Pardon the brief interruption. On Saturday we went skiing at newly re-opened Mt. Waterman ski area and I wanted to blog about it in case other skiiers like us wanted an opinion about it.
The LA Times did an article about it on February 24 and it includes some photos. We forgot our camera, so alas, no photos here.
I was really looking forward to seeing what it would be like, for a few reasons. First, the opportunity to ski so close to home seemed too good to pass up. I know there other places in Southern California we could go, but as the owners of a very old dog whose bladder is sometimes unreliable, we really have to be careful about how long we stay away from home. The Waterman website indicates that it’s 55 minutes from downtown L.A. and we figured we could be there and ready to ski within two hours from Santa Monica. This turned out to be a fairly good estimate, although the trip there at 7am took considerably less time (about an hour and a half) then the traffic-ridden ride home (2+ hours).
Second, when I went to Doc’s Ski Haus to buy skis, everyone there was excited to hear we were going to Waterman. This made me excited we were going to Waterman.
Third, this was a completely spontaneous, unplanned ski day trip, something we’ve never done before. It just sounded like a lot of fun.
So, did Waterman live up to our expectations? Yes and no. Read the LA Times article for more detailed info, but here were our impressions of the resort (and keep in mind the type of skiiers we are–we love the sport but came to it relatively late in life, and enjoy the atmosphere/apres-ski portion of skiing almost as much as the skiing itself).
I’ll start with the pros:
1) The staff there is really nice. You get the feeling that they care about the mountain and want it to be a success.
2) Although there were icy bits in the shaded areas, I liked the snow. It was soft and a bit slushy without being wet. For me, it was easy to ski in.
3) Easy access. The lift is visible from the road. Just park the car, grab your gear, get your ticket and you’re off.
4) No crowds, which was good because the lifts are slow (see below).
5) It is a good place to practice and learn, given how small and (currently) uncrowded it is.
6) Although very short, I thought the intermediate run(s) were fun. I also thought Wallbanger (double black diamond) was a fun run, but honestly, it is way beyond my skill level. It took me a long time to get down and I lost a ski the second time. But if I was more experienced I would’ve really liked it.
7) I liked the atmosphere. It feels friendly and the other skiiers, ski patrol, and staff were helpful (like when I lost my ski, people were shouting advice to my husband, who was in charge of retrieving said ski).
8) Apres-ski at the beach!
Now the cons:
1) It is really small. With only two lifts running, there were a limited amount of runs we could do. This was further decreased by the fact that we are intermediate-level skiiers and some of Waterman’s better runs are black diamond. I can do black diamonds, but this was really challenging (mainly because of bumps). That said, the challenge made me want to continue to improve my skiing!
2) The runs are short, and the lifts are slow. We spent a good deal more time on lifts then we did skiing.
3) Given its size, I thought the lift tickets were too expensive.
Overall, I am very glad we went to Mt. Waterman, because I had a great day. I’d go back, especially if I just wanted to work on some skills and get some practice in. Just remember that it is very small and a bit limited. I look forward to visiting when the third lift is operating and I am a better skiier so I can see what some of those other black runs are like.