THE PROMISE of a snowy winter hinted at in November has turned out to be an empty package under the Christmas tree. The downhill ski resorts closest to the Washington area are open, but skiing is limited to a few beginner or intermediate slopes at most of the areas. The resorts have been able to make some snow at nights, although the mild days and rain have slowed efforts to get fully underway.

Your best hope for full-slope skiing is in the Poconos or west to Seven Springs or south to Snowshoe. Wherever you go, call first.

Here are some of the highlights, limited as they are, of the coming week:

Camelback in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, will hold a racing clinic Sunday through Tuesday. Skiers can register for a single day of the clinic or the entire program by signing up at 8:30 a.m. each day at the Ski School's ticket booth. For more information, contact Nancy Jahre at 717/629-1661.

Most cross-country resorts are packed but their trails are closed to skiiers. (Canaan Valley is the exception.) Some resorts are offering lessons around the lodge for real die-hards.

The good news is that some resorts are offering discounts on lift tickets because the weather has limited the number of trails and slopes they have open. The bad news is that the same number of holiday skiers will probably show up and thus be packed in on fewer slopes.

Here are the conditions at regional ski resorts; only those reporting conditions are listed: