By Rich Herman
Ski resorts in Virginia don’t normally jump into your mind when first considering a family ski vacation. Normally, one might think of the towering peaks found in Colorado, Utah, or New Mexico and begin to set their sights on some of the popular ski resorts found there. However, for families on the East Coast or Eastern area of the Country, the time and price involved to go to those places might be a bit too much, particularly if you allow a little more time for you to acclimate yourself to the higher elevation.
Although the mountains are not quite as tall, the good news is that you have many fine ski resorts within the Eastern United States, offering fun for your family, and Virginia has a lot of them. The reality is, the Mid-Atlantic area has plenty of ski resorts, many of which are four-season resorts that include fun activities all year long. To better acquaint you with what is available, here is some information on a few of the top ski resorts located in Virginia.
Wintergreen Ski Resort – Wintergreen, Virginia
Probably Virginia’s most varied ski resort; it’s situated within 11,000 acres of pristine forest within the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is located within Central Virginia only 1 hour 30 minutes from Richmond, Va., and approximately three hours from Washington, D.C., and North Carolina. Rising to an elevation of 3,515 feet, Wintergreen offers 26 slopes and trails, of which 14 are lighted for night skiing. The longest run is 1.4 miles, which has a vertical drop of 1,003 feet. The ski terrain mix includes approximately 23% beginner slopes, 35% intermediate, and 42% advanced/expert runs. On top of the ski runs, the resort includes 2 terrain parks and 2 tubing parks, so whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, or snow tubing which you enjoy most, there is a little something for all.
Massanutten Ski Resort – Massanutten, Virginia
This ski resort can be found about 10 miles east of Harrisonburg, VA, within the northwestern region of Virginia, on the tip of Massanutten Mountain with an elevation of 2,880 feet. Serving guests from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and the Washington D.C. area, Massanutten offers 8 ski lifts and 14 trails, and all of these are lighted for night skiing. The ski terrain mix is approximately 30% beginner runs, 35% intermediate, and 35% advanced runs, having a vertical drop of 1,110 feet. The resort includes 2 terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders and they also host Virginia’s first snow tubing park, which opened in 1998 and contains a 900-foot-long tubing hill. In addition, there’s an ice skating facility at Massanutten, which accommodates close to 132 skaters at one time.
The Homestead Ski Area – Hot Springs, Virginia
Virginia’s first skiing resort, The Homestead has operated since 1959 and is particularly famous for its wide slopes along with a great learning area. It’s located off of Interstate 81 and Route 64, and merely several miles from the West Virginia border in the Allegheny Mountains. For skiers and snowboarders, the summit is 3200 feet having a vertical drop of 700 feet. The resort offers 9 trails or runs and the terrain mix is 33% beginner runs, 33% intermediate, and 34% advanced runs, with night skiing on Saturday nights. The resort has a terrain park to offer additional challenge and excitement to both skiers and snowboarders. Off the slopes, there’s still ample winter fun with ice skating, snow tubing, and snowmobile tours. After the fun day of activities, relax by the fire in the Mountain Lodge to warm up and share some of the highlights of your day with loved ones.
Bryce Ski Resort – Basye, Virginia
This ski resort is very nice for first-time skiers or snowboarders and wins high marks for being a family-friendly ski resort. It is located in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, tucked on a low-lying ridge between the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains towards the West Virginia border. Bryce will be the closest Virginia ski resort to Washington D.C. and it is just A couple of hours away. The summit is 1750 feet having a vertical drop of 500 feet. You’ll find 8 ski runs or trails and the longest run is 3500 feet. If you are a parent or loved one who wants to watch your kids ski, then the mountain layout is great. All slopes funnel down to one central area at the base, so it’s simple to spot your children while enjoying a mug of coffee. The terrain mix is roughly 34% beginner runs, 33% intermediate, and 33% advanced runs. The bottom slopes do a good job of accommodating beginners, nonetheless, the upper slopes still offer challenging terrain for intermediate or advanced skiers and snowboarders. Tubing is extremely popular at this resort and Ridge Runner’s Tubing Park offers 800-foot-long snow tubing lanes to deliver fun for the whole family.
Whether it’s a quick weekend trip to the mountains to ski or snowboard, or an extended ski vacation, your family is certain to enjoy yourself. There is nothing like enjoying good quality family time amongst beautiful mountain scenery, where you can either discover how to ski or snowboard the first time or continue to challenge yourself and hone your skill. After having a day on the slopes there is nothing like enjoying a good meal and relaxing with family around a roaring fire to share stories about the day and mention both the good runs and the wipe-outs.
Hopefully, this information about several of the ski resorts in Virginia is useful and gives you a better appreciation for the area. Especially for those of you who are in the Eastern United States, definitely consider Virginia when planning your upcoming ski vacation. Most importantly, make sure to plan family getaways like these each year. Our children grow up so quickly, and before we know it they are gone and out on their own, so make sure and create these special times and memories that last a lifetime. Have a good time and stay safe!
Rich Herman loves traveling with his family, and regularly shares vacation ideas with others. For more information on family ski vacations [http://www.favoritefamilyvacations.com/ski-vacations.html] visit his website: Family Vacation Ideas [http://www.favoritefamilyvacations.com]
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