Posh Momcation: Snow Much Fun: Great Winter Getaways Abound in the DC Area

AH, WINTER. NOW THAT IT’S OFFICIALLY HERE, OUR THOUGHTS TURN TO COZY, SNOW-FILLED FAMILY VACATIONS. IN OUR MIND’SEYE, WE PICTURE OURSELVES SCHUSSING DOWN THE SLOPES AND SIPPING HOT COCOA BY THE FIRE. BUT MAKING THOSE DREAMS A REALITY IS SOMETIMES NOT SO SIMPLE. “WHERE TO GO?” IS THE FIRST QUESTION, AND IT’S NOT EASILY ANSWERED. IN FACT, YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE OVER TWO DOZEN SKI RESORTS WITHIN A FOUR-HOUR DRIVE OF LOUDOUN COUNTY. WHO WOULD’VE THOUGHT?

Family fun in the snow at Wintergreen Resort, one of the area’s many great options for a winter getaway.

To make the choice easier, here’s a quick run-down of the resorts that are closest to our area, as well as a few great spots that are a bit farther but worth the drive if you have time for a longer trip.

Let’s start with the resorts that are perfect for a day trip or a weekend—distances are calculated from Ashburn Village Center, so if you’re on the western side of Loudoun, you can assume it’s even closer:

Liberty Mountain, PA: It’s the closest at 1.17 hours, so it’s a great option for a quick day trip. It’s got 620 vertical feet from top to bottom, 16 trails and 8 lifts. They offer skiing, snowboarding, tubing, night skiing, and ice-skating. They have a beautiful new lodge with restaurants, a pub and a spa—which is a nice extra. With a big outdoor firepit and full-service pub, the Liberty Village base area is a great spot to hang out after a long day on the slopes. libertymountainresort.com, 717.642.8282

Whitetail Resort, PA: It’s also super close at 1.26 hours. Their ski and snowboard school is impressive; they employ some of the most highly trained instructors in the country, and they do an incredible job of making sure people learn and have a great time as well. Whitetail’s adaptive ski program is also top-notch. Whitetail is the largest of the close-by resorts, with 935 vertical feet, 23 trails and 9 lifts. They have skiing, snowboarding, night skiing and tubing. Lodging is limited, so advance planning is key if you’re looking for more than a day trip. skiwhitetail.com, 717.328.9400

Bryce Four Seasons Resort, VA: At 1 hour, 45 minutes away, it’s the closest VA resort. They have skiing, snowboarding and tubing. It has 500 vertical feet, 8 trails, and 7 lifts. It’s a bit smaller than the PA resorts, but it has a nice family friendly atmosphere and is one of those rare places you can let your kids roam on their own for the day and know they’re safe. bryceresort.com, 800.821.1444

Roundtop Resort, PA: It’s just under 2 hours away, so it might be pushing it for a day trip. They have skiing, snowboarding, night skiing and tubing. They also have year-round paintball and a ropes course! Similar size to Liberty with 600 vertical feet, 16 trails and 8 lifts. skiroundtop.com, 717.432.9631

If you have more than a day to spend, the following resorts are farther afield but absolutely worth the trip. They tend to be a bit larger, less crowded, and offer more amenities than the closer resorts. Listed in order of distance from Ashburn Village Center:

Massanutten, VA: Massanutten is home to wide groomed trails, a dedicated learner’s area, terrain parks and night skiing. Skiers and riders who visit Massanutten will have access to 14 runs serviced by 7 lifts. “While Massanutten boasts 1,100 feet of vertical—the most in Virginia, Maryland or Pennsylvania— what makes us truly unique is our increasing amount of activities for skiers and non-skiers on and off the hill,” said Kenny Hess, Massanutten Director of Sports Management. “As a family-oriented property, we offer winter fun for the entire family including lesson packages, ice-skating, snow tubing, and season-long development and racing programs. We also have an award-winning Indoor Water Park and day spa for mom to relax in after a day on the slopes.” Close to Charlottesville, you can be there in 2 hours, 11 minutes. massresort.com, 540.289.9441

Snow tubing is fun for the whole family at Wisp Resort. Photo credit: Wisp Resort

Wisp Resort, MD: Wisp is conveniently located just 14 miles off of I-68 in the mountains of Maryland, and it is Maryland’s only ski resort. It has 34 trails, 13 lifts and 700 feet of vertical; drive time is 2 hours, 45 minutes. Activities include skiing, snowboarding, night skiing, snow tubing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and 2 escape rooms for all ages for some off-mountain fun. “What I love about Wisp is that it’s like the mini-Lake Tahoe of the East, with views of Deep Creek Lake from the slopes on the East Ridge,” said Wisp Marketing Director Lori Zaloga. “Two other things that make Wisp unique are the ever-popular Mountain Coaster, which is a must-try at Wisp during any season, including winter; and staying slope-side at the newly renovated Lodge at Wisp to enjoy après ski at the Courtyard firepits at the base of the slopes.” wispresort.com, 800.462.9477

Wintergreen Resort, VA: Wintergreen, home to the UVA ski team, is impressive in its size for a Virginia resort; featuring 1,003 feet of vertical drop and 9 lifts, including two high-speed, 6-person lifts. It has 24 trails, 14 of which are lit for night skiing, and two terrain parks. Wintergreen’s attractions also include tubing, and lodging with a spa, pool, hot tubs, tennis facility and dining to suit every taste. Wintergreen Adaptive Skiing offers lessons seven days a week at the resort throughout the winter season. 2 hours, 50 minutes drive time. “Wintergreen is just a short, easy drive, but a world away. We’re 12-15 degrees colder than other ski areas, and 3,000 feet higher. It makes a huge difference,” said Betsy Dunkerton, Wintergreen Marketing Director. “A unique feature is the snow tubing; you’ll start at 10 stories high and traverse 3 football fields – it’s fun for the whole family. The resort is very family-friendly, and is a great place to unplug and spend time together.” wintergreenresort.com, 855.699.1858

Timberline Resort, WV: Timberline features 41 trails including the south’s longest run, Salamander, which stretches 2 miles down the mountain. At 1,000 vertical feet, it’s one of the longest drops in the region, which allows for more time skiing and less time on the lift. Timberline has 4 lifts and two terrain parks. A unique feature at Timberline is the addition of glades (tree skiing), which is unusual in the Mid-Atlantic region, since so much of the snow in the area is man-made. Timberline is 2 hours, 51 minutes away. timberlineresort.com, 800.766.9464

Canaan Valley Resort, WV: Canaan Valley is a destination for all ages and interests, featuring skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snow tubing, ice-skating and snowshoeing. In addition, the resort also offers indoor activities, workshops, spa and more throughout the year. Canaan’s adaptive ski program continues to grow and offers families with special needs a unique bonding experience. Vertical drop is 850 feet, with 5 lifts, 47 trails and 1 terrain park. The summit is one of the highest in the area at an impressive 4,280 feet. You can be there in 2 hours, 53 minutes. canaanresort.com, 800.622.4121

Kids love learning at Snowshoe Mountain ski school.
Photo credit: Snowshoe Mountain

Snowshoe Mountain, WV: At 4 hours away, Snowshoe is quite a bit farther than the others in the area, but it’s worth the drive. “It boasts an impressive vertical drop of 1,500 feet, and on top of that, the resort receives an average of 180 inches of snow annually, making it the go-to mountain in the area for those hoping to score a powder day,” said Snowshoe PR Manager Shawn Cassell. “Snowshoe is a little upside-down as far as ski areas go: Rather than ride a lift up for your first run, you head right down from the beautiful mountaintop village and catch the chairlift back up to do it again. The vibrant Snowshoe nightlife, luxury spa, and wide variety of dining and shopping options complete the Snowshoe experience.” snowshoemtn.com, 877.441.4386

With so many great options, it’s hard to go wrong when you’re choosing a resort for your perfect winter getaway. Once that decision is made, just head to the resort’s website for lift tickets, lodging and lessons and you’ll be set for lots of snow-filled family fun. Next stop, hot cocoa by the fire – cheers!

The Right Gear is Your Key to Fun on the Slopes
After choosing the right resort for your vacation, making sure you have good gear is of the utmost importance. Be sure you and your family are warm, comfortable and dry by having well-fitted gear and a ski outfit made from breathable, waterproof fabrics. Learn more about the right gear and how to layer up at LearntoSkiandSnowboardMonth.org.

Finding the right gear is easy in Loudoun, since it’s home to two of the best ski and snowboard shops around. Whether you choose to rent or buy, the experts at these shops are there to help you ensure your trip is the best it can be:

Alpine Ski Shop, Sterling:
Alpine Ski Shop is the original NOVA ski shop, opened in 1971 in Tysons Corner by Eddie and Izzy Bunch. Now owned by brothers Chris and Tyler Bunch, who took over the shop from their parents in the mid-‘90s and eventually moved to Sterling. They also have a location in Fairfax. Alpine Ski Shop has won the Snow Sports Industry Best Mid-Atlantic Shop award for many years running. They’re well known for expert boot fitting and have a huge selection of skis and snowboards for all ages and levels.

21999 Shaw Rd, Sterling, VA, 20164,
703-444-7844, alpineskishop.com

Pro-Fit Ski Shop, Leesburg:
Pro-Fit opened in Leesburg in 1995 and has earned the reputation for being the shop for great tuning and boot fitting. Their boot fitters are all certified by MasterFit University and are trained to assess a customer’s foot from all angles and fit boots accordingly. They’re especially good at fitting women’s boots and have an amazing selection of women-specific pairs. It’s unusual for most shops to carry more than a few models, but Pro-Fit carries more high-end women’s boots than most shops carry in total.

34-B Catoctin Circle, SE, Leesburg, VA,
20175, 703-771-SNOW, pro-fitski.com

Inside Ski, Leesburg:
One of the most fun things about visiting Pro-Fit is that you can brush up on your skills or get a beginner lesson while you’re there at Inside Ski’s indoor snow deck. It’s like a huge treadmill for skiing, and it’s a must-do to prep for the season ahead. Give them a call to set up a lesson.

34-B Catoctin Circle, SE, Leesburg, VA,
20175, 571-707-8873, insideski.com