Collegiate GS racing action at Snowshoe
Canaan Valley, Davis • 91 skiable acres on 610′ vertical
Specs: Summit elevation: 4280′; Base elevation: 3430′. 3 Lifts: 1 quad, 2 triples. Uphill Capacity: 6100/hr. Terrain Mix: 30-40-30. Longest Run: 6000′. Season: usually November through late March, 7 days. Night Skiing on weekends. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 160″. Snowmaking: 85%.
The SKInny: At 610′ vertical, Canaan Valley is “officially” a small ski area, but its altitude and design make it feel about as big as a small hill can. Still, wanderers and hotshots will want to head elsewhere. Considering there’s not a heck of a lot of elsewhere to head, take comfort knowing that CV makes the most of the mountain. Seldom crowded, older equipment, decent variety of runs. Not a lot of lively “action” here, but certainly provides a good day of low-key skiing.
Signature Trail: Gravity
Snowshoe, Snowshoe • 220 skiable acres on 1500′ vertical
Specs: Summit elevation: 4848′; Base elevation: 3250′. 14 Lifts: 4 quads, 7 triples, 3 surface. Uphill Capacity: 22,900/hr. Terrain Mix: 41-36-23. Longest Run: 7,500′. Season: usually November through April. Night Skiing 7 days. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 180″. Snowmaking: 100%.
The SKInny: Look closely at Snowshoe and you will find it to be the one ski area in the south that is most like — well, like a regular ski area. Yeah, it’s “upside down” like any good southern resort. But the overall facilities, modern equipment, generally intelligent layout, and no-expense-spared development smack of big northern resorts. It was elevated to superstar status under the watchful eye of Intrawest, of Stratton/Tremblant fame. South of Pennsylvania’s Elk Mountain, Snowshoe is as good as it gets. South of New York’s Hunter, Snowshoe is as big as it gets. The layout is expansive: Silver Creek caters to the beginner/novice, Western Territory hosts the experts, and the rest of the place — what everybody refers to as “Snowshoe” — runs from novice to strong blues. It’s easy to lose companions here; wanderers will love it. Hotshots will enjoy West, but if those runs are closed during lean conditions, the hotshot will be a little underwhelmed. (Then again, you tend to see fewer hotshots the farther south you travel.) Snowshoe is a “destination” resort, but remember the caveat of east coast skiing: Never drive south on a ski trip. It is the Stratton of the south, but it’s not the Stratton. If Snowshoe is your closest bigtime ski resort, great — and you’ll have a great time with great skiing. The nightlife and what have you is outstanding.
Signature Trail: Shay’s
Timberline, Davis • 92 skiable acres on 1,000′ vertical
Specs: Summit elevation: 4268′; Base elevation: 3268′. 3 Lifts: 1 triple, 2 doubles. Uphill Capacity: 4000/hr. Terrain Mix: 34-32-34. Longest Run: 10,560′. Season: usually December through early April, 7 days. Night Skiing on weekends and holidays. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 150″. Snowmaking: 94%.
The SKInny: While Snowshoe takes size and quality honors, Timberline is the WV resort that feels closest to a New England style ski area…glades, chutes, and plenty of runs that use the whole 1,000 foot vertical. Another refreshing feature is that it isn’t one of those goofy “upside down” designs in which you more or less ski in a valley. Like most southern ski areas it has an abundance of slopeside condos, houses, blah blah blah, which purists find thoroughly annoying. Trail mix is good — even a glade here — the hotshot has a few things to do, and the wanderer will be relatively happy. Liftlines can get long, but that’s just the way it is. Considering you’re in the south, this is darn fine skiing. Excellent family atmosphere, and the resort takes skiing seriously.
Signature Trail: Thunderstruck.
Winterplace, Flat Top • 90 skiable acres on 600′ vertical
Specs: Summit elevation: 3600′; Base elevation: 2997′. 9 Lifts: 2 quads, 3 triples, 2 doubles, 2 surface. Uphill Capacity: 13,400/hr. Terrain Mix: 41-44-15. Longest Run: 6,600′. Season: usually December through late March. Night Skiing 7 days. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 100″. Snowmaking: 100%.
The SKInny: Make no mistake, you are solidly in the south at Winterplace. Conditions are almost always questionable, skiing is a novelty, lifts are slow, lines are long, trails are short. Having said that, if you live in, say, South Carolina, Southern Virginia, etc. Winterplace is a heck of a lot closer than Killington, and you’ll have a great time.
Signature Trail: Snow Bowl.
This site, DC Ski, is where you’ll find plenty of expertise on skiing in the region. Great online community.
Lift Tickets at Discount: This is a “clearinghouse” of sorts that many ski areas use to raise cash by selling discount tickets in advance, called Liftopia. If you haven’t used this service, it is important to knowfor certain that you are going on a specific date. The deeply discounted tickets must be purchased in advance; generally up to two days out. The sticking point is that some ski resorts only make a limited number of tickets available to Liftopia for any given day, so they might be sold out if you wait too long…so, as soon as you are absolutely, positively sure that you will be skiing on a certain day, click this link to get deeply discounted tickets. I’ve used this service many times, but again, ONLY when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. You need to have access to a printer to print out your receipt, and you have to take identification with you to the mountain. I’ve knocked a third off the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it’s well worth checking if you’ve got a date nailed down. Note that sometimes they offer deals in which you can pay a slightly higher fee that gives you the option to change dates.