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Whiteface conquers blackout on last day

May 11, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

WILMINGTON - Thousands of New York State Electric and Gas customers in Wilmington Jay, Upper Jay, AuSable Forks and Keeseville lost power after the thunder and wind storm Friday night, May 4. The Whiteface Mountain Ski Center was no exception, but that wasn't really an issue.

"It's honestly not a problem," said Maddy Munn, a ski and snowboard instructor, said in regard to the lack of power. "You can still ski, so I can't really complain."

Fellow instructor Caitlin Bloom agreed and said, "I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Saturday in spring."

Article Photos

Minimal trails and a decent amount of mud didn’t stop these skiers from hitting the slopes Saturday, May 5 at Whiteface for one last run of the 2017-18 season.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

The power went out at Whiteface around 11 p.m. Friday night. The plan was to open the mountain for its last day of skiing at 9 a.m. Saturday. The Upper Valley, Lower Valley, Roundabout and Wolf trails were open. A fair amount of antsy skiers and snowboarders just hiked up the mountain instead of waiting for the Face Lift, which crews got up and running off auxiliary power by 10 a.m.

The ATMs were down, so Whiteface crews directed customers with only debit or credit cards to the small hamlet of North Pole about 2 miles down the road.

Whiteface broke records this ski season both in amount of days open (155) and latest day open (May 5.) Prior to this year, the latest day Whiteface was open was May 1 during the 2000-01 season.

"Everybody wants to beat their friends and ski as late as possible," said Mike LeBlanc, assistant general manager at Whiteface. "You can say it's kind of like a bragging rights thing."

Saranac Laker Aaron Kramer was able to ski two styles Saturday: Downhill and water.

He started his day at Whiteface, taking a couple of runs down the slushy snow and mud laden slopes, then later he was towed by a boat on Saranac Lake.

"We had an early start and a late end," Kramer said. "The longer the seasons, the better."

It's skiing, so people wore winter coats and snow pants, but a lot of people took advantage of the 65 degree temperature. Some wore bathing suits. Others wore sombreros in an effort to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Two snowboarders looked like they were copying Hunter S. Thompson - Tropical button downs, khaki short shorts and bucket hats. Another person was dressed like a banana for some reason.

One skier, Jon Ciappa, wore a white tuxedo with a puffy pink shirt underneath. When asked why, he simply said, "Because it's May, and we're still skiing."



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