Where to Ski around D.C.

Throughout the post-holiday lull of January and February, as we try not to let our winter weight-gain springboard from the gastronomic massacres of seasonal indulgence, a strange and uncomfortable claustrophobia begins to sink in. The unrelenting cold keeps us holed up indoors, making it hard to get out even for the morning commute, let alone exercising and soaking up a stray beam of frosty sunshine. Of course, the weather is perfect for one winding winter activity. Ski season is just around the corner.

Whether it’s your first time out or you’re a veteran to the sport, there is really nothing like cutting into fresh powder on your first run of the season. And while the Northeast slopes don’t equal the Western mountain ranges of Utah and Colorado in terms of intensity, abundance and sheer scale, we are chalk full of beautiful, banking ski terrain perfect for families, leisure ski trips and enlivening wintry getaways, with just enough edge to satiate the more adventurous appetites.

If you’re in search of a quick, one-day getaway, a family outing, some serious mountaineering or a relaxing weekend of winter activities, there is a ski slope for everyone within reach of the Washington area. All of the resorts below also have up-to-date, to-the-minute snow and trail reports on their websites that let you know the slope conditions everyday. So, if the snow beckons and the conditions are right, it will soon be the perfect time to take advantage of these frosty offerings.

Liberty Mountain: A Stone’s Throw from the District

The Washington community is notorious for its work ethic. Six-day, 60-hour workweeks are just part of the scene here. Many of us barely have two days to rub together, and long weekends are often more like distant fantasies than potential realities. Still, even workaholics need a temporal and physical release. If you fit this description, Ski Liberty is the perfect day-trip whenever you find yourself with a stray Saturday and in need of an adrenaline boost.

The closest ski resort to the Washington area, its wintertime adventures are available within two hours of the District. They have a range of diverse activities, whether riding solo or visiting with family or friends.

If you are looking for good old-fashioned fun, you might want to try snow tubing on Liberty’s Boulder Ridge slope. It’s a throwback to the days where snow meant no school and sledding. And there is no experience necessary. Enjoy all the fun of zooming down a perfectly carved sled lane and relax on your up back up the hill, with their “moving carpet” that rides you and your tube quickly back to the top for another run.

After the slopes, the Boulder Ridge Lodge is the perfect place to warm-up, complete with party rooms, snack bar, arcade and wrap-around decks to watch the action on the hill. LibertyMountainResort.com

Massanutten: A Wintry Haven for the Whole Family

For more than 30 years, Massanutten has welcomed vacationers to experience the wonder of the Shenandoah Valley. From Massanutten Peak, you can gaze out over panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounding valley. And from the peak, there’s nowhere to go but down. Make sure those skis are strapped on tight!

More than just skiing, Massanutten is a fully equipped family resort year round. But during the winter, the skis have the floor. This year is the 40th anniversary of its ski slopes, and deals, parties, and and fun are this year’s themes. For information on anniversary specials, visit MassResort.com/40th.

Massanutten’s slopes boast 1,110 feet of vertical incline — the most in Virginia, Maryland or Pennsylvania. If you ski, snowboard, snow tube or want to learn how, Massanutten is the place to be. MassResort.com

Bryce Resort: An Intimate, UnCrowded Winter Retreat

Voted the most family friendly resort in the Mid Atlantic/Southeast region in 2010 by online ski guide On The Snow, Bryce Resort is a small mountain nestled deep in the Shenandoah that will rekindle your love of the Blue Ridge and allow you the intimacy and privacy usually afforded by only more expensive, exclusive resorts.

With the only true beginner terrain in Virginia, Bryce is the perfect place for kids and adults to learn how to ski or snowboard. And for parents and grandparents who might prefer the role of spectator, Bryce has the perfect mountain layout: all slopes funnel down to one central area, so you can keep an eye on your children while sipping hot cocoa on the back deck. While their lower slopes are very accommodating for beginners, they have just enough in the way of advanced slopes and short, steep drops to keep seasoned intermediate and advanced skiers engaged.

And with many of their cabins and lodges opening right onto the slopes, Bryce is like a small taste of Aspen in the Shenandoah. BryceResort.com

Wintergreen Resort: The Beauty of the Blue Ridge

Treat yourself to magnificent mountain views, sumptuous luxury and thrilling recreation at Wintergreen Resort. Spanning 11,000 acres on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, their spacious condominiums and vacation homes are surrounded by winding trails, cascading streams and lush forests. Wintergreen Resort is peaceful and refreshing, with an endless variety of winter activities.

Twice named “Best Ski Resort” by WashingtonPost.com readers, Wintergreen boasts a thrilling winter playground, whose amenities include the most extensive beginner-to-expert terrain for skiers and riders alike, as well as Virginia’s largest tubing park. Nestled atop the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains, Wintergreen Resort is perfect for skiing, snowboarding and tubing, whether you’re a beginner or pro. Enjoy more time on the slopes while avoiding the lines thanks to five chairlifts, including their two lightning fast “six-pack” lifts for those with an insatiable ski craving. For more information, visit WinterGreenResort.com
Snowshoe Mountain: Adventure Around the Corner

Residing in the mountains of West Virginia, Snowshoe is not like your average ski resort — it’s an “upside down mountain.” Since the village and resort sit on top, you’ll start your ski day going downhill, not up. But chances are, you’ll want to do it again. They also offer new, lower mid-week rates. So, if you can get away for a day or two inside the week, you’ll save as much as you’ll surely enjoy the fresh powder.

In addition to great skiing and riding, Snowshoe offers a wide variety of winter adventures including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and much more. The Village is the resort’s bustling hub of restaurants, shops and events, all within steps of accommodations. It’s the Village that makes it worth turning a weekend into a week at Snowshoe. You won’t simply have fun. You’ll feel at home. For more information, visit SnowshoeMtn.com

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