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First family trip to WVa / PA?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
OK I need some advice.

My kids (7 &10) have never been skiing. My wife has been twice in her life. I'm comfortable on the slopes, or was but haven't been in 10+ years. So we will all need lessons.

I am looking for a nice resort for a 2 or 3 day trip. I was thinking Snowshoe, but after searching on the forum I don't think that is the best choice.

Right now I am looking at Seven Springs or Timberline. Do any of you have information as to which one (or an alternate) is best for young kids just starting out?

We live in Southern Indiana and will be flying a small plane in, but both of those are close enough for a 1 day long drive if necessary. I looked at going out west, but plane tickets for a family of four make that too pricey.

Any other options would be welcome. I am looking for something fairly nice and clean so I can hook my wife on the idea of this being an acceptable vacation idea in the future.
post #2 of 32
Snowshoe might not be bad. What timeframe are you looking at? Weekdays are best. Anytime in March can be real nice there. It has a secondary ski area called Silver Creek which is never crowded and good for newbies. Snowshoe probably has the most "resort" type features (tons of lodging, restaurants, nightclub, indoor waterpark) of any ski area south of New England and is very impressively perched atop a nearly 5000' mountain. But it can be expensive and crowded. What timeframe are you looking at?

Seven Springs, PA and Wintergreen, VA would be good bets too, have some of the same pros/cons as Snowshoe…popular places in mid-Atlantic tend to be zoos on Holidays and prime winter weekends.

Timberline and Canaan Valley are a good combo too, but more rustic.

Did you ever think of a smaller, less crowded place? A visit to The Homestead ( http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...94&mode=search ) in central Virginia would blow your wife away and gain you ski trip equity points for years to come. Slopes are small, but good for a couple days of beginner to low intermediate action. Also Bryce, VA has a runway 200 yards from their ski trails, a little bigger layout than Homestead, but not the same incredible accommodations and apres-ski choices.

Check out www.dcski.com for articles and info on all mid-Atlantic ski areas. If you ask your question there you'll get add'l responses.
post #3 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by doug494 View Post
OK I need some advice.

Right now I am looking at Seven Springs or Timberline. Do any of you have information as to which one (or an alternate) is best for young kids just starting out?

We live in Southern Indiana and will be flying a small plane in, but both of those are close enough for a 1 day long drive if necessary. I looked at going out west, but plane tickets for a family of four make that too pricey.
Canaan Valley Resort is the best for learn to ski and family fun. You can fly into Windwood Fly In Resort, stay there or Canaan (1.5 miles away). Canaan has a bus service from it's lodge to the ski area. Bolter
Timberline and White Grass are also in the valley, close.
post #4 of 32
Bryce has an airport right at its base.
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Jamesj

I am looking at Feb 16-19 (Martin Luther King Holiday I think).

I'm trying to avoid the hottest spots to keep crowd size down, but realize it is a holiday weekend so no place is going to be empty.

It doesn't have to be a resort, but there needs to be decent dining options (w/ kids). I don't think ham sandwiches are going to endear my wife to the idea, but neither are $100 meal bills. My wife took a couple trips to Breck with my family years ago, so she knows what that is like. I just need her more comfortable with her skiing skills and the idea that there are less expensive places which are still nice to spend time at.

Just trying to keep it close enough for a 1 day drive, so if the weather turns to nasty to fly we can still go.

Also, the quality of the instruction and a good selection of bunny trails are something I am trying to key on also.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by doug494 View Post
Jamesj

I am looking at Feb 16-19 (Martin Luther King Holiday I think).

I'm trying to avoid the hottest spots to keep crowd size down, but realize it is a holiday weekend so no place is going to be empty.

It doesn't have to be a resort, but there needs to be decent dining options (w/ kids). I don't think ham sandwiches are going to endear my wife to the idea, but neither are $100 meal bills. My wife took a couple trips to Breck with my family years ago, so she knows what that is like. I just need her more comfortable with her skiing skills and the idea that there are less expensive places which are still nice to spend time at.

Just trying to keep it close enough for a 1 day drive, so if the weather turns to nasty to fly we can still go.

Also, the quality of the instruction and a good selection of bunny trails are something I am trying to key on also.

I am looking at Feb 16-19 (Martin Luther King Holiday I think). THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT DATA POINT.
That is President's weekend and the busiest few days of the season. It is perfectly reasonable for you to want to go to a big busy place to be where the action is..center of whirlwind sort of thing. But if low key is a priority then all the more reason to consider some of the smaller places I suggested. The Homestead story took place on President's weekend and though the Resort building got busy, the ski slopes were always low crowd. Bryce VA and Hidden Valley PA are the others in the mid-Atlantic that come to mind that won't be too bad that weekend.
post #7 of 32

skiing wv/pa

www.skiroundtop.com check out my former home man its an awsome place to learn. i was an instructor there for a good wile and we taught and hooked alot of newbies. you can find good lodging within a fifteen min drive or so of the resort and could get a cab for cheap. also check out our sister resorts liberty and whitetail...liberty has on hill lodging so that might be your best bet. the three resorts have a number one rated beginner skiing program. good luck. feel free to private message me with any questions
post #8 of 32

another vote for Timberline

Lodging in Canaan Valley is more reasonable than Snowshoe, and Salamander (2 miles, very gentle) is really good for young beginners getting comfortable with the concept of sliding. Canaan Valley is right next door, but I like Timberline better. Wisp would be another choice, depending on where you are coming from, but I think Canaan Valley is a little higher and therefore more reliable. Good luck.
post #9 of 32
Just a note- if you are flying anywhere near Liberty beware of P-40- it changes size, and is most strictly enforced when large.
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by doug494 View Post
Jamesj

I am looking at Feb 16-19 (Martin Luther King Holiday I think).

I'm trying to avoid the hottest spots to keep crowd size down, but realize it is a holiday weekend so no place is going to be empty.
Stay away from the Shoe! It is a madhouse during the holiday. You have given a tall order, during Presidents Weekend, not big crowds but good dining options.

That will be hard to find anywhere.......................
post #11 of 32
Canaan Valley is closer to you than most of the other places mentioned. They have nice accomodations at Canaan Valley Lodge with lots of amenities. Great food and funky/fun/friendly ambience at Siriani's in Davis, and at Whitegrass Nordic ski center. Breakfast at The Sawmill in Davis is very good, and there are many other good restaurants in the area from what I'm told.

You need a car to get around though, so CV might be your best choice if you decide to drive. There is a shuttle from the Lodge to Canaan Valley Ski Area so you don't really need a car, but not sure if there is a shuttle bus to Timberline. Your kids will probably learn to ski enough to enjoy Salamander in a day or two and Canaan Ski Area doesn't have a really long run like that for beginners.

If you go there, you should really ski both areas, all three actually. If you go to Whitetail the first day and try cross-country skiing, that will give a great start in developing balance and feel of skis, gliding, etc.. The alpine gear will seem really stable after that. Second day go Canaan. Third day Timbereline. After that you can decide which you like the most.
post #12 of 32

Skip Snowshoe that weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ullr View Post
Stay away from the Shoe! It is a madhouse during the holiday. You have given a tall order, during Presidents Weekend, not big crowds but good dining options.

That will be hard to find anywhere.......................
I would second (or third, fourth) this warning. I did Snowshoe last year President's Day weekend... had a great time overall, but lift lines and crowds were horrible. My wife and I waited 45 minutes to get on the Ballhooter high speed quad one morning (this is the main (and only) lift that serves the middle of the mountain). We avoided that lift the rest of our trip (it never got quicker), effectively closing off half the trails that are available. They have replaced a "normal" quad with a new high speed quad lift for this year, but it's on the side of the mountain that has only 3(?) trails feeding into it.

The lodging was way overpriced for the holiday too. I will not repeat that mistake again.

I'm going to check out Timberline this year as the pricing seems more reasonable overall, but it is nowhere near as "resort-like" as the shoe. I'm not sure how crowds are on a holiday though, and there are only 3 lifts (2 triple, 1 double, all slow).

As was previously stated... for the dates you want to go, it will be hard to find what you're looking for. Some trade-off will be necessary...
post #13 of 32
MLK weekend is the busiest of the year, ESPECIALLY at the day trip skis area in PA. Most people don't have the time/money to go West so the small local areas are super busy. Try to plan your lessons during non-peak hours like first thing inthe morning or later in the afternoon/evening if possible so you don't end up in a huge group.

One plus to skiing these areas is the night skiing until 10 PM.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by doug494 View Post
OK I need some advice.


We live in Southern Indiana and will be flying a small plane in, but both of those are close enough for a 1 day long drive if necessary. I looked at going out west, but plane tickets for a family of four make that too pricey.
Are you flying your own plane? If so, Winter Park may be a good choice. Plenty of slopes and areas to learn, and their is an airport in either Fraser or Granby.
post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks

Thanks for the great responses. This is exactly the information I was looking for.

I was wrong on the weekend, it's Presidents Day not MLK, but the result is the same since they are both holidays.

Hopefully with your input I will now be able to make the best trade-offs between costs, crowds, and quality.
post #16 of 32
Correction, I suggested xc skiing your first day at Whitetail which is nowhere near Canaan Valley. I meant Whitegrass.

I think there is actually another short surface lift in the Canaan Valley State Park which used to be for sledding, but it might be a tubing run now (the Lodge I referred to is also located in the park). Anyway, if you take a day off from skiing you might enjoy some sledding/tubing there.
post #17 of 32
I would actually suggest you consider Holliday Valley in West NY. It is close enough to drive and should have less crowds and potentially better conditions. I dont know about airport access.
post #18 of 32
I may be a little late with this post, but I grew up skiing Seven Springs and Hidden Valley in Western PA. Here is the deal with those: Seven Springs is by far a better mountain all around than Hidden Valley. Twice as many runs. However, during the holiday season, the place is swamped. The two are about 25 mins apart and very easy to get to off the PA Turnpike. I would suggest taking a look at Hidden Valley for the beginner aspect of a trip. If you ski there for a couple of days and wish to head over to the Springs, no biggie...just hop in your car and make the 20 min commute. As far as lodging rates are concerned, I would imagine Hidden Valley would be cheaper than the Springs, but I am not 100% sure.

Holiday Valley just south (I think thats the direction) of Buffalo, NY is a step above Seven Springs. They get better snow and have more runs. You may want to take a look at that as well. Probably 3.5 hours away from Pittsburgh.

Hope any of this helps...
post #19 of 32
I used to live in Pittsburgh. Avoid Seven Springs on any holiday weekend. The crowds are unreal.

Had only one good trip there on Thanksgiving weekend. There was a surprise dump of snow earlier that week. The trails were well-covered, but few made a last-minute effort (besides us) to get there. Nice trip.
post #20 of 32

Good plan but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
Canaan Valley is closer to you than most of the other places mentioned. They have nice accommodations at Canaan Valley Lodge with lots of amenities. Great food and funky/fun/friendly ambiance at Siriani's in Davis, and at Whitegrass Nordic ski center. Breakfast at The Sawmill in Davis is very good, and there are many other good restaurants in the area from what I'm told.

You need a car to get around though, so CV might be your best choice if you decide to drive. There is a shuttle from the Lodge to Canaan Valley Ski Area so you don't really need a car, but not sure if there is a shuttle bus to Timberline. Your kids will probably learn to ski enough to enjoy Salamander in a day or two and Canaan Ski Area doesn't have a really long run like that for beginners.

If you go there, you should really ski both areas, all three actually. If you go to Whitetail the first day and try cross-country skiing, that will give a great start in developing balance and feel of skis, gliding, etc.. The alpine gear will seem really stable after that. Second day go Canaan. Third day Timbereline. After that you can decide which you like the most.
Great trip plan but Whitegrass not whitetail oops. Bolter
post #21 of 32
Except for the holiday season I would recomend Seven Springs. They have many other things to do when the kids get tired of Skiing.
post #22 of 32
Before spending the time and $$$ on the family weekend ski trip. You may want to think about taking the family to a local area, like Paoli Peaks or Perfect North Slopes. Nothing's worse than spending a lot of $$$ to do something that they end up hating.

Start slow and make sure it is something the kids will enjoy doing.
post #23 of 32

Try Silver Creek at Snowshoe

Snowshoe Resort has two ski areas. Silver Creek is a short shuttle away from Snowshoe but is WAY less crowded. It is very friendly for beginning skiers. You can park and lodge at Silver Creek and still dine at Snowshoe (about one mile up the hill)
post #24 of 32
Another vote for Canaan Valley Resort. Some other attractions: High speed tubing at CV, cross country rentals and skiing right out your door, outdoor ice skating rink, beautiful lodge, lots of 'tame' deer around to thrill the kids, Whitegrass is a national treasure, and another 'must see' is Blackwater Falls State Park just down the road near Davis. They have a rope tow sledding area and a gorgeous rustic lodge. A very good place to have dinner also. Davis also has a few good eateries including one very popular pizza place (name?). 150" annual snowfall isn't so shabby either. Good luck trying to get reservations now though. CVR does have cabins which are a neat place to stay if you can get one!
post #25 of 32
Back to your orginal question... Timberline or Seven Springs.

I grew up in DC went to college at WVU, and skied all over. I'd have to say Seven Springs... hands down. Its set up for families. Plus, they have great instructional programs.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by doug494 View Post
OK I need some advice.

My kids (7 &10) have never been skiing. My wife has been twice in her life. I'm comfortable on the slopes, or was but haven't been in 10+ years. So we will all need lessons.

I am looking for a nice resort for a 2 or 3 day trip. I was thinking Snowshoe, but after searching on the forum I don't think that is the best choice.

Right now I am looking at Seven Springs or Timberline. Do any of you have information as to which one (or an alternate) is best for young kids just starting out?

We live in Southern Indiana and will be flying a small plane in, but both of those are close enough for a 1 day long drive if necessary. I looked at going out west, but plane tickets for a family of four make that too pricey.

Any other options would be welcome. I am looking for something fairly nice and clean so I can hook my wife on the idea of this being an acceptable vacation idea in the future.
Doug494,

7 Springs is a very family friendly ski area and my kids love the ski school there. Lots of things for the kids to do. The one problem you may have is that 7Spring's lodging books up fast and is pretty expensive. You need to call early to get reservations.

Ahhh......Canaan Valley. If you want a real mountain experience without going out West this is the place. Tons of things to do and lots of natural snow fall. It seems easier to get reservations in the Valley and the prices are to lower than 7 Springs. You can ski the three ski areas (Tline, CV, & WTG) so you won't get bored. Both ski areas are very kid and family friendly.

I prefer to do day trips to 7 Springs and for a vacation I go to the Valley.

I also get lack of vertical sickness at 7 Springs.
post #27 of 32
I would stay away from Snowshoe. In many years of skiing, the only dissapointing experiences that I/we have had occured at Snowshoe. Too much ice, crowds, arrogance, very high prices, etc.
Frontier Airlines can get you to Denver for about $250 from many destinations. What a great experience to get on the chair lift for the first time! Hope everything works for you.
Gary
post #28 of 32
If you are looking at Seven Springs, we have lots to offer the family, both on and off the slopes.

For the kids, there's the Jr. Ski Program. It operates 7 days a week from 10 to 3. Four hours of instruction with kids their age and lunch is included. Even never evers will be riding the lift to green runs by lunch time. The family can then ski together in the afternoon.

We have a wealth of certified instructors on staff to match anyone's needs.

After skiing, there is the indoor pool, roller skating, snow shoe tours, indoor mini golf, arcades, bowling, shopping, sleigh rides, snow cat rides, etc.

The hotel is undergoing renovations this Winter, I would suggest booking a condo on property.

We have an airport on property, but it closes in the Winter due to winds. Latrobe airport is merely 30 minutes away if you choose to fly in.
post #29 of 32
Our family skis seven springs every weekend. If the snow is good you are going to find crowds anywhere on that weekend. Some people think a lift line with a wait of 5 minutes is unacceptable so it is all in your definition of crowded. Most weekends we ski right on the lifts. I have been to snowshoe and it harder to get to.. but in a plane that might not be a problem. The vertical is much better there and they have a run called cup run that is blue and is very long. Good luck
post #30 of 32
Montage .... ???? You can see the airport from the mountain, it has a tower and handles regional/commuter traffic.

Scranton is a bit of a mix hotel wise. Stay on the "mountain side" of the highway, the hotels are nice .... the hotel/motel scene across the highway in the town of Scranton is getting shaky.
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