Was my home mountain for 4 years (I went to college nearby). Great spot.
You're right - it does get very icy and windswept in January and part of February (not to mention, cold). End of Feb or early-mid March is the best time to go. I was never able to do the slides in the four years I rode there, and I was riding almost every weekend in the winter.
When there is snow, its fantastic. It's got the most vertical in the east (I think).
It's a more nuts-and-bolts kind of mountain, meaning there isn't a lot of fluff like you see at Stratton or Mount Snow. People go there to ski/ride. Period. There are no slopeside condos or nearby hotels, with the exception of a few mangy motels and Lake Placid, which is basically the size of Stratton Village. Still a great town though - I'd stay there if I were you.
The mountain is not terribly challenging when compared to other Northeast mountains. Its definitely steeper in spots but an intermediate rider will have no probably getting top to bottom. A novice rider may have more trouble, but nothing too bad.
Lock your board though. Mine was stolen there once.