Best local hill for a beginner - 1 day trip
25 posts
12 users
7k+ views
dcmidnight
November 29, 2006
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
Ok first off some intros:

Me: Good intermediate (blue) skier, skiing 30+ years in total. Ski mostly blue runs or greens if my wife and I are hanging out for a few runs and am perfectly happy doing this.
Wife: Beginner, skied a few years, green runs only with one blue (I read the map wrong or as I like to say, the trail map was wrong. Seriously, the Blackcomb map is mismarked!).
Ski Days: 10-15 days a year, most packed into a trip out West to Whistler and a few days usually back home in NH with my dad

Looking for the best local hill that offers the most green runs for her. Like I said, havent done a lot of local skiing in 10+ years so could really use the insight. Hoping to find a place that we can drive there and back in a day (live in Kingstowne/Springfield) to warm up before our trip and also to shake out some new boots.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
November 29, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,693 posts
Liberty and Whitetail are the closest at about 80 mins from you, but they can be pretty crowded on weekends. I like Bryce, VA for what you are talking about. It's about 100 miles via I66 and I81. Usually never too crowded with mild, confidence inducing terrain in a club-like environment, but sufficient for a mellow advanced skier to have an enjoyable day there too. Cheaper lift tickets too.

Everywhere is fine on weekdays.
Bumps
December 9, 2006
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
I agree with Jim. Bryce is a nice little mountain for a day of greens and easy blues. Also check out the house rentals in the area. You may be pleasently surprised at what a weekend in a nice size house will cost you and they even have an abundance of pet friendly places. May entice you to try more than a day.
dcmidnight
October 10, 2007
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
Bumping this up for some 2007 feedback. Last year I only got 12 days in but since that was 3 days more than the previous year I felt good about it. I got my first real powder indoctrination on Whistler last year and everything else "bored me" by comparison. How a 5000 ft top to bottom run can be made to seem boring is hard to believe but there it is. My wife did 6 straight days of skiing and really loved it.

So as a result, this year we have decided to take better advantage of our generous time off (each get @ 6 weeks) and do some day trips during the week, like say on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, in hopes of eliminating the crowds. I just wont ski anymore on Saturdays around here as to me personally its not worth the hassle.

Are there any local resorts that offer midweek specials like 2 for 1s? Is Bryce still a good option this year?
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki
JimK - DCSki Columnist
October 10, 2007
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,693 posts
Here are a few recommendations at three hours from N. Va, a bit far for day trip, but not if you've got a partner to share driving:
-Wisp, many nice (if shortish) intermediate runs and believe they do a discount special on Wednesdays,
-Blue Knob, quite affordable on weekdays, tougher terrain.
-Wintergreen, not sure about midweek bargains, but nice assortment of runs with great snowmaking
-Seven Springs, maybe 3:15 hrs, venerable resort with good variety of (shortish) runs, must drive crummy stretch of PA Turnpike.
As you may know two of the best close options are Whitetail (solid intermediates can do fast cruising here) and Liberty, about 75-80 mins, they and Roundtop (another 15 mins farther) share an "advantage card" that gets you good discounts, esp midweek.
I like Bryce (two hours) and it will offer bargains during midweek, but it might bore you after WB. As implied by the original title of this thread it's best for novices and mellow intermediates who must ski on weekends and want a low key, confidence building environment.

Hope some others will chime in with alternate views.
tromano
October 10, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
If you hit it on a non holiday period day Whitetail is the closest and probably best. It softens up nicely in the afternoons mid season because of southern exposure.

I would forget Liberty and Roundtop.

If you want a 2.5-3.5 hour ride from the DC area then that opens up Blue Knob--which I wouldn't recommend for a beginner(typically colder, worse snow conditions, questionable rental program and instruction), Wisp, 7Springs, hidden valley, Tline and Cannan. Any of those last 4 would be good for a beginnner. Especially 7Springs which has tons of long green cruisers.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
October 10, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
Interesting comment about 7Springs and green trails. To me, Seven Springs is not the best beginner area around. The main two greens coming down to the lodge are narrow, usually crowded with a mix of newbees and speeding hotshot skiers who have no regard for the beginners, just want to get to the bottom as fast as possible.
For greens and easy blues I would recommend Wintergreen, Bryce, TLine and Snowshoe. The green trails to far right side of the basin network (looking up) are new, wide, curve, undulate, and have a western feeling.
And let me add that Massanutten has some cruiser blues.
My two cents worth,
The Colonel
dcmidnight
October 11, 2007
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
Thanks Colonel. We live in Kingstowne so anything in VA is going to be much easier for us to get to on a weekday than fighting Beltway traffic to get up into MD.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
October 11, 2007
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,693 posts
In case you forgot, I believe all the Snowtime Resorts, definitely Whitetail, sell the flex ticket so you can drive up at 9am ski for any four or eight hour period and avoid worst of AM rush hour.
Massanutten is worth a visit too, esp on weekdays when it will be empty.
jb714
October 11, 2007
Member since 03/4/2003 🔗
294 posts
 Quote:
Interesting comment about 7Springs and green trails. To me, Seven Springs is not the best beginner area around. The main two greens coming down to the lodge are narrow, usually crowded with a mix of newbees and speeding hotshot skiers who have no regard for the beginners, just want to get to the bottom as fast as possible.


Colonel - what you are saying is absolutely true about the greens on the lodge side, the two that merge essentially onto the bottom of Wagner. On the NF side there are two long greens - Lost Boy on the skier's right side of the NF; and Lost Girl on the skier's far left side of the entire NF complex. Both are long (roughly a mile or more, I'd estimate) and forgiving, and neither dumps onto a kamikaze area like the two on the lodge side. It is possible, though that with the new Gunnar 6-pack lift that Lost Girl will be more crowded this season due to the increased lift capacity - but that may also be true of Gunnar, Yodeler, etc, as well - only time will tell.
kwillg6
October 11, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
Wow. If you are looking to do mid week, I'm envious cuz most of us have to work and the hills/lifts are empty mid week. I don't know what is offered yet, but usually you can pick up on any number of specials including very inexpensive season passes for mid week. I do suggest that you take a mid week trip to the poconos. In a very small geographic area you have a wide variety of resorts, with each giving the skier a different experience. My wife and I used to do this annually and do Jack Frost, Camelback, what used to be called Montage, and Elk Mtn. It's a 4/5 hour drive from north or central VA and there is an abundance of inexpensive lodging mid week in the area.
k_alice
October 11, 2007
Member since 11/22/2005 🔗
92 posts
[quote=JimK]
-Wintergreen, not sure about midweek bargains, but nice assortment of runs with great snowmaking

I think that Wintergreen has a good midweek deal: their midweek season pass is pretty reasonable (on sale on the web now for $209, or $199 for last year passholders) and it's valid for any day until mid-December, and after that every day except Saturday (all day) and Sunday until 12:30. So you can ski Sunday afternoons, which is what I do mostly. If you have time during the week, you'll have no lines whatsoever, nop-notch snowmaking, and great views.
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
October 11, 2007
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
832 posts
I would not endorse Wintergreen for this purpose. The 2 green trails have no variety, the absolute beginners double chair is really lousy, the new magic carpet beginners area is way off from anywhere else. The standard green runs are separated from the blue and black, so if you have two different abilities you won't see each other. Wintergreen is great if you have a group of good blue skiers who can tackle the rest of the mountain with good slopes like tyro, tequila, acorn, and turkey that make a really nice progression, so as soon as she moves up go there. She might already be ready for Tyro. Don't get me wrong, I like WG and ski there a lot more than anywhere else, but it's for the proximity and the highlands slopes.

If you can manage the drive, Timberline has the best single green slope in the area, by far, imo. Mid-week you will have the place to yourself - well actually just about any place, but that's more important at tline since you won't notice the creaky lifts so badly if you are not waiting in line.

have fun.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
October 11, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
You can spend many days at Jack Frost and not get bored despite the 600+/- feet of vertical.
And both Jack Frost and Camelback used to have fantastic childrens ski school, even mid week. One of the resorts even hired a former elementary teacher to head the childrens ski school.
The Colonel \:\)
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
October 11, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
Re comment about TLine green trails...yes, Salamander is long, but if the wind is blowing from the wintery NW even a good skier is slowed to a crawl by the upslope wind, especially at the big bend left near the top. For a true beginner, tentatively making way down the mountain, the blowing wind must be a nightmare.
The Colonel \:\)
tromano
October 12, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
For a midweek ski day... Make it whitetail. 90 minutes from Tysons Corner. Other than that, Cannan Valley areas are pretty close when you are in VA.
dcmidnight
October 12, 2007
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
Thanks for all of the continued suggestions and comments.

Canaan Valley looks like its about 4 hours from my place so thats not terribly close unfortunately. Probably will be sticking to places within two hours or so.
lightguy
October 19, 2007
Member since 10/11/2005 🔗
19 posts
DCMidnight, I live outside of Leesburg. Here's my advice for reaching the WVA or PA resorts. for either, take the beltway or back roads over to the toll road (or Route 7 if it's not a busy time of day and you want to save the toll). Go all the way to the end of the toll road at Leesburg (about 30 min. from tysons). You'll end up on the Route 7/15 bypass around Leesburg.

To go to the WVA resorts- Take 7 west to winchester (around 45 min from Leesburg). Take I-81 south about 10 miles to 55 west. You can google the directions from there. I think it should be less than 4 hours.

To the PA resorts. Take 7/15 east. Just stay on the road and don't do anything and you'll be in frederick MD in about 35 min. keep going for Roundtop or Liberty.

Personally, I grew up near WISP and learned to ski there- so I make the trip alot. With their massive snowmaking and all their new trails and new and upgraded lifts (5 triples, 2 quads), I think beginners (and anyone else) should take a real look there. I can be at Wisp (west to Winchester then 522N and back roads to Cumberland, MD and I-68W to 219S to the lake) from my house outside of Leesburg in under 3 hours- probably closer to 2 hr 45 min.
crunchy
October 20, 2007
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: dcmidnight
Thanks for all of the continued suggestions and comments.

Canaan Valley looks like its about 4 hours from my place so thats not terribly close unfortunately. Probably will be sticking to places within two hours or so.


yeah, you said you live in springfield, so CV areas might be a hike for a day trip. (recommended for a weekender tho!) I think Colonel lives close to you, so he could probably give the best advice on travel times \:\) Personally, I'll take Liberty over Whitetail any day of the week. I think the lines are a little shorter, it has more character and the snow might be better since the hills aren't south facing \:\)
dcmidnight
October 22, 2007
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
Thanks Jim/bumps. Bryce may fit the bill early on because its barely 90 min from where I work. A midweek season pass is only $175 which is pretty cheap in the grand scheme of things.
Straight Shot
October 22, 2007
Member since 08/16/2007 🔗
53 posts
Whatever you do, listen to the others and don't take your wife (or even yourself sometimes) to 7 springs on a weekend. Yes, the resort is great and has brought a ton of new improvements to the mtn, but when it comes to safety, they average 80-100 accidents a day on a weekend. Even during the midweek, late season, with only about 20 people skiing, my friend was waiting at the bottom of the 6 pack with nobody else around him. One out of control skier came down the hill and was attracted to him like a magnet and ran into him, despite the overabundance of room at that very moment.
dcmidnight
October 23, 2007
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
Thanks SS, I plan on doing 99% of my skiing midweek.
tromano
October 23, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
I was a pass holder at SS for the past 3 years. My wife got hit from behind while skiing by some out of control jerk and screwed up her shoulder about 2 years ago. Its like most places in the east. You need to have eyes in the back of your head on a crowded holiday weekend.

Springsregular is a patrolman there and will be able to know what the numbers are. But I would say that I would tell you its a rare weekend where I wouldn't see the heli fly in at least once during the day. Mid week it is really quiet and much less crowded.
crunchy
October 23, 2007
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: tromano
its a rare weekend where I wouldn't see the heli fly in at least once during the day


damn! they got heli-skiing at 7S? \:\)
Straight Shot
October 23, 2007
Member since 08/16/2007 🔗
53 posts
no, the local med-evac unit to fly out seriously injured skiers and rideers. It's pretty common there. We had one all season last year at HV and it was a fellow instructor who fell off a lift carrying race gates.
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.14 seconds