Ski Resorts for Non-Skiers
West Virginia's ski resorts have evolved into destinations that cater to everyone by offering an abundance of off-slope activities.
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Don’t relish the thought of hurling yourself downhill on skis? Not carried away with the idea of sitting by a fire alone in a lodge while your family or friends hit the slopes? Tired of being the designated babysitter while everyone else plays in the snow? Don’t be left out in the cold this season. Enjoy a memorable winter getaway. West Virginia’s ski resorts have evolved into destinations that cater to everyone by offering an abundance of off-slope activities. And the best part is that they are just a snowball’s throw away.
Since Intrawest purchased Snowshoe in 1995, it has become the Southeast’s premier winter destination—a wintertime Disneyland. At the top of the mountain, the Village looks as if it belongs in the Swiss Alps, and on clear, crisp days the views are breathtaking. Upscale lodges, restaurants, and shops line the wide cobblestone and bricked walkways that make up the Village, giving it a quaint and pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. Although ski aficionados flock here in the winter for its powder, non-skiers are equally attracted to the resort and here are a few reasons why.
Nature lovers prize West Virginia’s huge tracts of undeveloped land, scenic rivers, frozen lakes, and seemingly endless woods. Add reliable deep snow, miles of groomed trails with easy access, and you’ve got the perfect snowmobiling destination. Snowmobiling is one of Snowshoe’s most popular attractions. “People love snowmobiling because it’s not something they can typically do in their own backyard,” says Laura Parquette, director of public relations at Snowshoe Mountain. “Conservative riders can cruise along while thrill seekers can really let loose on the open trail”.
Guided snowmobile tours loop and wind through spectacular scenery. Try one of the nighttime group tours for a unique perspective of the mountains or one of the two-hour extended backcountry tours that take you off the beaten path.
Monday–Wednesday: $49 per driver and $29 per passenger; Thursday–Sunday: $65 per driver and $39 per passenger; President’s Day Holiday (Friday–Monday): $99 per person and $45 per passenger; Passengers (6–15 years of age and at least 46” tall); Tours offered daily at 4:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
For a behind-the-scenes look at ski resorts after dark, take a picturesque snowcat tour. A snowcat is a large tracked vehicle, with an enclosed heated cab, that grooms the snow. You sit high up, protected from bone-chilling winds, as your tour takes you down the slopes to Shaver’s Lake with a brief stop at the Compressor House, where a veteran snowmaker will share with you the magic of snowmaking. “We started the snowcat tours because the mystery of snowmaking for the average person is so fascinating—and anyone can do it.” says Parquette. “It also gives folks a chance to learn about the history of the mountain and the meanings of the trail names.”
Tours meet at the Outdoor Adventure Village Outpost next to the Shavers Center. Call 304.572.5982 to make your reservation. 1-hour Snowcat Tours, seven days a week beginning at 5:15 p.m. daily; $39 per passenger, $18 for lap kids (4 years and younger,) and $55 for shotgun seat.
If the shoe fits
Enjoy the wild and wonderful winter landscape without the fear of breaking bones. Simply strap on a pair of snowshoes and enjoy an afternoon excursion through rugged backcountry on 43 kilometers of marked trails. Follow the trail that leads you to Shavers Lake or the Sunrise Backcountry Hut where you can reward yourself with a cup of hot chocolate.
Snowshoeing is offered Friday–Sunday beginning December 19, depending upon natural snowfall. Check in at the Outdoor Adventure Village Outpost located near the Shaver Center prior to heading out to the trails. Day Trail Pass $19; Rentals with Trail Pass $29
Swimming in the snow
With indoor and outdoor swimming areas, Split Rock Pools is a wonderful place to unwind. You can swim outside as the snow falls and steam swirls around you. Children love the geyser and water-filled whiskey barrel and slides, and adults enjoy the large hot tubs and sauna.
Split Rock Pools is open daily, beginning November 27. It is open from 3 p.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday–Thursday and 1 p.m.–10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Split Rock Pools is free of charge for guests lodging through Snowshoe Mountain Central Reservations. A $6 fee is required for other guests, and kids ages 3 and under are free.
While the rest of your family is hitting the slopes, visit The Tuscan Spa, located at Whistlepunk, for a massage, facial, body treatments, manicure or pedicure. In the Village, the Tuscan Boutique’s hair salon provides color, cuts, and up-do services, as well as manicures and pedicures.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort, 10 Snowshoe Drive, Snowshoe, WV 26209; 877.441.4386