Best Quick Day Trips
Which regional ski slopes are better for a day trip, Whitetail Resort or Liberty Mountain Resort? In my opinion, Whitetail—usually. The resort, about two hours from DC, has more slopes and longer runs. But when the weather warms up, the south-facing trails turn to slush and you’re better off at Liberty, also just a few hours away, where the slopes face northwest. Whitetail Resort, Mercersburg, Pa.; 717-328-9400. Liberty Mountain Resort, Fairfield, Pa.; 717-642-8282.
Best of Winter and Spring
Visit Wintergreen Resort near Charlottesville in the spring and you can often ski the mountain and golf in the valley on the same day because the mountaintop—almost 4,000 feet high—is 15 degrees cooler than the valley. Wintergreen, Va.; 855-699-1858.
Most Extreme Sledding
Canaan Valley Resort offers lessons and rentals in airboarding—in which a high-tech inflatable sled can reach speeds of 60-plus miles an hour. Airboarding isn’t for the faint of heart—you lie face down as you rocket down a hill. A half-day lesson gives you access to the beginner slope. A second lesson—and time on the beginner’s run—puts you on the more expert slopes. Davis, W. Va.; 800-622-4121.
Best Cross-Country Skiing
White Grass Ski Touring Center in West Virginia offers a pastoral setting with more than 31 miles of cross-country skiing trails plus rentals and instruction. Owner Chip Chase employs “snow farming,” catching drifting snow in nets, to keep the trails covered. Davis, W. Va.; 304-866-4114.
Massanutten Resort’s 900-foot-long tubing hill isn’t straight down like those at some other resorts. It has several “whoop-de-whoop” drop-offs to add excitement and occasionally allow a little air time. McGaheysville, Va.; 540-289-9441.
This article appears in the December 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.