Summer is almost gone, which means one thing: it’s time to hit the slopes! The last few months have seen an influx of new skiers hitting the slopes, but where should they be going?
Skiing is a popular winter sport, with resorts across the US getting more and more crowded as the ski season progresses. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to go, considering there are so many options! Where should you be spending your ski holidays?
Fortunately, going somewhere new does not have to be difficult. In fact, you can use the state of West Virginia as a guide to help you choose the right ski resort for your summer holiday. West Virginia is home to some of the biggest and most popular ski resorts in the US, which means you have plenty to choose from!
The Great Smoky Mountains
One of the first resorts you might think of is Great Smoky Mountains, located in the southern part of the state. The largest ski resort in the US, it draws thousands of visitors each season, with their feet touching the summit of Mount Maisy four times per day. There are 86 trails spanning 4,400 vertical feet, making for one of the largest ski environments in America! There is also nightlife, with a ski club organizing an après-ski festival each weekend. If you visit between mid-June and mid-September, you can bet the nights are long and the partying is heavy!
Located only an hour away from downtown Knoxville, you can drive or take a leisurely walk to the parking lot of the Smoky Mountains. From there, you will be transported to the top of the mountain by ski shuttle. The resort also prides itself on being green, with many of the runs being banked or paved. That means no trees cut down, which means no more fresh pine needles on the floor!
Only an hour farther south is another massive ski resort, with 60 trails spanning 7,200 vertical feet. More than 350 inches of snowfall each season provides ample opportunities for skiing and boarding. The snowpark open in the summer is a particular treat, with children having their own mini snowpark to explore before the end of the day! There are also nightlife opportunities, with the whole mountain hosting various parties and festivals throughout the year. The downside is that it can be very crowded during the summer season, with up to seven people sharing one lodge!
The largest ski resort in California, located in the northern part of the state, has been a popular destination for generations. It features 92 trails, a snow park, and an ice cave, offering a very eclectic mix of activities. During the summer, the resort is open until 10 p.m. on Sunday, and there is even a farmers’ market every Saturday, where you can purchase everything from goat cheese to corn on the cob!
Another popular option for summer vacations is the Blue Ridge Mountains. Home to one of the longest ski runs in the US, Mount Biney, this resort is located in the southwest part of the state. There are 48 trails running through the forest and culminating in a hub town with restaurants, bars, and bakeries. In addition to the shops and galleries in the main street, you can also visit the local museum and landmarks, such as the courthouse and the church. Of course, the whole town celebrates Christmas each winter, with locals decorating their yards with wreaths, lights, and ornaments, and the main street being closed to traffic.
Roughly 95% of the Blue Ridge resort is covered in forests, with the remaining areas being used for parking and hotel rooms. There are also numerous picnic pavilions scattered around the mountain, as well as a designated snowplay area for the younger members of the group! On one of the busiest days, there are up to five people per room at the resort, with some lucky guests enjoying the company of just one other person! If you don’t mind hiking and taking the bus to get around during the summer, then this resort might be for you.
The list of destinations above only includes the biggest and most popular ski resorts in West Virginia. While there are more than 30 other smaller resorts scattered across the state, you should really consider traveling farther afield to find the best value for your vacation dollar. To give you an idea of how far some of these smaller resorts are, here is a map:
With tourism season now well under way, many smaller resorts are attracting visitors from near and far. Nearby Ohio and Pennsylvania draw guests from both states, with tourists from as far away as Japan and Germany, thanks to the internet and word of mouth! Whether you prefer a large or small resort, there is plenty to choose from in West Virginia, and all are within an hour of the state’s major cities.