Steve, answering your queries - here's my scoop:
1. There is a cell phone antenna on the Western side of the resort. It is an ATT/Cingular antenna. My friends with Nextel have also been able to have reception there. You should be able to have reception at Whistlepunk as you will be right on the other side. Especially if you're on the upper floors.
2. Restaurants: No one mentioned the new entry, Ember, fully accessible by the shuttle service. Rather than a narrative, I'll address each one:
1. Mountain top, first prize: Ember (reservations 304-571-1111). This one gets Lou's four-star rating. Brian Ball's creation last year, awesome place in the first floor of the Soaring Eagle Lodge. You'd think you're in New York's Soho, Philly's Olde City, or DC's U STreet Corridor, not at Snowshoe. Kitchen is open until 2230 on weekends. Has a sushi bar, and the food is exquisite. Upscale clientele, average bill including drinks is about $50. This is the ONLY place topside that takes reservations. The Marketplace next door sells unusual and exotic jams, breads, and delicacies. The only place within 120 miles of Snowshoe where you can get fresh baguettes and homemade, fresh, rosemary and olive tapenade.
2. The Foxfire. Another of Brian's (run by his ex-wife) creations. Lou's three and a half stars only because of the wait. In the village at the end of the Rimfire condo. Spectacular views for Western-seated tables. No reservations. But you can get seated without a wait if you plan dinner at around 1700-1800. After that, forget it. I don't wait for tables, so other than the bar, I never eat there on weekends. The food is upscale redneck with class. Barbecue-flavored ahi tuna, for example, on wasabe udon noodles. Their Barbequesadillas are the rage. The bar has an excellent collection of West Virginia microbrews. Friendly staff. The manager, Chad, is very responsive to his clients. For top service, ask for Amanda, she's been at that business for about ten years. About $30 per person with wine/beer.
3. The Bistro: Run by a Charlotte, NC-based concern. At the Village, ground floor of Allegheny Springs. Lou's three-star rating. A more upscale TGIF or Ruby Tuesdays. Excellent ahi tuna appetizers, their Asian Chicken dinner salad is my favorite. Their Filet Mignon is fork-cutting tender for a reasonably good price. They also have a few seafood specialties, all of them good to excellent, including a finger-licking salmon. Overall: Good, appetizing American style food. With wine, about $30 per person. Also the place to go for a late lunch if you want to ski during the 1100-1200 lunch lull and then have lunch. Great burgers and club sandwiches. The Bistro is also the place for Sunday Brunch, great Eggs Benedict.
4. The Junction: On the Village, at Highland House. Lou's half a star. It is a high-priced, McDonald's wannabe. My humble apologies to McDonald's... I used to say that the Junction was the place you went to, if you wanted to see how our immigrant ancestors were treated at Ellis Island. Intrawest is a great developer, but their restaurants generally emulate a giant vaccuum cleaner - if you catch my drift, and the Junction is no exception. They have some really nice, eager to serve employees, mismanaged to oblivion by the historically callous management of the place. What gets my goat the most about the Junction is that they have a Gestapo-like rule about their breakfast service that exemplifies their attitude towards their customers. At 1100 they stop serving breakfast on Sunday. Hello?! Most people begin the day at that time on Sunday, or go for Sunday Brunch. And besides, what's so disruptive about throwing a couple of eggs on a hot oiled pan? I make the point every so often and go there ten minutes after their "official" end of the breakfast just to prove the point. Then invariably, I end up in an argument with the manager about how he thinks inconceivable that people would dear want eggs at 1110 in the morning and how dear a customer wants food prepared in any other way than the chef desires to prepare it. Fortunately, the Bistro, accross the walk, has caught on and they take the Junction's Sunday business away, by offering several brunch selections including Eggs Benedict. The only reason for going to the Junction is if all the other restaurants have disappeared from Snowshoe, you've run out of food at your condo, and you're resorting to either eating the leather out of the sofa or eating at the Junction.
5. Auntie Pasta: At the Village, but in the lower floor of the Convention Center. Lou's two and a half stars. No reservations. Auntie Pasta used to be Snowshoe's oldest eatery, in the space now occupied by the Seneca Lodge, and the name is dear in the hearts of many old-timers at the 'Shoe. No reservations. Like the menu says, Italian. Go early. But expect generally good, hearty and appetizing food, if sometimes a bit institutional. Friendly service. Excellent views on a late afternoon/early evening.
6. Cheat Mountain Pizza House: Has turned into a good standby. Great luncheon place and convenient easy and uncomplicated dinner. Pizzas are amazingly good, perhaps because I am invariably famished whenever I'm there... Really, they are good. So are their calzones. Incredible beer selection. Service is spotty when busy but expected for the price and the locale. But the food makes up for it.
7. Red Rover: Brand new this year. I haven't been yet when it was open, but been told: Boar sausages, hot dogs, sausages from everywhere. Even a veggie entree. Totally casual. Next to the Foxfire Grille. Consider that it is a Brian Ball creation, it WILL be good.
8. Shaver's Center Cafeteria: Only for Breakfast and lunch. Used to be a decrepit cafeteria serving greasy hamburgers. I was totally surprised this year they transformed the place into an upscale cafeteria with new appliances, a new, healthy selection of lunch entrees, and cooked-on-site soups and stews. Noticeably absent is the No.10 can taste. Pleasant improvement! They are open for dinner too, although I can't attest to their quality.
9. Brandy's at the base of the mountain, the Inn at Snowshoe. Lou's two-and-a-half stars. Old standby with generally good selections and a long-standing reputation for quality. New York Strip is what I vividly remember of the place last year. Good bar. Nice place to take your children, especially if the mountain top places are busier than an old Soviet breadline.
1. Elk River: At the Elk River Touring Center http://www.ertc.com/
Lou's four stars. Six miles from the base of Snowshoe, ERTC has one of the best restaurants in West Virginia. Casual, classy, outstanding food. Reservations required and if you are a walk-in, they may serve you, but would rather turn you away than give everyone else crummy service and food. The Elk River is great faire, period. Their local rainbow trout is incredible. Roasted duck... yummy. I also tried their Panang Curry Salmon. A delight. And a cast of all homemade desserts that will make any "Biggest Loser" contestant leave the show. Despite the awesome service and food, included wine, we left with monetary damage less than $40 per person. You can even make a reservation online at https://www185.safesecureweb.com/Reserve/Reserve/registration.cfm?type=Dinner
2. Brazen Head Inn: http://brazenheadinn.com/
Six miles to the North of the base of Snowshoe, in little 'ole Mingo. Lou's three stars. First, about one of the most congenial inns you can visit. It has become a center of Celtic music for West Virginia and, if they have an event during MLK weekend, when you're there, it may be wise to bring the kids to dinner and music. It will be unforgettable. In one of my visits about a year after it opened, there was a jam session with a group of octogenarian gospel singers coming out of nowhere, and I had a knot in my throat for most of the evening, as I realized that in this wonderful country of ours, I was witnessing something that was rapidly becoming extinct, and that some of the sweetest most memorable music I had ever heard, from these nice old folk would be soon silenced as time and generations pass away. They have a musical calendar in their web site. As far as their food, it is genuinely good hearty Celtic infused West Virginia. Paddy Cakes, Roast Beef and Cabbage, and others, are the heart of their cooking. No big frills, reservations required. Total family style and family dedicated.
Anyway, my best wishes for a great holiday!!!