I was thinking it would be edifying to get to know the attractions and businesses in my area a bit better – get to the bones of why I think some of these places are so cool, and maybe learn a little about what kinds of neat folks are behind the scenes. Thought maybe I could ask around, do some research, and write a post or two. And then I was thinking … I might as well just call them and ask. Which brings us to a new blog feature – Assignment Adirondacks. Each week, I’ll be talking with some of our awesome Adirondack shop owners, folks at area attractions, and some friends from just-plain-cool places-to-be.
Today’s guest is Bridget Hinman, from the ski center at Whiteface Mountain.
Who are you, what’s your job, and why do you love living in the North Country?
I’m Bridget Hinman, Marketing Manager at Whiteface Mountain.
I love that every time I leave here I can’t wait to get back. I love that even on the worst miserable days, seeing the clouds hang low in the mountains is still so magical. I love that The Little Supermarket in Wilmington is referred to as Roy’s. I love the people, the fact that there is so much to do you can’t fit it all in a day, the fact that as a local you know an athlete’s sport before they can tell you. Once you love the North Country, it is with you forever.
Any amusing anecdotes? Funny things that have happened on the mountain?
My nickname with the Park and Pipe crew is Avalanche. I tried to sit on the start hill during World Cup Snowboard one year. I turned to sit down … and just started to slide. By the time all was said and done, a couple of kids ended up on top of me at the end of this impromptu ride. It was a little embarrassing. Even the athletes were cracking up.
How is Whiteface different from other ski areas? What makes it special?
The fact that this mountain will remain relatively unchanged forever is amazing to me. I love it that we will never have condos and overdevelopment here. I also think the level of skiing and riding on the mountain is amazing. We have beautiful carving happening on a daily basis. But of course, our main difference is our vertical and elevation!
I think of Whiteface as a “real-life” rough-and-tumble ski center. I tend to like low-pressure snow activities. What do you have for us snow-newbies and ski-chickens over there?
We actually have a pretty awesome Parallel From the Start program, and Burton’s Learn to Ride program. Parallel From the Start teaches skiing on short skis, and really is a super quick way to gain confidence and skill. It was developed by our Ski School Director Ed Kreil. He’s a hoot, and is so passionate about teaching folks to ski.
My most favorite message for folks is “Just enjoy being outside!” At the end of the day folks should walk away with a euphoric level of happiness, psyched that they chose to be outside instead of watching a Lifetime movie and hating winter. Also, downhill skiing is the only winter sport that involves a full bar, and the opportunity to completely embellish your day … and tell everyone you rocked Cloudspin! (Of course, you were on Wolf, but who’s keeping track?)
I’ve always wondered – What exactly is snow-making, and how does it work? Can I do it at home? I mean, I have a hose and a nozzle with a mister and all.
This is a good one! Snowmaking is the combination of compressed air and water. I suppose you could try to aim your kitchen sprayer with a compressed air pump … but the easier thing to do would be to take a cup of water and throw it in the air when temps are around zero. It immediately turns to snow! It’s so cool! At Whiteface, we have massive air compressors. Back in the day, we were the first mountain to use snowmaking in an Olympics! Those old school compressors were updated two years ago.
In my book, lodges and food are as important as the mountain is! What’s the most awesome thing about Whiteface’s base lodge? And while we’re on the subject, what’s your favorite item served there? I mean, totally the most delicious, absurdly good menu item.
The very best thing is our coffee shop … I just think it is a really cozy little room. One of my favorite items is the quesadilla at mid-station. It’s large enough for two people to split, and I think it’s a great deal (and really delicious). My most favorite is the Adirondack Salad with dried cranberries and walnuts, with a delicious maple basalmic vinaigrette … awesome!!!
We’re in the process of making some major improvements to our food service areas for this winter – adding a Burrito Bar to the Cloudspin, more efficient changes at mid-station, some additional seating at Boules. It’s pretty sweet. Also, my 6 year-old dream of opening up the entrance of the cafeteria is finally coming true! That will definitely help our traffic flow in that area.
Since you are totally cool, and we both use the word “awesome” way too frequently, I think we might enjoy a lot of the same things. I wonder if you can you recommend a few local restaurants or shops that I should totally check out?
I try super hard to support local restaurants and shops. My favorites are Lisa G’s, Downtown Diner (their Tuesday dinners are super fun), Café Rustica on fancy nights out, Maggie’s Pub at the Lake Placid Lodge has been a recent favorite … Oh, shoot! I think I just discovered where my extra 10 pounds going into this season just came from!
I have to say bravo to the area restaurants for the locals’ nights. I am excited to check out the Boathouse locals’ night soon. Overall (not to be too diplomatic here) I really like to try a sampling of many restaurants. Wilderness Inn and McDougals in Wilmington are favorites too! I love it when friends in the suburbs refer to chain restaurants, and I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
For shops, I love Bookstore Plus, and Where Did you Get That Hat has some really cool funky kids clothes that have been perfect for gifts. I love the Jay Craft Center for wedding presents. I’ve been enjoying Zumba classes at the Art Center followed by Saturday shopping on Main Street in Lake Placid. What a perfect day!
Thanks, Bridget! What do we say, friends? Awesome! I’m totally heat-taping my garden hose and making some snow this winter. If I go missing for a few days or skip a post or two, chances are you’ll be able to find me camped out over at the coffee shop on Whiteface.!