BUDGET EXPLORER: Affordability Meets Five Star Winter Experience

By: Brian Sarfino, Budget Explorer

Forget about boots with the fur.  Two-story granite hearth fires are no warmer than the fire ring outside of Quenchers Pub.  In fact, I would argue the outdoor fire is far warmer. Laughs, friendship, and comradery come in abundance here without having to break the bank. What matters in our neck of West Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains is genuine, not fabricated.  Therefore, those working on a budget get the red carpet winter experience, with money left in the bank.

Where to Get Your Snow Slide On

Canaan Valley, West Virginia sits at 3,200 feet elevation.  The highest valley east of the Mississippi River ushers in snowy weather from November through March that is exploited for your pleasure.  Plan a mid-week trip to Canaan Valley Ski Resort and you will find prices slashed by nearly half when bundled ski and stay packages at the recently renovated lodge.  Save time and money before heading to the resort by renting skis and snowboards with Driftland Ski and Sport in Davis.

One of a kind experiences often come with a price tag.  Not with Whitegrass Ski Touring Center and Café.  For forty dollars you will have rental gear and access to more than 50 kilometers of groomed trails.  You’ll pay even less for snowshoe rentals or polk.  What is a polk?  It is a pull behind sled for kids. Herds of spry children dominate the landscape around the rustic lodge building forts, having snowball fights, and of course cross country skiing.  Energy is not eternal, fill the void at the café with fantastic options from a health and cash conscious menu – open for lunch and dinner.

Snow tubing in the lanes at Canaan Valley Resort is an absolute blast.  The coolest new kid in the neighborhood is Blackwater Falls State Park’s sledding hill.  That’s right, sledding.  The place transports you to your childhood with all the modern amenities of snowmaking, surface lift (no walking), and lodge.

Small Towns, Big Vibe

We are so much more than just an affordable skiing and snowboarding destination.  Thousands visit every winter to escape cabin fever.  The quaint, yet lively mountain towns of Davis and Thomas are home to 1,200 of the friendliest folks you will ever meet.  We will say hello walking down the street or in the vegetable aisle at the grocery store.  Yes, we have a grocery store.  But no franchises!

Just simple restaurants – about two dozen to choose from – owned and operated by locals.  Start your day right with mouthwatering breakfast at Bright Morning Inn   or coffee and homemade pastries at Tip Top Coffee.  Hellbender Burritos  is a must for lunch or dinner with incredible wraps.  Two breweries, Mountain State Brewing and Stumptown Ales keep the libations flowing without draining the pockets.

Art Galleries have made their mark in Thomas, West Virginia. Creature and Bloom are contemporary galleries that have taken the state by storm.  Several more along Front Street occupy the creative mind for hours.  Recognized as one of WV’s best music venues, The Purple Fiddle must be on your bucket list.

Sleep a While, Wake up to Jaw-Dropping Views

Winter is more fun with friends.  Canaan Valley is known for rental homes that accommodate up to 20 people.  When the price is split evenly the savings can be substantial, especially mid-week. Mountain Top Reality and Best of Canaan offer mountain chalets situated on five acre wooded parcels.  Additionally, The Billy Motel is a must for hip style and boutique cocktails in their lobby bar.  When rustic cabins for curling up to a fire and tantalizing book is all you need, one, two, and three bedroom cabins at Blackwater Falls State Park are dreamy.

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This post was last updated on March 18, 2022