‘eyelids’ all help beginner skiers and snowboarders in lessons get more comfortable around the mountain.  The vertical drop in this section is not more than about 75 or 80 ft.

The next peak is a mix of beginner/intermediate terrain.  Serviced by the ever-popular EZ-Rider Quad, there are a number of different options on the way down.  Sidewinder is the longest trail on the mountain and offers a mellow sweeping introduction to this part of the ski area.  There is a steeper section that offers the last ‘test’ for skiers and snowboarders before heading up to the top of the mountain.  There is also a progression terrain park that helps the younger or more novice freestylers hone their craft.  With a vertical drop of about 450 ft, it is the perfect stepping stone for guests.

Whitetail Resort

The main summit where the mountain gets its 935 ft vertical comes from the intermediate/advanced part.  The main Whitetail Express Quad serves seven trails and also leads the expert skiers to the hardest part of the hill.  This lift serves only blue and black runs which is a nice aspect of the resort.  For safety as well as congestion purposes, it groups a higher level skier or snowboarder into their own type of area.  The main terrain park is located on the lower half of the Angel Drop trail.  A jump line, various rails, and boxes, as well as a quarterpipe mold, are seen in Jib Junction park.  Possibly the best part of the park is the fact that it has its own double chair, the Jib Junction lift, helping freestyle skiers and snowboarders maximize their time on the snow.

The last part of the mountain is the expert spot.  The Expert’s Choice Quad runs guests up and down the five trails here.  Two trails help bring skiers and snowboarders back to the main base bowl from the expert area; both Fallmount and Ridge Runner are the traverse like options to come back to civilization.

Snowmaking coverage: 100%

Night skiing coverage: 95% (only Fallmount does not have lights)

Uphill capacity: 15,000 per hour

Ski School:

Whitetail boasts one of the largest ski schools in the US.  With hundreds of instructors, there is ample knowledge and skill on the mountain.  They offer private and group lessons, Kids Mountain Camp, as well as ‘line-ups’.  A specific area not many resorts have that Whitetail runs is the ‘Discovery’ area–suited for never-ever skiers and snowboarders, this lesson is tailored to the introduction into the sport(s).

The base area:

Whitetail is teeming at the base.  The lodge features The MarketPlace cafeteria, the Day Break Cafe, Mountain Hearth Pizzeria, and the Solstice restaurant.  The variety of options help disperse crowds away from your typical resort cafeteria and add a nice refreshing taste to the mountain.

Whitetail Resort
A snowboarder gets the early fluffy goods. Image: Whitetail Resort/Facebook

Local tips:

The resort can get quite busy on weekends given the close proximity to the DC and Baltimore areas.  Get to the mountain early to have the best conditions, fewest lift lines and beat the lunch rush.

A perfect warm-up for advanced skiers–ski a trail off of EZ-Rider, move over to a blue trail down from the Whitetail Express and then take Drop-In down to the Expert’s Choice lift and get the leg workout in for the day on slopes like Far Side, Bold Decision and the mogul run Exhibition.

Overall, the resort is a perfect spot for kids, families, and locals who are looking to stay in ski or snowboard shape.  With a variety of options for every service, it allows guests to be pleased in an individualized way.

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