4 Top-Rated Ski Resorts in West Virginia

Written by Michael Law
Nov 13, 2020

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West Virginia is a small state but hits above its weight when it comes to downhill skiing. Three of the four ski resorts, namely Snowshoe, Timberline, and Caanan Valley, service some of the largest cities in the Northeast USA, including Pittsburgh; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; and Richmond, VA. The fourth resort, Winterplace, is located to the south and services smaller cities nearby such as Lexington.

Perched high in the Appalachian Mountains, these four resorts catch any snow that is destined to fall in the area. That coupled with extensive snowmaking capabilities ensures the slopes are well covered early and late into the season. The resorts are well suited to weekend crowds with good uphill capacity and comfortable accommodations either slopeside or in nearby towns.

Skiing in West Virginia is similar in nature to skiing in North Carolina, as you'll typically find moderate winter temperatures, unlike resorts to the north and west, where on-hill conditions can be bone-numbingly cold.

Vertical drops are decent for the Mid Atlantic region, and range from 1,500 feet at Snowshoe through to 650 feet at Winterplace.

Changes for the 2020/2021 Ski Season: West Virginia's ski resorts have made some changes to their regular operations due to health and safety concerns. Be sure to check the resort's website prior to your visit to avoid disappointment. Many resorts are requiring that lift tickets be purchased online, not at the ticket windows. Mask and physical distancing rules will likely be in place, so prepare accordingly.

Start planning your ski trip with our list of the best ski resorts in West Virginia.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Snowshoe Mountain

Snowshoe Mountain
Snowshoe Mountain | Photo Source: Snowshoe Mountain

Snowshoe Mountain is really three areas combined into one, so everyone in your group can find their favorite run. Whether you choose to cruise calmly in the Snowshoe Basin, explore the Silver Creek area, or go down some steep or deep runs over in the Western Territory, you'll all have stories to share at the end of the ski day.

The ski resort has over 60 trails, from long blue and green cruisers to some steeper runs and glade skiing that will challenge even the boldest skier. The resort is an ideal place for intermediate and beginner skiers with nearly 75 percent of the runs rated at green or blue levels.

Fourteen lifts will whisk you back to the top in no time flat, and with a drop ranging from 800 to 1,500 feet, you'll be bagging lots of vertical.

Snowshoe Mountain is located on the two highest peaks in West Virginia, and it is this great position that ensures it receives plenty of snow each year. The resort gets on average 15 feet of snow each season, and owing to the 4,848-foot summit elevation, much of it is light and fluffy.

The resort doesn't take any chances, though; what Mother Nature doesn't supply, the world-class snowmaking system will more than make up for. In fact, the resort has recently invested over four million dollars in new equipment to ensure 100 percent of the mountain remains white. At Snowshoe they are so confident they offer a snow guarantee: if they don't have more snow than any other resort in the Southeast, you'll get a free lift ticket for your next visit.

Snowshoe Mountain takes grooming seriously, and each morning, you'll find endless corduroy across the hill just waiting to be shredded. If you are a snowboarder, five terrain parks with all the latest features are just waiting for you.

If you want to keep going as the daylight fades, don't worry, night skiing is offered on 12 runs in the Silver Creek area. If skiing is not your thing or your legs are wobbly from pounding down the runs, head on over to the tubing center and slip-slide down the chutes.

After your ski day, the village awaits. Here, you'll find inviting, sunny patios just perfect for people watching. If you find your ski outfit is looking a bit dated, the latest designs and fashions are available from a wide array of retail shops.

The season typically runs from November 25th for the Snowshoe area and December 18th for the Silver Creek area and runs to the middle of March. IKON pass holders are welcome here.

Official site: https://www.snowshoemtn.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay near Snowshoe Mountain Resort

2. Canaan Valley Ski Resort

Canaan Valley Ski Resort
Canaan Valley Ski Resort | Photo Source: Canaan Valley Resort

Canaan Valley Ski Resort is a smaller ski hill with a strong and loyal following. The reason for this is the wonderful combination of beginner/intermediate terrain and advanced trails. You can learn to ski here and know that you won't run out of increasingly difficult runs to test your growing skills.

Set at 4,280 feet on a mountaintop, Canaan Valley receives just over 13 feet of snow a year and has snowmaking on 75 percent of the runs. The vertical drop at Canaan is 850 feet, and three lifts provide an impressive uphill capacity of 6,000 people per hour.

The resort has 47 named trails and a brand new snowboarding park.

Canaan Valley has the longest snow tubing runs in West Virginia. With a 1,200-foot-long runway and a dedicated magic carpet lift, you'll be doing endless loops. The resort tends to open from the second week of December; the tubing park and the skating rink are usually open by Thanksgiving.

If you want to stay close to the mountain, the Canaan Valley Resort is just a short drive away.

Indy Pass holders are welcome here.

Official site: https://www.canaanresort.com/

3. Timberline Mountain

Sunset at Timberline Mountain
Sunset at Timberline Mountain

Exciting things are happening at Timberline Mountain ski area. The mountain has new owners, and over 10 million dollars has been spent on infrastructure improvements for the 2020/21 season

The most significant improvements are two brand new chair lifts, including West Virginia's first detachable "six-pack" high-speed chairlift and a fixed-grip quad. Plans are also in place for a surface lift in the ski school lesson area.

These impressive additions to the uphill capacity will whisk skiers to the top of the mountain quickly and ensure that record amounts of vertical can be bagged.

This vertical is courtesy of a 1,000-foot drop from the peak at 4,268 feet high to the base area at 3,268. The resort has just over 40 runs skewed towards beginner and intermediate skiers, along with a terrain park.

Night skiing is also available each weekend, so you can start your weekend ski trip by hitting the slopes on a Friday night.

Timberline receives about 13 feet of snow each year and has a snowmaking system to help keep things white.

Timberline is located just down the road from Canaan Valley resort, so it's possible to ski both locations in a weekend.

Accommodation is available near the base area or in the town of Davis, 15 minutes away. The resort usually opens mid-December and runs until mid-March.

Official site:https://www.timberlinelodge.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Davis

4. Winterplace Ski Resort

Winterplace Ski Resort
Winterplace Ski Resort | Photo Source: Winterplace Ski Resort

Off on its own, south of the other three resorts, is Winterplace Ski Resort. This is a smaller, more intimate resort with 27 runs but an impressive 10 lifts, so you'll be back up to the top quickly with few lineups. For those who like to spend their time snowboarding, a terrain park with all the latest features is also available.

This is a great place to learn how to ski. A well-regarded ski school can take even the clumsiest skier and turn them into a downhill dynamo in no time flat.

The ski hill has a vertical drop of 603 feet and is spread out over 90 acres of skiable terrain, and they get just under nine feet of snow a year, supplemented by 100 percent snowmaking coverage.

Winterplace has five restaurants, ranging from cafeteria style right through to casual places showing non-stop ski videos. Perhaps the best place to soak up the sun and watch the action on the hill is the appropriately named The Deck at Winterplace.

Night skiing is available on 26 of the 27 runs and is included with the price of your day lift ticket.

If you've had enough skiing or skiing is not your thing, Winterplace has West Virginia's largest snow tubing park, serviced by two surface lifts. The run is 800 feet long and has 20 chutes.

Winterplace is easily accessible right off Interstate 77 near Ghent. Accommodation is available right at the hill or in nearby Ghent. The ski season runs from mid-December until mid-March.

Official site: https://www.winterplace.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay near Winterplace Ski Resort

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