Another option is Seven Springs - bigger ski area but more limited options re: housing.
I don't know when you're thinking about going, but if you're talking pre-New Years, the choice is limited. IMHO, Snowshoe is tops for quality and quantity of snow, if you can bear the 4.5 hours to get there. Accomodations at the "Shoe" can range from spartan to luxurious. I would say that you can also get some good beginner skiing later on in the season at Whitetail (1.5 hrs from DC) and Canaan/Timberline (2.5 hrs from DC), and the Canaan area has quite an inventory of available housing. As far as the other areas, and personally, anything less than 600 vertical isn't worth the lift waits. That's not to say they're not good, but after spending a weekend at Wisp and getting an average of one ride per hour, I've given up on them.
If you can get your hands on the December issue of Recreation News, published for the DC area Federal Government employees (no web site, but their email is Recreation_News@mcimail.com), they have an excellent article that rates the DC-area in categories such as challenging trails, beginner runs, uphill transport, etc. The by-line on the article names John Phillips as the author of the Mid-Atlantic Winter Sports Guide published by Beechway Press.
[This message has been edited by lbotta (edited 12-15-1999).]
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