The perfect ski-it-all escape
If you find yourself dreaming of winter wonderland getaways filled with skiing and snowboarding, the Mountain State in the winter is the place for you.
The southeast part of West Virginia is peppered with ski resorts, none of which are more than 2.5 hours away from each other, which makes it completely possible to hit 5 different ski spots in a single vacation.
Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Timberline Four Seasons Resort, and White Grass Ski Touring Center are all within about 20 minutes of each other, and just 2 short hours to the south are Snowshoe Mountain and Elk River Touring Center, which are just 15 minutes apart.
Whether you’ve got just 5 days or a few weeks, create a ski vacation full of variety:
1. Timberline Four Seasons Resort
Start your trip at Timberline Four Seasons Resort, which is (barely) the farthest north, and slowly make your way south. Timberline is the only ski-in/ski-out site in the area, so head out to one of their 41 trails, and then ski right back to your door. The trails are great for beginners and advanced skiers, and with so many options, it’s a great choice for families or groups with different ability levels.
When you’re done exploring the slopes for the day, devour a delicious farm-to-table dinner at the resort’s Fireside Grille and Timber Haus Cafeteria.
2. White Grass Ski Touring Center
Drive just 13 minutes down Timberline Road for the next stop in your ultimate ski itinerary. Self-declared as “the most exciting cross-country skiing on the East Coast,” White Grass Ski Touring Center is a haven for snowshoers and cross-country skiers that has been around since the late 1970s. If you’re on a budget, the touring center is one of the more inexpensive options here, and is a great place to bring beginners.
Visit White Grass from December until March, from 9 a.m. to “dark-thirty,” 7 days a week. When you get hungry, visit the natural-food cafe, which is about as cozy as cafes come. You’ll probably run into the owner, Chip Chase.
You can’t stay at the touring center, but there are tons of options nearby. Bring a group for a generous discount. Some of the trails are pooch friendly, so bring Fido, too!
3. Canaan Valley Resort State Park
From White Grass, head 11 minutes west to the Canaan Valley Resort State Park. If the 47 slopes and trails aren’t enough for you, try ice skating, cross-country skiing, tubing or snowshoeing— Canaan Valley has just about everything. Check out the 24/7 webcam before you go, so you’ll always know what to expect on the slopes, up to the minute.
4. Snowshoe Mountain Resort
About a 2-hour trek from Canaan Valley, the farthest drive of your trip is getting to Snowshoe Mountain. But once you get there, you’ll find a winter oasis with a full mountaintop village that seems like it has been pulled straight out of a holiday novel. If you get there early, take some time to enjoy the breathtaking views— hard to beat thanks to a vantage point of almost 5,000 feet above sea level. Expect snow cover from about December through March, when winter storms from both the east and west hit (supplemented with expert snowmaking.)
5. Elk River Touring Center
Just 8.7 miles from Snowshoe Mountain, the Elk River Touring Center whisks you away to the West Virginia outback. Strap on your cross-country skis and traverse the smooth Highland Scenic Highway, or slip past miles of snow-covered spruce groves. High altitude, deep annual snowfall and miles of trails guarantee weeks of great skiing. Even if you don’t have your own gear, the folks at Elk River have snowshoes, cross-country skis and Nordic ski packages. Problem solved!