I went to Whiteface in early January and it had "spring-like" conditions to say the least. Many slopes were closed, and the ones that were open were icy with barespots in many places. That's not to say that the skiing was extremely bad, but make sure that your skis are sharpened to catch on the ice and beware of the snowblowers.
The benefit of Whiteface is that it is a serious ski resort with great travel deals. If you can get a mid-week special that includes lodging and ticket, you really get a good deal. Lake Placid is a great town, and the natural environment is just wonderful. But don't expect Vail.