Located on top of a mountain in the heart of the Alleghenies, Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort definitely qualifies as remote. But it’s less than four hours from Washington, DC.
True confession time: Before I was invited to Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort, I’d never thought once about skiing in West Virginia. Sure, like everyone of my generation I’m familiar with John Denver’s praise of the “mountain mama” but it wouldn’t have occurred to me that I could ski down it.
A southeastern ski mountain
How wrong I was. With a 1500-foot vertical on the second-highest mountain in West Virginia, Snowshoe has legitimate downhill cred. The resort’s 14 lifts do a great job of spreading skiers out across a wide area and getting them to the top quickly. Snowshoe Basin’s six lifts offer lots of nicely groomed, decently long beginner and intermediate trails where you can stretch your legs, including one that’s a mile and a half long.
And expert skiers aren’t left out at Snowshoe. My husband and 8- and 11-year-old sons enjoyed the steep Western Territory, which we heard is left to develop some nice bumps when the conditions are better. Poor conditions also meant we didn’t get to explore the Sawmill or Knot Bumper Glades areas of Snowshoe Basin but there are definitely experts runs to be had in the trees. The resort has 100 percent snowmaking coverage, so if the weather has been cold at all, you’re pretty much guaranteed snow on a decent number of trails. My family visited during a freak January rainy warm spell and still found plenty of skiing to enjoy.
The resort also has five terrain parks. My sons loved practicing their freestyle skills in the progressive park on Snowshoe Basin; on another visit I’m pretty sure they’d insist on spending the better part of a day at the Silver Creek area of the resort, where in addition to more terrain park fun, there’s a five-lane tubing hill to enjoy.
Another fun outdoor option is the guided snowmobile tours. Explore the backcountry area of the resort during the day or check out the Snowshoe Basin trails in the evening, pretending you’re a groomer getting things ready for the next day’s skiing.
A full-service resort
All this outdoor activity is far from the only reason to visit Snowshoe. The Village offers some great dining options that are also worth the drive. You’ll also find equipment rentals, a Starbucks, and plenty of shopping here as well. A favorite with my family was the Mountain Kids shop, which is chock full of toys and games.
Feel like taking it easy? The Spa at Snowshoe offers everything from hot stone massages to bargain-priced spa manicures. Follow up your treatment with a visit to one of the resort’s heated outdoor pools. My family stayed in the centrally located Allegheny Springs building, which has a lovely pool available for guests. And anyone staying in Snowshoe Mountain Lodging can use the sauna and hot tubs at Split Rock Pools in The Village.
Or maybe what you want to do is just sit and relax before a fire or enjoy a family game of cards while sipping a cold beer. Between the resort’s cozy lodges and friendly bars – not to mention the comfortable condos – you should be able to find just the spot to do so.
Snowshoe has a great location that is more convenient for skiers from Baltimore (less than a 5-hour drive), Washington, DC (less than 4 hours), and Charlottesville (less than 3 hours). There is, however, one key thing you need to know about getting to Snowshoe: It sits in the middle of the United States National Radio Quiet Zone. That means at some point on the drive there you’ll lose cell phone reception and your GPS may or may not work. Time to print out directions and pack a paper map.
And although the resort got dispensation from the government to install a micro cellular network on the mountain, your phone may not work in quite the manner to which you are accustomed. Which is all the more reason, as far as I’m concerned, to put your device away, relax, and enjoy this lovely mountain hideaway.
Sponsored by Snowshoe.