The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia boast three ski towns, all located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. These mountain communities don’t have the centuries of history possessed by many other ski towns along the East Coast, yet they are surrounded by lots of outdoor activities with easy proximity to the slopes.
All three ski towns are located in Northern Virginia within a few hours of both Washington, D.C., and Richmond. Their location away from the hustle and bustle of urban cities while still being accessible makes them ideal locations for living or for a short visit. Consider spending a few nights here while riding Virginia’s ski slopes this winter.
Here are the top ski towns in Virginia to live and visit, in no particular order:
Mount Jackson, VA
Mount Jackson is not only notable for being close to the slopes of Bryce Resort, but also for its water tower painted as a bushel of apples. The artwork is an homage to the town’s apple orchards, its annual Apple Harvest Festival, and the local corporation, Bowman Andros Products, which makes applesauce and similar food items.
The area was first known as Mount Pleasant in the late 18th century, then was renamed in 1826 in honor of General Andrew Jackson. The sleepy town became a hub of activity in the 1830s when the Valley Turnpike came through the area connecting Mount Jackson with surrounding communities. The ski town’s population was just below 2,000 in 2020.
Along Mount Jackson’s Main Street, visitors and residents can discover a handful of local shops and dining. Town activities include bowling and swimming, with plenty of other things to do at Bryce Resort about ten miles away. The four-season resort has grass tubing, golf, mountain biking, and disc golf in the warm weather, then features skiing, ice skating, ski racing, and snow tubing in the winter.
With its proximity to Washington, D.C., Mount Jackson is a perfect mix of a rural community with urban access. While the nightlife may be lacking, the town is a close-knit and family-friendly option.
In the Blue Ridge Mountains, the ski town of Wintergreen is primarily known for the four-season resort by the same name. Yet the quiet community has retained many of its original historic homes and buildings and serves as a gateway to the resort.
In the early 1880s, the town was known as Slaughter, named for the person who established the first post office. It was changed to Wintergreen in 1902, remaining fairly small with only a handful of stores and mills in the farming and logging community. With fewer than 500 residents in 2020, it hasn’t grown much though the area has become popular as a second home destination.
Wintergreen Resort opened in 1975 and was soon followed by a golf course and tennis center. Wintergreen has hosted many events over the decades including Winter Special Olympics, the Tour DuPont cycling race, summer music festivals, and Performing Arts Festivals. With the high number of events and activities in the region, it’s an amazing spot for those who are always seeking something new to experience.
In the winter, skiing, snowboarding, and tubing are available at the ski resort. Summer months are ideal for horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and hiking. Those staying at the resort can also enjoy golf or tennis.
The isolated area surrounded by the Appalachians (home to the Blue Ridge Mountains) feels far away from civilization but is only a few hours from Richmond and Charlottesville. Art galleries, a variety of restaurants, and plenty of shopping are just a few minutes down the road at any number of surrounding small communities.
The village of Massanutten has always been centered around the local mountain of the same name, starting in 1875 when a health spa was built around the natural springs. Today skiers and snowboarders flock to the town for the slopes of Massanutten Resort.
The affordable ski town is surrounded by rolling hills and incredible views. The resort and convention center are always full of activities, from performances to cooking classes. This census-designated place is part of the greater Harrisonburg Metropolitan Statistical Area and is only five miles from McGaheysville.
Golfing, hiking, and cycling are available in the summer, with snow tubing, skiing, and snowmobiling throughout the winter. The resort’s indoor waterpark is a fun experience at any time of the year, along with live music, and virtual reality activities.
The town’s population was 2,610 in 2020. While amenities in Massanutten are mainly situated around the resort, there are also a number of nearby towns and communities with a range of dining and shopping options. Farm-to-table dining, arts, and music experiences abound with plenty of places to stay both on the mountain and in the valley.
Along the Shenandoah Valley, it’s easy to find the right ski town among Virginia’s handful of ski areas. While these mountain towns may feel isolated, surrounded by rolling hills and natural forests, they’re all within a few hours of major cities and airports. All three have many outdoor activities to enjoy with plenty of entertainment to enjoy your time in “Old Dominion”.