Whiteface was part of the post-World War II growth in recreational skiing attributed to the efforts of returning veterans of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. It is a major ski area, run by the Olympic Regional Development Authority. Known for its big-mountain skiing, Whiteface is consistently ranked as one of the top ski resorts in the Northeast. It was a prime venue of the 1980 Winter Olympics, hosting all six of the alpine ski events. Whiteface regularly hosts major alpine ski events, such as the US Alpine Skiing Championships, most recently in 2010, and is a U.S. Olympic Training Site.
Whiteface’s highest lift unloads at 4,386 feet (1,337 m), a vertical drop of 3,166 ft (965 m) to the base area at 1,220 ft (372 m). Its hike-to terrain, The Slides, is 264 ft (80 m) higher at 4,650 ft (1,417 m), providing Whiteface with the greatest continuous vertical drop in eastern North America at 3,430 feet (1,045 m). Its neighbor, Little Whiteface, tops in elevation at 3,676 ft (1,120 m). Whiteface has a total of 22 miles (35 km) of ski terrain, spread out over 88 trails. 314 acres (127 ha) of skiing area includes 35 in-bounds, off-piste double-black diamond wilderness terrain skiing on “The Slides” (conditions permitting), 85.5 acres (34.6 ha) of tree skiing, 35 acres (14 ha) of expert extreme adventure terrain. The Slides is an unmaintained wilderness area that is rarely open due to safety hazards. They can only be accessed by hiking from the top of the Summit Quad. Whiteface has a separate area for beginners known as Bear Den Mountain (formerly Kids Kampus).
In recent years there have been major improvements in snowmaking and grooming. Whiteface contains 88 trails accessible by one gondola, nine chairlifts, and one conveyor lift. Some 98% of the trails are covered by snowmaking, excluding the glades and the Slides. The Slides are double-black diamond runs that are usually only open at the end of the skiing season due to avalanche danger. They are between 35 and 40 degrees with high natural hazards (such as waterfalls, rocks, cliffs, trees, and variable conditions) vertically for over 1,250 feet (381 m).
The Slides are considered to be one of the most challenging ski slopes that are marked on a trail map in the Northeast.
In summer, Whiteface Mountain offers gondola rides and mountain biking.