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Whiteface draws big crowds on opening weekend

November 23, 2017
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

WILMINGTON - Whiteface Mountain opened its slopes this Saturday, Nov. 18 to much success.

"We had 900 guests," General Manager Aaron Kellett said, "which is 300 more people than last year's opening day."

Whiteface is also in the middle of some extensive renovations for the Base Lodge, Bear Den Lodge and Porcupine Lodge.

Article Photos

Alex Whinston, left, and Mackenzie Wollert have been skiing, snowboarding and making friends at Whiteface Mountain for the past couple of years. They returned over the weekend for the mountain’s opening.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

"We haven't done an expansion this big since the 1980 Olympics," Kellett said.

Whiteface is updating the infrastructure and constructing more lounge room for guests. He said the skiing will always be the main priority, but giving guests a place to grab a drink or a hot meal adds to the experience.

The stairway has been renovated and more bathrooms and a new elevator were built in the Base Lodge to steady the flow of foot traffic. The Bear Den Lodge is still under construction, but Kellett said it should be open to the public by Christmas. Porcupine Lodge, which is located at the top of Lookout Mountain, is being restored to serve as a warming hut for skiers and snowboarders.

"I'm excited to see how the extra room accommodates the flow of guests," Kellett said. "It's only going to get bigger and better."

Of course, no ski resort would be complete without its loyal guests, who return each year for skiing and snowboarding.

Alex Whinston, 24, and Mackenzie Wollert, 21, both students at Paul Smith's College, have skied and snowboarded at Whiteface for years.

"Last year I skied 80 days," Wollert said.

Whinston said he likes skiing Whiteface because it provides a level of challenge.

"I used to ski at Yawgoo Valley [Rhode Island], but it was nothing too intense."

He called Whiteface "rugged," and Wollert added that its steep slopes and long runs make for a more exciting experience.

It's not just the slopes that have Whinston and Wollert coming back each winter, but all the friends they've made over the seasons.

"Once you start coming here," Wollert said, "you start to know everyone. We call it Party Mountain."

The relationships made also creates some friendly rivalries, and Wollert wants it to be known that he is "the best skier on the mountain."



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