Not much is open as of now, looking at the websites, and what's open can be described as a ski area token to be able to say "See, we're open"
In my opinion, I tend to look at these for conditions and travel time:
Timberline -- 2.5 hrs (open)
Canaan -- 2.5 hrs (open)
Whitetail -- 1.5 hrs (Not yet open)
Massanutten -- 2 hrs (they say open)
Wintergreen -- 3 hrs (they say open)
Liberty -- 1 hr (Noy yet open)
Wisp -- 3 hr (open) if you can wait and wait...
If you have more than one person to share the drive or can make it a weekend, Snowshoe has about the best conditions even though it is further South, but it because of the altitude and location, it can get dumped on. Snowshoe can be as near as a 4 hour drive or as far as a 7 hour drive depending on the route.
Again, in my opinion and only in my opinion, I will not return to Wisp (3 hours and it is open). Tried twice it and it's not worth the 3+ hour drive for the 600 foot vertical and the interrrrrrminable lines. I'll gladly return when they put in some detached quads. It does have some challenging black diamonds, though.
Wintergreen has about the best safety separation of novices from experts. To access their three main black diamonds, you must go through sort of a (diamond) chute called Devils Elbow which allows access to the lift. I've seen people (snowplowers) intercepted and directed towards the normal blue and green runs. It's a safe thing to do and that's why I like it.
I like Canaan/Timberline for the variety, they're right next to each other, have about 1,000 vertical each, and Timberline can be challenging.
Never been to Liberty, as Whitetail was always open and I do like Whitetail's additional vertical, although I peaked at Liberty during the summer and I do like their lift capacity and their closeness to DC. Having a pup, I don't want to go too far. With my new job, I will be going to Liberty after work on several days.
[This message has been edited by lbotta (edited 12-20-1999).]