Where to ski in VA
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lbotta - DCSki Supporter 
September 28, 2003
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,534 posts
Hi there Snow... Hope the hurricane didn't have your skis float away. You guys certainly got it bad out there. I am in Richmond now with the response effort. It will take months to get the place back in order...

From Chesapeake, the most accessible areas to the West for you are 1) Wintergreen, 2) Massanutten, and 3) Snowshoe. Wintergreen is "old money" (has its own Per Diem rate for the Government), nicely groomed slopes, and the best part: The blues, blacks and greens are more or less distinctly separated. As far as the steepness, I will tell you that their Black Runs are probably good Blues. It is not, not does it intend to be, Bridger Bowl or even Stowe. However, you can certainly have a very good time at Wintergreen.

Massanutten: I found the slopes a bit steeper and challenging than Wingergreen... if you can put up with overcrowding and rude people. Both in terms of development of the land and the clientele, it loses. As Intrawest has artificially "upscaled" Snowshoe by jacking up the price of lift tickets and lodging, Massanutten has been the recipient of some of the crowd and my last time in Massanutten, I swore it would be my last. Even their slopes are named for remnants of the Confederacy, giving it a redneck flavor throughout...

Snowshoe (almost 6 hours) has the most terrain and if you look at Lower Shay's, it is definitely a double black, although the front side of Snowshoe is comprised of amiable blues.

An hour North of Snowshoe you can also find Canaan and Timberline, both quite nice and in the case of Timberline, has more challenging terrain than much of Snowshoe although a little bit on the vertical side.

If you can stomach the 7-hour haul, I found that Blue Knob near Altoona PA has some tree-filled double blacks that will impress anyone. The entire resort is only Blues and Blacks, so if you come with friends that expect the greenies, you will bore them. The Extrovert Trail is a Sony Bono in the making with trees all over the place and a scary steep. IF they have a good snow cover, you can have a blast. Blue Knob is an undiscovered paradise although the infrastructure is not as well developed.


September 28, 2003
Member since 05/13/2003 🔗
317 posts
As another former Tahoe skier transplanted to the DC area, I generally agree with lbotta's assessment, with one caveat: avoid Wintergreen unless you can go midweek. The weekend crowds are horrific and even the "double blacks" (which are indeed blues out West) get too many yahoos picking their way down, usually on their backsides.

If slope difficulty and snow quality is what you are after, definitely you'll need to hack the 6-7 hour drive to Snowshoe or Canaan Valley. As others have explained on this forum, you really need to get to the west side of the Alleghenies to get reliably good snow and occasional powder. And look at it this way: compared to Sierra Cement, the (occasional) powder here could seem dry!

September 28, 2003
Member since 09/28/2003 🔗
16 posts
Thanks for all the info. It looks like I will have to suck it up and make a longer drive to get some good skiing in. Again thanks for the info.

P.S. My skis were right next to me through the whole storm! It was pretty tough, a lot worst then expected. On the bright side, it's almost to rip!!!

September 28, 2003
Member since 01/2/2003 🔗
56 posts
I concur with some of what has been said, but the closest decent skiing is Timberline in WV. It is 2.5 hrs closer than Snowshoe which, in my opinion, is not worth the extra time. IMO Snowshoe is extremely over-rated and is best for lower level skiers. Timberline is as close to New England skiing as you will get down here. Another nice mountain is Seven Springs in W. PA.

I make a few weekend trips per year to southern Vermont which is a 7-8 hour drive, and worth the drive.

September 28, 2003
Member since 04/1/2000 🔗
198 posts
1) Drive to BWI.
2) Get on a plane.
3) Fly to Salt Lake City. Or Denver. Or Reno. Or Austria.


September 29, 2003
Member since 09/28/2003 🔗
16 posts
Help! Just moved from CA diehard Squaw Valley skier in LT. I am in the chesapeake area now and looking for a home resort. I looked at wintergreen closet to me I think. Are the double blacks there real double blacks. I know the ratings vary based on the resort itself. I just need to know where I can go to get the most challening terrain possible. For every weekend ski trips. Thanks!
September 29, 2003
Member since 12/12/2000 🔗
274 posts
hey snow1214, i moved out to the dc-area a few years ago from utah. after my first time skiing out here (at skiliberty) i retired my skis for good, and learned how to snowboard. nothing against liberty (we had a fine time) but the terrain just isnt much of a challenge. but the snowboarding is great. i usually go to whitetail because it is close (about 90 minutes from my house in no-virginia) and lately the terrain park has been outstanding. last year i was there for the presidents day snow-dump. two feet of freshies.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter 
September 29, 2003
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,534 posts
Now we're talking. Over the past five years, I've been going to Europe every year. Let's put it this way, skiing on the side of the Matterhorn between Switzerland and Cervinia is one of the most fantastic views on the face of the earth. And skiing Zermatt, with almost 5 thousand vertical, can either be a smooth run or a neck-breaking adventure. Besides, cheaper than Utah or Colorado - and that includes the transportation, much less attitude, much more worldly people with better customer service and more open minds, and who don't care where you drink or IF you drink.
September 29, 2003
For a quick fix, I go night skiing at Ski Liberty or Roundtop. Whitetail's slopes face south and tend to ice up at night. Liberty, Roundtop and Whitetail have a 4 hour 'flex ticket' which lets us ski any 4 hour period. Timberline has the best terrain within 3.5 hours drive. I have a condo at Hidden Valley Resort which is a 1/2 hour drive to Seven Springs and Laurel Mountain and not too far from Wisp Resort. Thus I can ski 4 resorts. However, you probably would find Wisp and Hidden valley to be a bore, although these resorts received almost 200 inches of the white stuff this year. Thus if you want decent snow locally you have to head up into the Appalchain, Allegheny or Laurel Mountains where lake effect snow provides some good snow conditions. I have never been to Snowwhoe since it is a 6.5 hour drive from Baltimore and I can be in southern Vermont in 7 hours where Mt.Snow and Stratton have about 2,000' vertical. Given what your used to I would suggest these southern Vermont resorts. New England resorts and adjacent areas have a charm that just does not exist out West.
September 29, 2003
Member since 09/28/2003 🔗
16 posts
Thanks this info is great.

I will have to also concur with just hop on a plane and all problems will be solved.

I checked out the resorts trailmaps that were mentioned and Blue Knob and Timberline both have glades So I guess that will be cool...At this point I will settle for what I can get....

But I think that this site is great and it seems like the members here are really cool and helpful..Thanks!

JimK - DCSki Columnist
September 30, 2003
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,938 posts
I pretty much agree with first post from Lou. If you're a cliff jumping extreme type skier from Squaw, you will have to readjust your expectations. Wintergreen would be fine for a warm-up, esp if bringing less capable friends along. Blue Knob, PA has the toughest terrain in the region, but must have good natural snow conditions to open access to some of it. Check this old article I wrote for some info on local steeps:

The toughest in-bounds terrain I've seen in recent years in the East was the Castlerock area of Sugarbush, VT. Many resorts in New England have some decent challenging terrain, even for cliff jumpers.

September 30, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001 🔗
218 posts
> ...Whitetail's slopes face south ...

A lot of people think this, but take a look at Topozone: For the record, WT's slopes go from approx. NE-facing (the neverever slopes) through ENE (the main green slope) to approx SE (most of the blues and blacks). Only the very bottoms of the blue and black slopes to the right (looking up the mtn) of their respective lifts actually curve all the way around to S-facing.

While WT's orientation certainly could be better, its not as if the average orientation for the entire trail system was due south and slopes ranged from SE all the way around to SW-facing.

Tom / PM

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 30, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,984 posts
The Mid-Atlantic certainly is not the West, but you can hone your skills here--especially if you go on some of our more marginal days. Under icey conditions, some of these local trails might kick you.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 09-30-2003).]

October 2, 2003
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
Yes indeedy.

The photographer at my wedding born and raised in CO. Moved here. Became buddies. I tooking him to Whitetail. He (deservedly) bashed it when he saw it. On his third run he hit some ice, went down, broke his collar bone.

Oh well - I snapped mine the next year at Killington.

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