By Robby Osborne
There are only two options when the snow is falling: the first option is cuddling up in a warm blanket next to a crackling fire, with a good book and hot chocolate to keep you company. The second option is to bundle up in your winter gear, put on your tight boots, and grab your snowboard and skis to go ripping down the mountainside. It’s winter time, and that means ski resorts have opened their doors to the slopes, and Northern Virginia Magazine brings you some of the best places to go close to Northern Virginia. While you’re having fun on the slopes, don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
Located on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wintergreen Resort lies 140 miles away from Fairfax. While Wintergreen is an all-season resort, and opened year round, it becomes a staple of the Virginia ski community in the winter. With slopes open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekend and one of the longest ski seasons in Virginia. Not only does Wintergreen have 26 slopes available throughout the day, but as the sun goes down, 14 slopes remain open for night skiing. The longest run on the mountain clocks in at 1.4 miles.
Wintergreen offers day packages for single-day trips (starting at $52) for those who want to spend the weekend. If you want to learn how to ski/snowboard, Wintergreen offers packaged deals for rentals and lessons.
If skiing just isn’t for you, but you still want to ride down the mountain, then grab an inner tube and head on over to the Plunge. The Plunge is the largest snow tube park in Virginia, with a 100-foot vertical drop over the span of three football fields, allowing for tubers to gain speeds up to 40 mph. Passes for all snow tubing run ($18) for ninety minute sessions.
Logging in at 194 miles from Fairfax, and part of the Laurel Highlands, the Seven Springs Mountain Resort is the largest resort in Pennsylvania.
“Over the course of a calendar year, we welcome more than 1 million visitors to Seven Springs, that’s everyone who walks through the door,” said Anna Weltz, Seven Springs communications manager.
Seven Springs Mountain resort has 285 acres or ski/snowboard terrain, translating into 33 slopes, most of which are open during the night. Seven Springs also has one of the largest snow tubing parks in the reason. The resort is also home so snowshoe walking trails and snowmobile tours.
Aside from day lift tickets (starting at $58), Seven Springs recently acquired Hidden Valley Ski Resort, and is offering a “Highland Ski Package,” (starting at $274) which will allow you to ski at both resorts all day.
At 198 Miles, Snowshoe Resort is the furthest resort from Fairfax, located deep in the heart of West Virginia. Snowshoe covers 251 acres of ski-able terrain including: 57 trails, 14 ski lifts, and a 1500-foot vertical drop.
Snowshoe has lift tickets ($40), snow tubing parks, and multiple terrain parks. Snowshoe also offers discount prices based on last-minute cancellations, but there are no cancellations
Snowshoe Mountain will often have late availability due to last minute cancellations, or simply due to holes between guests leaving and arriving. If you have a flexible schedule you can take advantage of these “act fast” deals, but they come with caveats. Last minute room reservations must be paid in full at time of booking and are non-refundable. Single night stays are available.