Esther & Whiteface (Winter)

After the previous day’s weather — mild, sunny, and little breeze — I had to take advantage of one more day before heading home. I also discovered that I really like snowshoes, so I hoped for a snow-packed trail.

As the region’s premier ski destination, Whiteface Mountain seemed like a good choice. Indeed it was, as the entire route had plenty of snow and I kept my snowshoes on the entire day.

After doing about 11 miles the day before, and having a 6-hour ride home afterwards, the close combo of Whiteface and Esther fit my plan perfectly. I started from the Atmospheric Science Research Center, which sits at the base of the old ski lift on Marble Mountain.

Like our summer hike of these two, this route starts steep and offers little warm-up. I set a pace just fast enough so I didn’t have to stop, and before long found myself at the junction for Esther Mountain.

Esther is much prettier covered in snow, and all the wet, boggy portions were packed in snow. There are some limited views just short of the summit, where I met the first group of the day.

The climb back to Whiteface is consistent but less steep than the climb up Marble Mountain, and the end is rewarded with phenomenal 360-degree views. This day was extraordinary, with sunset-like colors lingering all afternoon and virtually no wind — a rarity for this summit.

Panoramic view from Whiteface Mountain
Panoramic view from Whiteface Mountain

I marveled in┬áthe views, including a crystal-clear look at Vermont’s Green Mountains, and was back at the car in one hour and twenty minutes. I had enough time to get home before dinner.