This ski season is on track to look different than last season.
Last winter, most ski resorts were open, but often limiting the number of skiers and requiring lift reservations. While some Covid policies have since eased, resorts in our region are still mostly mandating face masks indoors.
Liberty Mountain and Whitetail Resort require proof of vaccination for indoor dining. Otherwise, skiing and snowboarding at area resorts seem fairly back to normal—and now is a perfect time to hit the slopes.
Here, our guide for finding your mountain.
Most Romantic: Wintergreen Resort
How’s this for romantic: mountaintop condos with fireplaces, balconies, and spectacular views of the Virginia Piedmont. Slope-side restaurants offer fine dining, and the resort’s location outside Charlottesville puts you in the vicinity of some of Virginia’s best wineries. Don’t miss: Wintergarden Spa, with its outdoor hot tubs and indoor pool.
Most Family-Friendly: Wisp Resort
Let the kids run free. This Maryland resort has a children’s program for ages five through 12 that includes lift tickets, rentals, and lessons, keeping little ones busy from 8:30 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. Mom and Dad can then run free, too. The whole family can get together for off-slope fun, such as taking a short hike at nearby Swallow Falls State Park to see the spectacular frozen waterfalls. Don’t miss: The 4,800-foot-long, serpentine mountain coaster.
Most Luxurious: Snowshoe Mountain Resort
Snowshoe in West Virginia has it all—a mountaintop village with shops and restaurants, outdoor fire pits, a variety of accommodations, a swim center, a spa, and the most skiable terrain in the Mid-Atlantic. Most lodgings are an easy walk to the top of the slopes. Off-piste activities include snowmobile tours, snow-tubing, cross-country skiing, and of course snowshoeing. Don’t miss: Guided horseback rides in the snow.
Most Old-School: Liberty Mountain
This Pennsylvania resort has made a lot of improvements in the last decade—including expanding its lodge and adding state-of-the-art snow-making. Yet it still has the nostalgic feel of a ski mountain from the 1970s, with slow lifts and short trails. But who cares? Liberty is fun. You don’t go to hang at the lodge—you go to crank out runs. Significant other doesn’t love to ski? Nearby Gettysburg has battlefield tours. Don’t miss: Hearty pub fare and a pint at McKee’s Tavern.
Most Remote Feel: Canaan Valley Resort and Timberline Mountain
Even though Snowshoe is farther away, Canaan Valley and Timberline Mountain in Davis, West Virginia, feel in the middle of nowhere, next to Dolly Sods Wilderness. The area is also the best place in the region for cross-country skiing, with 22 miles of trails at Canaan and 31 miles at nearby White Grass Touring Center. Don’t miss: Blackwater Falls State Park, with the longest sledding hill on the East Coast and a magic-carpet lift to the top.
Most Fun With Friends: Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Life’s a party at Seven Springs, with live music, DJs, and dancing at the bars and lounges, plus plenty of other ways to have fun indoors such as an arcade and bowling. To amp up the party on the slopes, the Pennsylvania resort has six terrain parks and a super half-pipe. The music is pumping on some of the rails and jumps. Don’t miss: Shooting sporting clays in heated, semi-enclosed stands.
Most Fun for the Average Skier: Whitetail Resort
Skiers love to brag about tackling expert runs—because most skiers are intermediates and happy to have survived the advanced trails. Pennsylvania’s Whitetail, about 90 minutes from DC, has the most intermediate terrain in the region. Non-skiers can hit the tubing hill or enjoy the shops in the quaint town of Mercersburg. Don’t miss: Ice cream at the Moo in Mercersburg. Ice cream is just as delicious in winter.
This article appears in the January 2022 issue of Washingtonian.