The Longest White Winters South of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Start at the top at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, WV, Credit: Snowshoe Mountain

Most ski resorts have their hotels and restaurants in a valley. Some resorts have hotels at the bottom of the slope and some restaurants at the top. But Snowshoe Mountain Ski resort has everything at the top of the hill. People call it “an upside-down ski resort”. Imagine a cherry on top of the mountain cake, decorated by snow and a picturesque lake. While Snowshoe is located less than a five-hour ride from the Washington, D.C. metro area, it is indeed as “wild and wonderful” as the rest of West Virginia.

The elevation of the resort is 4,848 ft, the second-highest point in the state. That is quite high by Mid-Atlantic standards. The location and the weather combined with modern snowmaking equipment gives Snowshoe a reason to guarantee “more open terrain than any other resort in the region.”

The resorts looks compact, cute, and cozy. The restaurants, bars, and stores are located in the pedestrian area. By the way, tap water here is clean and tastes better than many types of bottled water. The layout of the condos and hotels is designed to protect you and your car from snow and wind.

The resort has three ski areas: Snowshoe Basin, Western Territory, and Silver Creek. The majority of the slopes are senior skier friendly. One local Ski Patroller has noted that certain guests who have limited experience on small Southern hills, challenge each other on the black slopes of Snowshoe. The black slopes are not as wild as in the Rockies, but are still challenging for the beginners and enjoyable for experienced skiers.

According to one of the Slope Safety Volunteers, more than half of the resort volunteers are retirees residing here. One day I noticed a snowboarder with a big stick and decided that it was just another selfie maniac. Later I got a chance to talk to this 60+ year old ski and snowboard veteran. He uses a monopod (photography tool) to maneuver on flat areas and around the ski lifts. He skied for decades, but recently decided to switch to snowboarding because of joint pain. He found that his knees felt better on a snowboard than on skis.

In case you need a break from skiing, go visit The Green Bank Science Center, which is only 20 min away. The resort is active in summertime. Besides riding on bicycles, the guests enjoy golfing, boating, and hiking.

Useful facts:

Snowshoe offers an 800 ft vertical drop, 60 trails, 13 lifts, 250 acres of slopes, and 180 inches of natural snow annually.

An adult daily pass is $79 on a weekday and $109 on a weekend, and for people over 75 years old, it is $39 on any day of the season. A seasonal pass for those older than 70 costs $499 in 2019-2020. The resort is part of the IKON ski pass system.

For a Snowshoe Mountain Trail Map, click here.

For live web cams, click here.


  1. Steven Burford says:

    The vertical drop of western territory is 1500′ . The top of widowmaker to the bottom of powder monkey may be 800′.

  2. Permit me to recommend my new book if in-depth insight into skiing south of the Mason-Dixon Line is desired—Southern Snow: The New Guide to Winter Sports from Maryland to the Southern Appalachians. It’s a brand new 2nd edition 33 years after the first book—called a “cult classic” by ski film pioneer Warren miller. Yes Snowshoe’s Western Territory has 1,500 feet of vertical from 4848. That’s high for the Mid-Atlantic, but pales compared to North Carolina’s Beech Mountain, East’s highest ski area (5,506) and adjacent Sugar Mountain (5,300 feet). Sugar’s 1,200 feet of vert eclipses all but Snowshoe south of Mason-Dixon—including the biggest in WV and Va, which top out in vert at about 1,000, a “grand plummet” nonetheless. 😉

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