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Washington DC Area Skiing

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I love skiing. When I ski, I usually go to Salt Lake City. Now that I've graduated school, I'm living in Washington DC and was wondering what is the best place to ski that's close to DC. Showshoe, WV??? any thoughts???
post #2 of 20
Well, spekaing as a Utah transplant stuck in DC, I'll say its bad, but not terrible.

Closest is Liberty and Whitetail, both not as absolutly sucky as I thought they would be and both within an hour/hour and a half dirve. Obviously not close to Utah, but not bad as long as conditions are deent _and_ there are not big lines.

I actually didn't even bother skiing out here for 6-7 years, and then one year I said, "I'm am not going to sit here any longer feeling sorry for myself, I'm going to go skiing no matter how much it might suck." And I think that that is the attitude you have to have; if you set your expectations really low then you can have a very good time. If you set your expecations at normal, you'll hate it.

I haven't tried much further out yet. I did ski Blue Knob once (not bad, cold as hell, appropriatly named and also icy as hell, but then I'm a western skier - now that I can have fun on ice I might return.) This year I'm going to try Timberline/Canaan Valley which I hear is very good, maybe Wisp, and probably Snowshoe as well.

Of course, Alta did get more snow in the last 3 weeks then Snowshoe gets all year...prepare for the manmade, and again, the best advice I can give you is enjoy it for its own sake and not in comparison to anything else.

After all, skiing, even sucky skiing, is better than doing anything else.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I know that nothing can compare to Utah, so I already know that I'll be disappointed. What I'm looking for is a place in the Mid-Atlantic with decent nightlife (to make my friends happy) but with somewhat decent skiing as well.
post #4 of 20

I grew up in DC and feel you pain. In high school, we'd watch the weather channel, skip class and road trip three hours north to Seven Springs or Wisp. From what I remember, Seven Springs is larger, but Wisp tends to get more natural snow and not too many lift lines.

Virginia has some mountains, but I always found it strange driving south to Wintergreen for snow. Back in the day, before you could ski the black runs at Wintergreen, ski patrol made you take an exam. : I don't know...you might have some trouble skiing under control for 100 vertical.

The skiing was alright at Whitetail, if they have snow. Biggest downside at Whitetail...it's in a DRY county. No bar at the base, and by looking at your profile, that's gotta be an issue. You have to pack your own lightweight traveller .

We always ended up back at Wisp. Go to Wisp; I remember partying, but don't remember what I did. It must've been good. Oh yeah, the skiing was good too.

Good luck; I couldn't take the pain and had to move West.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 04, 2001 12:57 PM: Message edited 3 times, by woodpile ]</font>
post #5 of 20
Very simply, the skiing sucks if you like powder and off-piste skiing at all. I have never experienced anything but groomers in the entire mid-atlantic.

I used to live in the West and now live back in DC. What I do is go to Whitetail, Wisp or Liberty to get the lead out once or twice a year, then go on one or two excursions out West. Look, in the time it takes you to drive to Snowshoe, you can fly and pretty much be at Snowbird! And the expense is not going to be dramatically different, except in airfare.

I did Jackson and Big Sky last year and Snowbird the year before. I'm doing Whistler and someplace else this year.

That's what works for me. And as far as apres? Overrated anywhere locally, I'd say.
post #6 of 20
IMHO, the clear winners in the apres-ski party scene in the mid-Atlantic are Seven Springs and Snowshoe.

OTOH, the apres-ski scene at the base areas of Liberty, Roundtop, Whitetail, Timberline (WWa), Canaan (WVa) & Blue Knob (less sure of this) is so close to zero as to be laughable. About the best you can do at these places is to plan to meet up with people at some place on the way.

I don't ski at any of the close-in Va resorts (Wintergreen, Massanutin, etc), so I can't say one way or the other about them.

Tom / PM
post #7 of 20
The hill in front of the UMD College Park student union is at least a blue diamond in the winter...
post #8 of 20
The Escalator at the Dupont Circle is a BLUE!
post #9 of 20
Both Whitetail and Roundtop are dry. Liberty has a Tavern, and they're usually having a good time in there Sat. nights. If that's not enough fun, Gettysburg is about 15-20 min. up the road and has restaurants and bars.

Snowshoe is a good 6hr drive from DC., you can't get there from here kind of drive. Within the same time (or less) you have the poconos (PA), and the catskills (NY). Timberline and Canaan are nice, but fairly quiet. A couple more hrs. and your in New England. Have fun this winter.
post #10 of 20
Dupont Circle Escalator, wouldn't that be an interesting apres ski hang out : .

Since it is a blue run, you could take it to Regan National, hop on a plane, and go anywhere
post #11 of 20
Ya, Voodpile,

I did some Nordic on the MALL there but no Vertical.

The Dupont Circle Escalator has the most vertical in the city.

I skied it!
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
what's the nightlife like at Wintergreen, VA?
post #13 of 20
Anyone been to Timberline/Canaan Valley? Im thinking of going there over Snowshoe for a weekend in an effort to save some $$. Is this a foolish idea?
post #14 of 20
WilberM -

I ski both Canaan V resorts a lot, but it would help to know even a little about you before giving you a thumbs up/down recommendation.

Who you plan to bring along (ie, any non-skiing family, etc.)? What do they like to do? Your profile sounds like your are advanced, but some advanced people can be quite happy in a laid back place for a few days, other can't. etc. etc.

Tom / PM
post #15 of 20
Thanks, PhysicsMan. I am an advanced skiier-but Im not really going for the skiing. I am going with a group of friends from graduate school- some are good skiiers, others aren't. More interested in finding a nice place to stay, keeping expenses down, and a decent ski area. Saving the real skiing for my trips to Vermont and Utah later in the season. I have skiied at Snowshoe- while the skiing was OK, I felt like it was not worth the long drive and the expense. I have looked at the profiles of both Canaan and Timberline- I think around 800-1000 vertical? 25 trails each. Cant decide if its really worth it. Ever skiied Seven Springs in PA? People are telling me its one of the best areas near DC. Thanks again
post #16 of 20
WilburM -

I agree with what you said about Snowshoe. Its no-big-deal skiing, but it does seem to attract a disproportionate number of undergrads that want to party during school breaks. Somebody else pointed out that it is so difficult to get there from DC that you could practically be in SLC in the same length of time.

FWIW, I consider 7spr to be a complete zoo - sort of like trying to ski in Tokyo subway crowds. Its just way too near Pittsburgh. In addition, if I recall the numbers correctly, it's 1000 feet lower than Canaan V (2000' vs 3000' base altitude - *very* impt in the mid-Atlantic) and has less noticeably less vert (something like 650' vs 1100'). Seven Springs also has its share of partying, but to me, it has more of a city party feel than a ski-hill party feel.

From what you said, you should have a fine time in the Canaan V area. It is easier to get to than Snowshoe, but is still tucked somewhat out-of-the-way, so it doesn't see as much skier traffic as other mid-Atlantic areas. It tends to be a bit more of a sleepy / family / jeans & gaitors area with an old-time skiing feeling than places like Snowshoe or 7 Springs.

In the Canaan Valley, there are 2 Alpine areas (Timberline and Canaan), 2 formal Nordic areas (Whitegrass and Blackwater), hundreds of miles of spectacular backcountry Nordic opportunities, and two full service WVa state parks (Canaan V and Blackwater Falls), all within a few miles of each other. Its a great place for a diverse group. I've even seen birdwatchers go out looking for the wintering bird population, others go ice skating, etc. while the rest of us were skiing.

The two alpine areas will certainly entertain you for a couple of days. Try both.

On both mtns, there are decent single blacks from the top right under the main lifts, but these usually catch the bulk of the I-need-to-prove-myself-on-a-black traffic. I've usually found that a better choice is to find a black or upper-level blue that they have left ungroomed. Its amazing - no one EVER goes on them. Usually, these just have a cut-up surface or have pleasant moguls, and don't form ugly, tiny, icy irregular bumps. If you can blast thru crud, you'll probably be the only person on these trails all afternoon.

As you may suspect from what I've said, there are a lot of fair-weather skiers on these mtns. During a big blow last season (12-18"), it was the best skiing out there in years. In spite of this, there was a huge crowd in the Canaan base lodge complaining about "too much snow" and there were many empty chairs were going up the hill!

Most people rent condos / cabins, but staying in the motel/lodge at either state park is a very reasonable and inexpensive option. There is a regular shuttle bus from CV S.P. that will take you to both alpine areas, and the some of the best food in the valley is served at the Canaan V lodge restaurant. BTW, CV S.P. is right across the street from Timberline and Canaan V alpine areas, whereas Blackwater Falls S.P. is about 10 miles away.

Gotta run. If you have any more specific questions, feel free.

BTW, there are useful separate web sites for the Canaan, Timberline and Whitegrass areas, as well as for the Canaan V State Park, Blackwater Falls State Park, Canaan Reality, etc. etc. I switched browsers so I don't have these bookmarked right now, but you should have no problem finding them.

Hope this helps.

Tom / PM

PS - Since you are in this area, you probably should pick up a very useful book titled, "Mid-Atlantic Winter Sports Guide" by John Phillips. Its a few years old now, but not much has changed, so its still quite accurate.

PS#2 - What are you studying in grad school?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 07, 2001 10:28 AM: Message edited 1 time, by PhysicsMan ]</font>
post #17 of 20
It looks you'll have to catch a plane.
Flights out of
Baltimore-Washinton International
usually have the lowest rates in the area. Southwest flies out of there, and in terms of airfare sets the standard for the rest of the crowd.
post #18 of 20
Tom- thanks very much for your advice- it was very helpful. I think we're going to head to Canaan. Im actually in law school- right in the middle of exams (no fun) I've been designated to plan a ski trip for next semester- and I think Canaan will be perfect. Most of the group are beginers- really just going to have a good time and get a little skiing in.

I am actually heading off to Utah after new Years- very psyched. I just looked at Snowbird's web-site- they have an 81 inch base and it snowed 14 inches last night!! Should be great! Thanks again- I will certainly let you know if I have any specific questions.

post #19 of 20
hey Wilbur, you still hangin' with old Fanne Foxe? When did you last romp in the Reflecting Pool?

Congress ain't the same without ye!
post #20 of 20
I have no comment.
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