Resort Review: Snowshoe Mountain Resort, West Virginia
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If you’re a skier in the south or mid-Atlantic, you may not have much experience with a true ski village atmosphere. Common in the western U.S. and in Europe, ski villages in resort towns often have a number of bars, restaurants, shops, and lodging options right at the base of the mountain. The convenient options mean you don’t need to leave your ski-in, ski-out accommodations and offer all the après ski options your heart could desire. However, the smaller ski hills in the south and much of the mid-Atlantic don’t have much to offer in this area…unless you consider Snowshoe, West Virginia.
My husband and I decided to take a trip to Snowshoe because we’re Ikon Pass holders. As an Ikon Pass destination, Snowshoe Mountain Resort offers pass holders free access to the mountain’s lifts plus discounts on food, beverages, merchandise, lodging, lessons, and more. All in all, it’s a pretty sweet deal, and the “no reservations” requirement for Ikon Pass holders means you have access to the mountain even if lift tickets for the day are sold out.
To be honest, our trip to Snowshoe didn’t get off to the best start. Like many in the hospitality industry, the resort was understaffed, which meant the parking lots weren’t plowed. After a recent snowstorm, parking was a challenge, to put it mildly. My husband’s 4-wheel drive pickup got stuck so badly that it took not one, but two trucks to pull us out. To add insult to injury, no shovels were available, as all of them were broken. However, once we finally made it to our room, we felt a lot better.
Snowshoe has many different options for lodging depending on your needs and budget. We didn’t plan on spending much time indoors, so we opted for the low-cost, ski-in, ski-out Mountain Lodge. Our simple, but clean, condo featured one bedroom, a bathroom, and a full kitchen. The lodge has a family focus and includes an arcade and a playroom. If you’d prefer more upscale lodging, try the Summit, Shamrock, or Allegheny Springs.
The mountain village, which is located at the top of the mountain rather than the base, offers a bit of something for everyone. The quaint village, which is decorated with beautiful white lights, features delicious options like Cheat Mountain Pizza, Sunset Cantina, and Old Spruce Café and Tavern, all of which we tried during our time at Snowshoe. The best part? Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are aplenty, so you’re sure to find something everyone can enjoy.
You’re probably wondering about the skiing, right? After all, we didn’t go to Snowshoe for the food, delicious though it was. As avid skiers, we came to check out a new resort, but didn’t have high hopes because east coast skiing is…well…east coast skiing. However, Snowshoe was a pleasant surprise.
The main portion of the mountain is serviced by 5 lifts and one tow rope, including one high speed quad lift. The mountain has more beginner terrain than most, with lots of long, wide runs that even the newest skiers in the family can enjoy. My husband and I consider ourselves solid intermediate skiers, but the black runs at Snowshoe looked manageable, and they were – we did all of the black runs that were open on the main mountain. In addition to helping us steer clear of the considerable crowds, it also gave us more options when we were ready to try something different. Our favorite run of the day was Camp 99, a black diamond run on South Mountain.
Eventually, we built up our courage to head across the street to the Western Territory, where one lift services all black and double black runs. My husband had a special mission in mind: making it down to Arbuckle’s Cabin, a bar that can only be reached by skiing one of the long black runs from the top. We made it all the way down Cupp Run in one piece, but I’d recommend hitting these runs in the early morning before the snow gets scraped off by other skiers and snowboarders. These steeper runs get icy quickly as the day goes on.
We also took the shuttle to Silver Creek for a little more variety but didn’t love this portion of the resort. Many of the more advanced runs were closed and the runs were packed. We did a few runs before heading back to the main mountain.
Snowshoe is located just 4 hours from the Washington D.C. Metro area, and it’s the only true mountain village experience in the mid-Atlantic. As such, it gets very busy, and lift lines can be long. The slopes were sold out of lift tickets both days of the weekend, which made for a crowded experience. However, lift lines were generally manageable, and we never waited more than about 15 minutes to get on a lift, even during the peak hours.
All in all, Snowshoe Mountain Resort has been my favorite mid-Atlantic skiing experience so far. Advanced skiers may find themselves running out of interesting terrain after a day or two, but if you’re looking for a friendly, affordable mountain with plenty of terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers, Snowshoe is the perfect place.
Runs to Try at Snowshoe Mountain Resort
- Green: Upper Flume – Mid Flume – Lower Flume. This long run is the best bang for your buck when it comes to time on your feet. Plus, it will take you to any of the mountain’s lifts for easy transport to your next run.
- Blue: Ballhooter is a challenging intermediate run that keeps you guessing. Portions of the run are often left ungroomed if you’re looking to try your luck on some powder, but other portions of the run are fully groomed if moguls aren’t your favorite.
- Black: Cupp Run in the most accessible black diamond in the Western Territory. Test your mettle and reward yourself with a drink at the black diamond bar at the bottom!
Danielle Cemprola is a freelance writer, marathoner x 52 and world traveler. Danielle and her husband, AJ, love to hike, travel, and eat their way across the planet. She's a self-described carry-on enthusiast who loves challenging herself to pack for any trip, no matter the length or destination, in a carry-on bag. When Danielle's not flying the friendly skies, you're likely to find her working at her day job as an environmental scientist - hey, someone needs to pay for all those plane tickets!