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If you live in the Washington D.C. area, there’s no need to travel out west to the Rockies or across the Atlantic to ski the Swiss Alps. There are some great ski resorts within a reasonable distance of the U.S. capital, making it easy to take advantage of the powder on a day or weekend trip. These options can all be reached within four hours tops from the city, most closer to three, and some as quick as 90 minutes.
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Whitetail Resort is only 90 minutes from DC, straddling Two Top Mountain in southern Pennsylvania. It’s popular with everyone from beginners to the experienced, with a nearly equal number of blue, green, black, and double-black diamond runs. The trails are all wide open, easily navigated by skiers and snowboarders who enjoy carving turns but aren’t looking for dramatically steep terrain that’s too steep. The high-speed, four-person lift makes it easy to get in run after run, while gear rentals, lessons, and dining are also available. When you want something different or have a non-skier in the group, head to the snow tubing park.
If you’re looking for a resort that will provide a challenge, Wintergreen Resort is ideal for experienced skiers and snowboarders with 24 trails and a vertical drop of more than 1,000 feet. It’s about a three-hour drive from D.C. and offers a bargain with full-day mid-week sessions at just $79 for adults. Not to mention, it’s all enjoyed with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Inexpensive night skiing is available from 4 pm to close. After a day on the slopes, you’ll find a spa, one of the best hotel spas in Virginia, for soothing sore muscles and venues serving delicious eats and refreshing brews that make for an ideal apres-ski experience.
Only 90 minutes from D.C., Liberty Mountain Resort is one of the closest options to the capital city. It’s a great place to learn to ski, easily reached on a day trip, or spend a weekend or longer with a beautiful lodge on-site. That way, you can also take advantage of night skiing with the slopes staying open late. There are 16 trails, with around a third of them for beginners and 40 percent intermediate, while the rest provide challenges to the more experienced. Three surface lifts are offered to beginners, and both private and group lessons are available for kids ages four through 12. A snow tubing hill is on-site for more thrills too. If you get a season pass, as Liberty is managed by the same company that runs Whitetail, you’ll have access to two resorts.
An ideal ski resort for families, Bryce Resort is one of the most affordable you’ll find in the U.S., located 116 miles or a two-hour drive away. The popular local mountain has a bunny slope with a magic carpet lift designed for beginners and small slopes for kids and others ready to ski. If they’re five or younger, they can ski free. Lessons are available through the Kinder Ski School Program too. There are a total of three miles of slopes available with two standard lifts, and for those who want to enjoy other activities, ice skating and snow tubing are also options. When it’s time for a break, you’ll find an on-site eatery with a full bar.
Located 120 miles from D.C., about a 2.5-hour drive, Massanutten Resort is an excellent family-friendly resort with 70 skiable acres and 14 trails, providing something for everyone from beginners to the advanced. It hosts a large area for beginners with a dedicated chairlift and a terrain-based learning program taught by expert instructors making it ideal for those still learning to master the slopes. There’s also an outdoor rink for ice skating and snow tubing at the family adventure park. After all the fun in the snow, you can enjoy a fantastic indoor water park with water slides, lazy rivers, and a water fortress.
Seven Springs takes a little longer to reach at just over three hours from D.C., but there’s enough to do here to fill a weekend or longer. There are 33 slopes and trails, seven terrain parks, and ten lifts that make it easy to get on the mountain, private and semi-private lessons for all abilities and ages, opportunities for freestyle winter sports at six terrain parks, the region’s longest half-pipe at 440 feet long, snow tubing, and much more. Shopping, dining, events, and entertainment are all offered here too, and it’s considered to be one of Pennsylvania’s most romantic resorts.
Nestled in the mountains of western Maryland, a three-hour drive from D.C., Wisp Resort is one of the region’s largest ski resorts with 132 acres of skiable terrain and 32 trails, many of which are longer and more technical than resorts are closer to the capital. There are plenty of beginners, too, and those who want to learn or improve their skills can take advantage of the ski and snowboarding learning center. There are five conveyor-belt lifts and a separate section for the kids too. It’s a mountain catering to all skiing and snowboarding abilities while offering the picturesque beauty of Deep Creek Lake and its plentitude of cool cabins for rent. The lake itself becomes a massive snowmobiling course each winter.
Canaan Valley Resort is three hours west of D.C., providing something for everyone as one of the most well-rounded winter resorts on the east coast. There are lessons for beginners, gear rentals, four dozen ski and snowboard trails, and a vertical drop of 850 feet. The more advanced can enjoy the thrills on several black diamond trails. After it’s all said and done, as a year-round resort and one of West Virginia’s top spa resorts, there are plenty of other things to do, including dining at several different eateries and relaxing at the spa. If you want to make this a regular go-to spot, there are economical season passes too.
For those seeking a relaxed ski getaway rather than time spent enjoying extreme skiing and other winter sports, The Omni Homestead may be ideal for your skiing or boarding jaunt. About three hours and 45 minutes from the capital, it makes for a fun weekend or longer with mostly blue and green trails for beginners and intermediates. It’s been recognized as one of the region’s best beginner- and family-friendly ski resorts. There are opportunities for the advanced too, who can test their skills on The Chute or Nose Dive. No matter your experience level, the state-of-the-art snowmaking and grooming equipment ensures a fun day out. Afterward, you can take advantage of the resort’s naturally heated pools or enjoy a spa treatment.
Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, Blue Knob All Seasons Resort is a three-hour drive from D.C. It’s the highest skiable mountain in Pennsylvania and boasts some of the most challenging slopes, which include a 1,072-foot vertical drop. It’s one of the best around when it comes to advanced and expert runs, including seven double black diamonds, although the 34 trails also include beginner and intermediate runs. You’ll find everything you need here, with gear rentals and equipment available for sale at on-site shops, group and private lessons, and other winter activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and tubing.
Offering some of the most heart-pounding ski trails near D.C., more than a third of the 26 trails at Montage Mountain Ski Resort are for experts only, while 45 percent are for intermediates, and the remainder are beginner-friendly. There are several black diamond and double black diamond runs, night skiing, a terrain park, and a snow tubing hill. Gear rentals and lessons are available, and there are multiple dining options, including a food court and the Slocum Hollow Bar & Restaurant, with 22 rotating draft beers, signature sandwiches, Old Forge Style Pizza by Revello’s, light bites, and kid-friendly dishes.
Just two hours north of D.C., Roundtop Mountain Resort offers a family-friendly atmosphere with 20 trails and an outstanding ski and snowboard school program renowned for its instructors. and experts who make learning fun. By choosing the three-day Discovery Program, beginners get rental equipment, lessons, and lift tickets, a great value that ensures they’ll have the confidence to tackle the slopes. There’s a childcare center for little ones who aren’t quite ready, allowing the parents to have fun on the slopes, and everyone can enjoy snow tubing. It even has a special area for tiny tots four and under. When hunger pangs hit, enjoy delicious drinks and eats at the Fireside Pub & Grill or at one of the two food courts.