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Long Easy Greens for a first-timer [family driving from TN, beginners and intermediates]

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Last year me and my 3 sons got a full year of skiing in. We went about 15 times and by the end of the season we were feeling very good about skiing blues, we had a blast learning.

 

This year my wife and 4 1/2 year old daughter want to learn how to ski. My wife is afraid of heights and she is nervous about learning. I want to find a place to bring her that will have long slow greens with excellent instructors.  I think if i can find the right place to introduce her to skiing she will really love it. I am even thinking we might like to try some cross country, but maybe I should save that for just in case downhill does not go too well. :-)

 

So we are located in southeast tenneessee, and I am thinking we will make a road trip to the right place.  I would like to keep it on the east cost, and would rather not have to drive to the northeast though i am not ruling it out.  I think we will go for 3 or 4 nights on the first trip. I really want to get skiing in her blood.

 

So any suggestions?

post #2 of 15

Look into seven springs. Many reviews on here. it is definitely an accomodating resort. Can get very crowded so pick a good week. They have a very good ski school (well rated) and lost boy trail is a long easy one. Also boomerang and fawn to mix it up. It is where I first learned to ski, and have taught many others. Also have a great arcade, bowling, indoor swimming pool, and other things for the kids. Shouldnt be far from southern TN. Check it out on here or 7springs.com. Hope this was helpful

post #3 of 15

A couple that come to mind are:

 

Keystone

Breckenridge

Big Sky

Northstar (even if a lot of those runs are marked as blue)

Powder Mountain

Park City

 

TOTALLY MISSED THE EAST COAST PART--SORRY--PERHAPS YOU CAN THINK OF THESE FOR THE NEXT TRIP

post #4 of 15

Can't really help with resorts in your area, but having her spend a little time at some easy cross country skiing BEFORE her first alpine lesson is a great idea!

 

JF

post #5 of 15

I haven't skied in NC, so I can't comment on what you might find there with just a short drive, but if you want to go a little further north you might consider Canaan Valley, WV.  It is a pretty quiet ski area and in good snow conditions has some long easy runs.  It is also very affordable and there are nearby accommodations at the Canaan Valley Lodge, part of the WV state park system.  Also nearby is another downhill ski area with nice advanced terrain called Timberline and a well equipped cross-country/nordic ski center called White Grass. To catch all these ski areas in full swing it is best to go during the month of February.  The great thing about Canaan Valley ski area is it's pretty much never crowded. Epicski members may hold a gathering at Timberline the weekend after President's Weekend in late Feb if you're looking for company.

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepery View Post
 

Last year me and my 3 sons got a full year of skiing in. We went about 15 times and by the end of the season we were feeling very good about skiing blues, we had a blast learning.

 

This year my wife and 4 1/2 year old daughter want to learn how to ski. My wife is afraid of heights and she is nervous about learning. I want to find a place to bring her that will have long slow greens with excellent instructors.  I think if i can find the right place to introduce her to skiing she will really love it. I am even thinking we might like to try some cross country, but maybe I should save that for just in case downhill does not go too well. :-)

 

So we are located in southeast tenneessee, and I am thinking we will make a road trip to the right place.  I would like to keep it on the east cost, and would rather not have to drive to the northeast though i am not ruling it out.  I think we will go for 3 or 4 nights on the first trip. I really want to get skiing in her blood.

 

So any suggestions?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepery View Post
 

Last year me and my 3 sons got a full year of skiing in. We went about 15 times and by the end of the season we were feeling very good about skiing blues, we had a blast learning.

 

This year my wife and 4 1/2 year old daughter want to learn how to ski. My wife is afraid of heights and she is nervous about learning. I want to find a place to bring her that will have long slow greens with excellent instructors.  I think if i can find the right place to introduce her to skiing she will really love it. I am even thinking we might like to try some cross country, but maybe I should save that for just in case downhill does not go too well. :-)

 

So we are located in southeast tenneessee, and I am thinking we will make a road trip to the right place.  I would like to keep it on the east cost, and would rather not have to drive to the northeast though i am not ruling it out.  I think we will go for 3 or 4 nights on the first trip. I really want to get skiing in her blood.

 

So any suggestions?

Hello, good you see you back again!  You were skiing at Cataloochee last year, right?  What is the reason you don't want to take your wife and daughter there?

 

If you can go midweek, Winterplace in southern WV is worth considering.  They have lots of experience teaching newbies because a lot of groups go on weekends.  But as a result, not a good place to be on weekends.  Not much to choose from in terms of lodging near the slopes.  Snowshoe is a little deeper into WV. Very much a ski resort, meaning nice lodging, a village owned by the resort, and takes a bigger bite out of the budget.  Also much better if there midweek.  Probably can get a pretty good package deal on lodging and lift tickets for Sun-Fri.  Have heard mixed reviews about the ski school.

 

I'll see if I can get the guys who know Timberline and Canaan Valley to add in their two cents.

 

I'm biased, but I think my home mountain of Massanutten in northern VA would be a perfect place for your family.  The lifts are relatively low, especially compared to Snowshoe.  The beginner slope is relatively long. More importantly, the ski school is excellent for all levels and ages.  The senior managers are local people who have been taking care of newbies for decades.  The package deal that includes rental, lift ticket, and 2 sessions especially for beginners is great.  It's two 1-hour sessions, and the beginner can take the first hour on the magic carpet as many times as they need to on the same day in order to get comfortable enough to handle the chair lift for the second 1-hour session.  I took a friend and her kids skiing for the first time last season.  The kids (4, 6) did great in ski school.  Their mother . . . took a little longer.  But she persevered and was on the lift that first day.  She's a worrier.  Enjoyed herself enough to want to go another weekend.  Didn't need the magic carpet the second trip.

 

Note that after my daughter could ski the blacks at Mnut, we checked out Sugar, Beech, Winterplace, Snowshoe, and Wintergreen.  Bottom line is that I stuck with Mnut even though it's a hour more driving from my house near Raleigh.  She started at age 4.  Got in 5-10 days the next few seasons.  By age 7 she was good enough to ski blues at Alta . . . in powder . . . with a little help from Alta ski school.  After she was 7, I took advantage of the 90 min clinics at Mnut for Adv Beginners and Intermediates.  The lesson at 10:30 or 5:30 was often a private or semi-private since they split kids and adults.

 

A little known fact about Mnut is that it has more vertical that almost everyplace in PA.  1100 ft vert, with the black runs and the harder blue at about 850 ft vertical.  More importantly for me as an advanced skier, Lift 6 only serves two black runs.  As a result there is never a lift line, even on holiday weekends.  I can run laps without wasting any time.  The lower lifts aren't really that bad except between 11:00-2:30.  Mnut has a 4-hour flex ticket, so newbies start late and end early.  If you buy a multi-day ticket, night skiing is included and all the slopes are lit.  So can go in for a long lunch, then ski into the lights.

 

Needless to say, I could go on about Mnut but only if you are interested.

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

I haven't skied in NC, so I can't comment on what you might find there with just a short drive, but if you want to go a little further north you might consider Canaan Valley, WV.  It is a pretty quiet ski area and in good snow conditions has some long easy runs.  It is also very affordable and there are nearby accommodations at the Canaan Valley Lodge, part of the WV state park system.  Also nearby is another downhill ski area with nice advanced terrain called Timberline and a well equipped cross-country/nordic ski center called White Grass. To catch all these ski areas in full swing it is best to go during the month of February.  The great thing about Canaan Valley ski area is it's pretty much never crowded. Epicski members may hold a gathering at Timberline the weekend after President's Weekend in late Feb if you're looking for company.


I'm the Epic Ambassador for Timberline and Canaan Valley in West Virginia (the ski areas are 10 minutes apart with Whitegrass in between them.) I'll echo what Jim has said. Advantages to skiing this area of West Virginia (based on what you posted):

  • Ability to get variety by skiing three different areas within a 10 minute drive.
  • Cross-country skiing option at Whitegrass.
  • Scenic and rustic mountain environment.
  • General lack of crowds for the Mid Atlantic (avoid holiday weekends though) and excellent snow conditions.
  • Well-segregated beginner lift area at Canaan Valley
  • Excellent beginner lessons at Timberline (I ski with a lot of the instructors)
  • Very long beginner trail at Timberline (Salamander). It winds it's way down the side of the mountain - from the very top, so you get 1000 foot of vertical on a beginner trail. (It may take some initial progression for never-evers to ski Salamander.)
  • Tubing area at Canaan Valley for some family non-skiing fun. May have ice skating too? (I need to check this.)

 

Possible downsides:

  • A longer drive from TN than other options in NC, VA and WV (shorter drive than Seven Springs though.)
  • Lack of non-ski amenities compared to other options.
  • Not as many lodging options.
  • Slow lifts and bare-bones ski lodges.
post #8 of 15

To have the option of x-country, Tline/CV is definitely the place to go over NC or VA.  Perhaps western PA too.  More natural snowfall in that part of WV.

post #9 of 15

Here are some Epic Ski links to more information on Timberline and Canaan Valley.

 

Timberline Guide

 

Canaan Valley Guide

 

Non-Epic Ski link to Whitegrass

 

Here are direct links to the Unofficial Guides (with plenty of pictures.) The content is also in the respective resort guide, but we are in the process of separating the two contents. Its on my TODO list.

 

Timberline Unofficial Guide

 

Canaan Valley Unofficial Guide - picture only right now (text upgrade on my todo list.)

 

If you have any content suggestions for either the Resort Guides or the Unofficial Guides, please post them here or send me a PM. Edit: my natural bias is to present the options for advanced skiers, so I'd appreciated input from sliders looking more for beginner and intermediate options.

post #10 of 15

Canaan Valley does offer ice skating (at the Lodge, which is separate from the ski area by a couple of miles.) There are day lodges at the ski area itself. The tubing is at the ski area.

 

Quote:
 A covered, outdoor ice skating rink overlooking the valley and the Allegheny Mountains gives skaters a fabulous view while they try to master their figure eights. The rink features an outdoor fireplace. The ice rink is located behind the Main Lodge building.

http://www.canaanresort.com/winter/activities/

 

Talking out loud and a bit of a tangent to the original post: it is still a challenge for us Resort Ambassadors to organize useful content (without duplicating content provided by the ski area itself.)

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepery View Post
 

 

This year my wife and 4 1/2 year old daughter want to learn how to ski. My wife is afraid of heights and she is nervous about learning. I want to find a place to bring her that will have long slow greens with excellent instructors.  I think if i can find the right place to introduce her to skiing she will really love it. I am even thinking we might like to try some cross country, but maybe I should save that for just in case downhill does not go too well. :-)

 

 

 

Hi Sheepery This is a paid advertisement for Timberline, just kidding, they do pay me but anyways, as JohnL mentioned Salamander is a 2 mile beginners trail which is the longest green trail in the mid atlantic, we have terrain that will entertain your entire family but here are some other things to consider. We have a highly regarded children's program for your daughter, ten til two and our childrens instructors will get her skiing and loving it. I would recommend starting your nervous wife off with a one hour private to get her comfortable moving around and turning on some gentle terrain, take a lunch break and follow that up with a half day lesson, work on turning and riding the B lift, not at all intimidating and see where it goes from there.

 

The Canaan Valley area is really unique, with two lift served downhill areas and a cool nordic ski center. The Valley floor is 3200' above sea level, higher than the highest point in Pennsylvania. Laid back, not a rat race like Snowshoe, try it you'll like it.

post #12 of 15
You have some very good advise here. John and Jimmy know their stuff and would not steer you wrong. If you do think about a trip out west, Powder Mountain in Utah would be a good bet. Not too many people. Lots of greens and easy blues to ski. And lots of terrain to cover. My family was in your shoes not too many years ago. After one church trip to Cataloochi in NC, we booked a trip to Powder Mountain. We are now all committed skiers or perhaps skiers that should be committed. Where ever you go, do pick a place that caters to beginners and intermediates. There are a couple places, Snowbird in Utah comes to mind, where even the greens can be a bit steep for a beginner. Good Luck.
Garyskr
post #13 of 15

A couple of call outs.  You're likely to get more fresh natural snow the farther north you head.  However, you are losing elevation believe it or not.  Beech and Sugar Mountain Resorts around Boone and Blowing Rock North Carolina have lifts that put you back down above 5,000 feet elevation.  The longer trails are actually around a mile long.  So, for a day trip it is quite satisfying.  After a couple days it does get old though since there are only two or three longer trails at either one.  Plenty of shorter blue and green trails to play around on though..

post #14 of 15
If you go to sugar or beech, I would avoid the weekend at all costs. Especially for beginners.
It's a complete shit show. Dangerous.

I tend to prefer sugar, though some like Beech better. If the Oz run is open at beech, it's rated a blue, but is really a long gentle green, probably the longest slope of that angle in the state I'd say? But , to get back down you do have to negotiate a true NC blue. That's why OZ is rated blue instead of green I imagine.
post #15 of 15

I had a great experience bringing my 6-year-old to Winterplace, WV for ski school. We were there on Fri and Sat and she did ski school both days. To echo the sentiment of many previous posters, it can get crazy on the weekends so if you can at all do a weekday trip the learning experience will be so much better. Because of the narrower trails (a necessity when a lot of times it is only man-made snow) it can get crazy and dangerous with crowds. Overall I thought that Winterplace had a very organized program given that this is the mid-Atlantic and not the heart and soul of ski country. Felt very comfortable with my daughter in their program...

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