Where to go?
8 posts
5 users
1k+ views
(Anonymous)
September 11, 2000
I'm trying to plan a local ski trip for a group of freinds (about 15) in late January. We are all intermediate to advanced/expert and are looking for a viable option to Snowshoe--no one is excited about driving 5/6 hours.

Can someone please recommend some resorts that:

1) are 2-4 hours from DC/Bethesda
2) have atleast 25+ trails
2) offer a variety of terrain (30/40/30)
3) will have favorable late Jan. conditions
4) have some nightlife

We are just looking for someplace that will be fun. Last year we went to Wisp and this year we're hoping for a little more mountain.

I sincerely look forward to some suggestions.

THANKS! Nols

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
September 13, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Hi Nols

Let's see-- your criteria is as follows:
1) are 2-4 hours from DC/Bethesda
2) have atleast 25+ trails
2) offer a variety of terrain (30/40/30)
3) will have favorable late Jan. conditions
4) have some nightlife

1) are 2-4 hours from DC/Bethesda
That would include the following:
a. Liberty
b. Roundtop
c. Whitetail
d. Wintergreen
e. Massanutten
f. Bryce
g. Timberline
h. Canaan
i. Wisp
j. 7-Spring
k. Laurel
l. Hidden Valley
m. Blue Knob

2. have at least 25+ trails
That takes away a bunch.
a. Liberty 16
b. Roundtop 15
c. Whitetail 17
d. Wintergreen 19
e. Massanutten 14
f. Bryce 8
g. Timberline 35
h. Canaan 34
i. Wisp 23
j. 7-Spring 31
k. Laurel 20
l. Hidden Valley 25
m. Blue Knob 34

So the list narrows down as follows:
g. Timberline 35
h. Canaan 34
i. Wisp 23
j. 7-Spring 31
l. Hidden Valley 25
m. Blue Knob 34

2) offer a variety of terrain (30/40/30)
Not too hard. Just about all do (notice mix of % and hard numbers):
g. Timberline 16/10/9
h. Canaan 10/14/10
i. Wisp 20%/50%/30%
j. 7-Spring 31 50%/35%/15%
l. Hidden Valley 7/13/5
m. Blue Knob 6/14/14

3) will have favorable late Jan. conditions
Just about all will have natural snow and good snowmaking/grooming because of their location. Natural stuff isn't guaranteed. I've skied all six and think they're all decent by Eastern standards.

4) have some nightlife
Well... we're not talking Killington nor Snowshoe either. So let's see...

g. Timberline and Canaan: Colocated next to each other. Not much of nightlife in Davis WV. They tend to be family resorts and people tend to go home to their rentals or their second homes afterwards. Canaan is a state park. Timberline has a pub that's open at night. If you're looking for a professional, intellectual crowd in the pubs in the surrounding area, you will have to travel far... far....
i. Wisp: You've been there so you can judge for yourself. I do find Wisp to be more jet-setty than some of the other areas, with a steady flow of the DC diplomatic crowd.

j. 7-Spring: Full-fledged resort with several pubs, most of which offer entertainment. Close to Pitsburgh and it attracts a fairly young active crowd. Massage, hot tubs, indoor pools, etc. Weight machines but no free weights. This is an old, well established (70-year-plus) resort with its dedicated clientele.

l. Hidden Valley
Another complete resort. Younger than 7 Springs but also with nightlife and ancilliary activities.

m. Blue Knob
Probably the best terrain in the PA area but lacks in the amenities. We stayed in Altoona when we went there. Couple of nice bars and your local watering holes. If any of you are interested in antiques, the town of Duncansville (sp?) between Altoona and Blue Knob is an antiquer's heaven. Virtually the entire town is one shop after another.

So I hope this is of some help to you. By the way, trave to Snowshoe from DC takes me 4 hours and 15 minutes, non-stop. I do not take I-81 to Stanton (that's 7 hours because of the up/down roads), but go 66 to 81, then off at route 55 to Moorefield and then 28 to Green Bank, where local 66 goes through Cass and then to Snowshoe. Intrawest is building a new road that will cut 20 minutes off the road and leads from the mountain pass from Cass directly into Snowshoe's back side. Hopefully it will open soon because it would make it a just under 4 hour trip.

Lou

JimK - DCSki Columnist
September 15, 2000
Member since 01/14/2004
2,646 posts
Since it looks like terrain is your top interest and nightlife is secondary, I'd say go to Blue Knob, but if it's the other way around I'd say Seven Springs. Blue Knob has the regions longest intermediate trails and some challenging difficult trails (conditions permitting), but zero nightlife. Seven Springs has a considerable base area nightlife & resort amenities (comparable to Snowshoe) and about twice as many trails as Wisp, but none any longer or tougher than those at Wisp.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
September 15, 2000
Member since 01/14/2004
2,646 posts
By the way, Lou's put together a pretty impressive (and accurate) compilation of data. If Nols decides the drive is not all that bad, Snowshoe has the best of both worlds (nightlife and terrain) in the region. Nols sure is an advance trip planner! The diehards come out as soon as the first few leaves start to fall.
myrto
September 18, 2000
Member since 10/4/2001
259 posts
It is never too early to plan. Agroup of us (5 families) tried to get rooms at seven springs january 28th thru the 31st (weekdays and could not get the specific rooms we wanted.
(Anonymous)
September 20, 2000
That list that was compiled is great! Go with Seven Springs though. It offers the best of everything you want. Great skiing, good service, and great nightlife. Blue Knob tends to be sort of icy - I have been there a great deal and have never not seen the "slick" spots. Also there is another mountain that was forgotten - Laurel Mountain which is out by Seven Springs. It just reopened last year with a new lodge and total refurbishment. It had been closed for years. It has great slopes though I am not sure how many - it does have the steepest in PA. As far as nightlife, it has a bar/club under the lodge and even a bar/restaurant on the bottom (it is an upside down mountain - you enter from the top) where you can sit outside and watch the people on the steep slope. Good luck!
snowbird1981
October 11, 2000
Member since 10/11/2000
6 posts
If it were my decision I'd go to 7Springs. The resort is my favorite of all the mid-atlantic (i like it more than snowshoe). Snowshoe is all jumbled. They have the western territory on one side of the mountain, mostly mellow runs on the other side, and the halfpipe and terrain park on a different mountain. It's layout is pitiful.
7springs is all connected. It's expansive, and there's plenty of terrain to ride. By february, the whole mountain should be open, and natural snow should be in the glades.

It's just a fun and interesting mountain. Plenty of steep, fall-line runs, and long cruisers to relax on.

Good luck

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
October 13, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
My bottom line is that first, I'd go to Snowshoe for the clear reason that I own property there. Second, 7-Springs.

I don't consider a sin that I do like upscale places and in this area, as well as in virtually everything else, both are excellent resorts, period. Snowshoe will soon open the Hawthorne areas which expand the Western Territory, and the State will build a new road almost directly to Cass that will cut 20 minutes from the trip from DC. 7-Springs, on the other hand, has an old-time feeling and that classy nostalgia that I can only get in Stowe or Smugglers' Notch. Both are classy, offer plenty of skiing, and a multitude of activities. In both, I can easily get a hamburger the same way that I can go to a four-star restaurant. But in both, advance reservations are a must.

Lou

DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.14 seconds