Firsthand Report: Snowshoe Mountain Resort 7
Snowshoe is one of the Intrawest Destination Resorts, and it has a Western feel. There are so many options, including snow sports, eating, shopping, and games for the younger set. Getting here from the DC area is a four to five hour drive through some of the region’s most spectacular scenery. Once you cross the West Virginia line you know why it is called the Mountain State. Some of the high points (no pun intended) include Spruce Knob, Seneca Rocks, Smokehole Caverns, Dolly Sods National Wilderness Area, Green Bank National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and Cass Scenic Railroad. Snowshoe is the major employer in Pocahantas County, and the resort contributes to the community in many ways. The marketing and public relations aspects of Snowshoe are well run by President and COO Frank DeBerry; public relations representative Krysty Ronchetti; and marketing director Dave Dekema.
Sunrise January 12, 2013 from the top of Snowshoe Mountain. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.
There were so many wonderful experiences about the weekend in Snowshoe, it is hard to know where to start. Each morning began with dramatic dawns. The sunrises brought springtime warmth. From our condo on the fourth floor of Allegheny Springs, we could see the mountains we had crossed. They had ribbons of snow reminding us that this is just a January thaw. The trails here were well covered thanks to earlier snows, machine magic, and excellent grooming. The forests are surprisingly green for January but “Snowshoe climate” is predicted to return next week.
The other wonderful aspects of the visit were the chances to ski or snowboard with old friends and make new ones. This time we had the opportunity to savor gourmet dinners at Sunset Cantina with an eclectic Tex-Mex menu and Auntie Pasta with Italian delicacy in West Virginia portions. The fresh seafood selections at both were a delightful surprise for an area better known for its local fish and game. The Junction has a traditional breakfast buffet, and Cheat Mountain Pizza has signature pies ready for takeout or delivery when you come off the slopes.
College students on their last weekend of winter break crowded enthusiastically to Snowshoe on Saturday. Connie was nearly wiped out by two speeding skiers who came within inches of hitting her hard from the side and the back during a ski lesson. She came up with a suggestion, and it is not a joke from Saturday Night Live. Everyone on the slopes should wear bells of some sort, so that others know they are coming. Maybe it is a craze that will catch on!
David Begg, Director of Snowshoe Adaptive Center, on left with staff and volunteers, January 13, 2013. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.
On Sunday, we went to the Silver Creek area of the Resort to visit our friends at the Adaptive Center. It is still led by hard working David Begg, who has been its creator and driving force for over 25 years. It is part of “Challenged Athletes of West Virginia” and their motto is “Ability First.” It is a fine, well stocked building, run entirely by contributions. This year’s military weekend is March first to fourth, and is sponsored by “Warfighters Sports.” Some of the Wounded Warrior groups have split into different organizations, but they all do excellent work. They all deserve our support.
The Adaptive Sports Center. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.
For my money I'll take Timberline over snowshoe every single time. 4-5 hours to snowshoe is optimistic, it has taken me over 6 hours with 66 traffic and snow. It's also very expensive to stay and ski here, combined with the ridiculous crowds its just doesn't add up.
Timberline is much closer has the same amount of natural snow (3-4 hours), more ski in ski out housing, and superior steepness and glades. It's also probably half the price and is never crowded. If your a beginner / enjoy luxury try wisp instead.
If I'm spending Snowshoe type money and dealing with a 5-6 hour drive I'd rather just catch a flight out west, say to Utah, where the skiing is actually worth the sacrifice. Snowshoe is just a bigger version of whitetail.
I like to consider Timberline and Snowshoe on non-comparison, totally different leagues, and comparing them is akin apples and oranges, so trashing Snowshoe is inappropriate when in fact, it is one of the best ski areas in the East and has been named so time and time again in skier publications and travel consortia. If I want to make a day trip or a short overnight stay, I'll take Timberline. If I want a multi-day trip, there is no comparison to Snowshoe, which is a regional destination resort. I have skied both areas, I enjoy them both, each offers great variety, and frankly, don't want to get in a Snowshoe vs Timberline food fight, but need to point out some facts:
- From U Street Corridor, it takes me exactly 4 hours and 15 minutes to get to Snowshoe, not over 6 hours.
- Yes it is relatively more expensive. But it has a higher level infrastructure than any other Mid Atlantic ski area - actually, higher level infrastructure than most ski areas in the entire East including most ski areas in NH and VT. And no, it is absolutely NOT half the price. From their own websites, a three-day holiday ticket at Timberline is $153. It is $200 at Snowshoe.
- Snowshoe is well over twice the size of Timberline.
- 4 lifts at Timberline versus 15 at Snowshoe including three high-speed quads.
- If crowds on the main face at Snowshoe is a problem, take a shuttle to Silver Creek and there are no crowds whatsoever.
- Snowshoe has more ski-in ski-out housing on the village alone than Timberline has housing in the entire complex, so I don't understand where the assertion comes from. Additionally, the South Village with Soaring Eagle/Top of the World adds several hundred housing units to the list.
Fair is fair. As skiers and boarders, we should be praising all the available ski areas instead of trashing them.
Most ski areas are great, when conditions are good. We are now having a terrific time at Wintergreen. Connie and Charles
I tried to write a reply to the "accuracy challenged" reply to your wonderful article on Snowshoe. Basically I covered the points made by Lou in his retort. However, I was unable to post my comments due to a frequent problem I have with the DCSki site...the inability to log-in. Neither Scott nor I can figure out why this problem exists, especially since it is intermitent and sometimes computer/iphone dependent.
I was at Snowshoe over the MLK weekend and was amazed at the positive conditions given the January thaw we had just experienced. Unfortunately I did not get on the slopes as much as desired due to a nasty cold that sapped my strength...in fact this cold continues to keep me home despite my desire to join the Wounded Warrior program at Wintergreen this weekend. Maybe I can get to the next WW effort.
Get well. Maybe you can join us with adaptive skiiing at Liberty next week. Yours, Connie
Thanks for the reply, Connie and Morgan. One of the other things - that Connie succinctly covered, is the efforts of Snowshoe in the Wounded Warrior Program. As a veteran, a retired military officer and someone who has flown medevac missions for wounded warriors, the efforts of a private concern such as Snowshoe are praiseworthy, and hats off to Connie for covering them. I wish more ski areas did that. Our wounded, physically challenged and recovering fighting men and women deserve all our attention and assistance.
I really love those warriors. Over a l0 year period, we have grown to love many of them and their families. Am writing about Wintergreens program now and Liberty in March