A relative newcomer to the Washington, DC ski market, Whitetail was built in 1991 just a few miles north of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. At only a little over one hour by car from the nation's capital, Whitetail averages just 40 inches of snow per year and was built primarily as a day trip mountain.
Whitetail Ski Area
A first rate lift system keeps liftlines relatively short despite its popularity. The lifts, lodges and infrastructure are modern and utilitarian. Whitetail’s brick buildings more resemble an I-95 rest stop than a traditional ski lodge. Non-traditional ski architecture aside, the lodges are quite pleasant, spacious and functional.
The ski area is split into three main pods. On the looker’s left side of the mountain is an express quad which services novice terrain. The middle section of the mountain is home to the vast majority of the resort’s blue terrain, while the looker’s right side of the ski area has all of Whitetail’s black and double black diamond trails. The slopes are lit for night skiing.
One thing worth noting is that Whitetail is located in a dry county. No alcohol is served at the resort or available for purchase in the surrounding area. If coming from DC, be sure to stock up on beer, wine and spirits in Maryland before crossing the Pennsylvania line.
In addition to its 23 trails, Whitetail offers a large snow tubing area which is popular with families.
Beginner Skiing at Whitetail
Beginners at Whitetail have a wide array of options. However, none of the green trails run from the top of the mountain, so beginners will not be able to ski the resort’s full 935′ drop. On the looker’s left side of the mountain, skiers find two lobes of beginner trails. The Liftoff Quad and U-Me Double provide access to the gentler and shorter beginner runs suitable for first time skiers. The EZ Rider Quad serves a larger vertical drop and offers access to Whitetail’s longest and best green trail – Sidewider. Sidewinder wraps gently around a deep basin before returning to the base. None of Whitetail’s green trails will impress strong novice skiers, but there’s plenty to keep true beginners busy for at least a day.
Intermediate Skiing at Whitetail
Whitetail’s features more blue trails and most run from the top of the Whitetail Express Quad – the main uphill option out of the base. These intermediate runs drop the full 935′ vertical and are of first rate quality. All of the main blue runs radiate out from the top of the quad. Though each is varies slightly in pitch and aspect,
Advanced & Expert Skiing at Whitetail
The resort takes great pride in its black diamond and double black diamond offerings. Unique for the region, Whitetail allows at least one of its runs to bump up. As skiers in the Mid-Atlantic can attest, mogul skiing is a rare treat given most resorts’ propensity for grooming.
Whitetail Apres Ski Bars & Restaurants
As a reminder, be aware that Whitetail is in a “dry county,” meaning there is no alcohol served in the restaurants or sold in stores nearby. If looking for a lively apres-ski scene, Whitetail is not recommended.
Whitetail offers on mountain dining options. The main cafeteria, known as The Marketplace offers some of the best cafeteria food in the mid-Atlantic. Truly a cut above the typical ski lodge burger and fries, the Marketplace offers upgraded options like an Asian entree of the day, paninis and even a gluten-free menu.
For waitress service, Windows Restaurant overlooking the slopes serves food similar to the main cafeteria. Whitetail also features a Starbucks coffee shop and delectable sweets from the Almost Heaven bakery.
Whitetail does not have a pedestrian village per se, but given the volume of skier visits the resort handles, there are several base area buildings which contain the resort’s eateries, ski shops, lockers, and ski school.
Accommodation at Whitetail or nearby
There a limited number of condominiums and private houses for rent on the periphery of the resort. However, there is no slopeside hotel as almost all of Whitetail’s visitors are day trippers from the Washington, DC metro area.
Getting to Whitetail
Whitetail is located just over one mile north of the Maryland/Pennslyvania border and is just 15-20 minutes off Interstate 81. The roads to the resort are relatively flat and 4WD is not required in all but the most severe storm. Driving distance and approximate drive time:
Washington, DC – 86 miles / 1 hour 30 minutes
Baltimore, MD – 92 miles / 1 hour 35 minutes
Philadelphia, PA – 190 miles / 3 hours
Whitetail Pros & Cons
+ 935 ft vertical drop is biggest within a short drive of DC
+ Long runs
+ Fast lifts
– Can be crowded at peak times
– Limited natural snowfall
– No liquor license = no apres-ski