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West Virginia Ski Area Guide -- Very Complete

  • 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.


Key

Lifts We don't consider a ski area's tubing-only lifts as part of the total. Signature Trail Is mostly subjective. Whether it's history, reputation, the view, or degree of difficulty...it's the run you have to do, even if it isn't necessarily the best the resort has to offer.

Finally, a note about ski area statistics: Although it's hard to believe, some ski areas are (gasp!) less than truthful with their numbers. Like the guy who lies about his, uh, shoe size, some ski areas believe that inflated numbers make their resort sound more appealling. When these numbers are obviously questionable, we put a note: (?!) and will attempt to verify the legitimacy of the claim.

More West Virginia Ski Info

This site, DC Ski, is where you'll find plenty of expertise on skiing in the region. Great online community.

Use this to get Lift Tickets at Discount: There 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 usually best to know for 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, usually when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. Some resorts offer "flex" tickets with which you can specify the date, and some have a few different tiers of pricing. In other words, you might be able to get a lift ticket that can be used on different days, but you'll pay a little more for that privilege. 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 -- even half off -- the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it's well worth checking before you head to the slopes.

A tiny portion of your Liftopia purchase helps fund this website, at no added cost.

If the ski resort business interests you, I strongly recommend a book by Hal Clifford called Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment. It provides an inside look at the marketing logic behind clocktower villages, and the dubious practices of the US Forest Service that enables these resorts to be built. Fascinating reading.

Use this to get Lift Tickets at Discount: There 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 usually best to know for 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, usually when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. Some resorts offer "flex" tickets with which you can specify the date, and some have a few different tiers of pricing. In other words, you might be able to get a lift ticket that can be used on different days, but you'll pay a little more for that privilege. 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 -- even half off -- the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it's well worth checking before you head to the slopes.

A tiny portion of your Liftopia purchase helps fund this website, at no added cost.

Free Ski & Snowboard Stickers!

Show your passion for doing it up and keeping it real with a free "Old School" sticker for your helmet, or your board, or whatever. Just e-mail your mailing address to sticker -at- gondyline -dot- com and say "send me a snowboard sticker" or "send me a ski sticker" or "send me a ski sticker and a board sticker for my sister" or whatever. If you say "please" we'll send two. They look like this:

Ski Movies for Mere Mortals

Did you ever feel like those big money ski movies are often a big let-down? You get all pumped up for the new release from some ski film company, and it's mostly incredible footage of guys jumping out of helicopters and shredding down some un-named mountain on the far side of the globe. They're neck deep in powder, skiing lines that you'll never, ever see. If you want ski movies you could actually relate to, a bunch of guys called The Meatheads, from Burlington, VT have made a series of "Ski The East" films. They film at real resorts like Sugarloaf, Blue Mountain, Big Boulder, Mount Snow, Ski Sundown, Stowe, Jay, Mountain Creek, Killington, Sunday River...urban locations ranging from Virginia to Quebec...mogul skiing with The Hammer and Radio Ron...and backcountry throughout New York, New England, and the Chic Chocs. It's simply fantastic -- and since it's the same terrain we can get to, it's inspirational!

Their most popular current release is No Matter What , which received the ski equivalent of an Oscar for the Jay Peak powder segment, filmed during 2012 of all things. One that is probably their best is from a year ago, called Prime Cut . Another favorite is Wanderland: An East Coast Ski Thriller. All Meatheads DVDs have hours of "bonus" footage, so it's like getting three ski movies for the price of one. The links go to Amazon.com, which enables you to order and return if you don't like them. And a small percentage of the sale helps us pay the expenses of this website, at no extra cost to you.

Here's a preview, courtesy Youtube...