Ski trip? Head to the Mountain State (for obvious reasons)


As talk of Arctic blasts, winter storm systems, and Old Farmers Almanac forecasts ramps up, there’s just one thing on a lot of folks’ minds here: SKIING!

For most locals here, the amazing skiing of the Mountain State really needs no introduction or justification. We already know that we have the flat-out best ski resorts east of the Mississippi and south of New England. But if you’re in the mid-Atlantic region and looking to get into snow sports, or perhaps a transplanted Westerner staring wistfully at those skis languishing away in your D.C. apartment, here are the reasons you need to get to a West Virginia ski resort, pronto!

1. We’ve got the stats

Skiers like to think about the numbers: elevation above sea level, total feet of drop on the slopes, average winter snowpack levels, total skiable days. Good news: with its soaring altitude and yearly accumulation records, the Mountain State remains the crown jewel of all ski spots in the southeastern U.S.

Check out these stats: Snowshoe Mountain has 1,500 feet of vertical drop and peaks at over 4,800 feet above sea level. Winterplace Ski Resort has lights and 100% snowmaking ability. In the mid-Atlantic/southeastern region, it’s hard to beat these numbers.


A family of skiers at Snowshoe going down steep hill with alpine forest in background, West Virginia

2. Ski spots are all over the state

The Allegheny and Cumberland mountains that give our state its nickname run the entire length of our eastern flank, a rocky backbone that separates the Central Plains from the Atlantic Piedmont.

Our three downhill ski spots are nestled in these mountains– from north to south we’ve got Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Snowshoe, and Winterplace. We’ve also got a cross-country ski resort, White Grass, in the northern part of the state.

Near Wheeling, you’ll encounter Oglebay Resort & Conference Center. Ski and snowboard at the terrain park, zoom down an 815-foot slope, or get cozy by the firepit. Snowmaking machines ensure weeks of frosty delight, too.

3. We’re accessible

Because of how widespread our resorts are, we’re close to millions of people in all directions. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind while planning any outdoor fun trip is to try to spend more time on the mountain than in your car. In other words, a day trip is doable with up to a 6-hour roundtrip drive.

By this criteria, Mountain State resorts are accessible to a HUGE chunk of the eastern U.S. Do you live in Pittsburgh, Charleston, Richmond, Charlottesville, or D.C.? You can make a day trip to a West Virginia resort.

Indianapolis, Lexington, Knoxville, any big Ohio city, or central North Carolina? Do a two-day weekend jaunt. Atlanta, Columbia SC, or Nashville? Think about a long weekend trip!


Teenage girl laying in snow with skis, West Virginia

4. Something for everyone

If you learn to ski in West Virginia, you can ski anywhere. Freestyle terrain parks, steep rocky shoots, lightning-fast groomed bowls, forested glades– we’ve got about every style of skiing and snowboarding you can think of.

Our resorts also cater to all levels, from mild to wild. On the advanced side of things, Canaan Valley has the most expert terrain of any Mountain State resort and Snowshoe’s Western Territory boasts some incredibly steep and big double black diamond runs— some of the most challenging terrain there is.

If you’re a beginner we’ve got you covered, too. Every resort except Canaan Valley has at least 33 percent “green” novice runs, and all resorts pride themselves on their beginner ski schools and family-friendly atmosphere.

5. Appalachian hospitality

Let’s be honest, a lot of ski resorts can be a tad pricey. But West Virginia’s ski spots save you hundreds of bucks without skimping on the amenities.

Snowshoe, our biggest, most developed, and most “luxurious” resort still feels like a laid-back fun spot. As for Canaan Valley, it’s a hospitable West Virginia state park!

Winterplace is so close to Charleston and Beckley that an evening ski session there feels like you’re stepping into your local neighborhood cafe. If you want to combine winter thrills with real Appalachian hospitality, come to West Virginia.

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This post was last updated on July 28, 2020