West Virginia’s capital, Charleston, in the Allegheny Mountains, is just a few hours away from some impressive ski areas. When seeking resorts near the city, it’s all about quality over quantity.
There are six located within 200 miles, but with long runs, high vertical drops, and significant amounts of snowfall, all of these resorts provide exceptional skiing experiences. Most of them are located in West Virginia, but as the same mountain ranges extend into Virginia and Maryland, there’s a resort in each state, close to the city.
Winterplace – Ghent: 73 miles | 1.25 hours
More than an hour from Charleston is Winterplace Ski Resort, a premier skiing destination with 27 trails and two terrain parks on 90 acres. Its 3,600 feet of elevation and 603-foot vertical drop provide multiple runs with challenging trails for skiers and snowboarders. While only a quarter of slopes are labeled expert, the trails have plenty of variety for any skier to enjoy.
Lodging is located within a few minutes drive of the ski resort. Dining can be found at the base and mid-mountain. Beyond skiing, Winterplace has the largest snow tube park in West Virginia. It’s easily accessible from the interstate for a simple day trip.
100 Old, Flat Top Mountain Rd., Ghent, WV 25843 (map) | (304) 787-3221 | winterplace.com
Snowshoe Mountain – Snowshoe: 148 mi | 3 hr
With 251 skiable acres, Snowshoe Mountain Resort is the largest ski area by far within 200 miles of Charleston. The resort combines Snowshoe with nearby Silver Creek on one lift ticket for a total of 57 trails, five terrain parks, and seven acres of glade skiing. A shuttle takes skiers and snowboarders between the two resorts.
While Snowshoe is the traditional ski area, SilverCreek has night skiing, a snow tube park, and offers uphill skiing. Only a third of the slopes at the two resorts are for beginners, so Snowshoe is best for skiers with some skiing ability, though lessons are available for all levels. The mountain has a 1,500-foot vertical drop and receives 180 inches of snow annually.
10 Snowshoe Dr., Snowshoe, WV 26209 (map) | (877) 441-4386 | snowshoemtn.com
Homestead Ski – Hot Springs, VA: 158 mi | 3 hr
In the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia on 45 acres of skiable terrain is Omni Homestead Ski Slopes. While it may not be the most impressive of surrounding ski areas, it has benefits the others can’t match.
Because of its size and location, it’s best suited for those learning to ski. There are plenty of other winter activities at Homestead beyond skiing, such as skating on an Olympic-sized rink, snowmobiling, wine tasting, and watching movies. Visitors can also take a tour of the resort, which began operations in 1766.
Most of the resorts’ nine runs are green or blue with a 700-foot vertical drop. Homestead’s Little Penguins program for youth 5-11 helps them learn to ski and any age can enroll in the Snow Sports School.
7696 Sam Snead Hwy., Hot Springs, VA 24445 (map) | (540) 839-1766 | omnihotels.com/hotels/homestead-virginia
Canaan Valley – Davis: 170 miles | 3 hours
With the highest summit near Charleston, Canaan Valley Ski Resort is located at 4,280 feet of elevation with a vertical drop of 850 feet. The resort receives 180 inches of snowfall each year and supplements that with snowmaking on 75 percent of its runs. Of the resort’s 95 skiable acres, the 47 runs are primarily intermediate and expert trails, and only 19 percent are for beginners.
Lodging and cabins are located on the mountain near the resort, with several dining options to experience before hitting the slopes. After skiing, try snow tubing, snowshoeing, ice skating, indoor pool, or the game room. Canaan Valley has one of the youngest ages for lessons, with those as young as two able to learn.
Park Rd. 826, Davis, WV 26260 (map) | (800) 622-4121 | canaanresort.com
Timberline Mountain – Davis: 174 miles | 3 hours
For the longest ski slope in the southeast, visit Timberline Mountain in West Virginia. The two-mile-long Salamander is a green slope but with its impressive length can be plenty of fun for skiers of any level of experience. Timberline receives more than 170 inches of snowfall annually, and with newly purchased snowmaking equipment, will be able to keep the slopes powdery all winter.
The resort has a 4,268-foot summit, a 1,000-foot vertical drop, and fantastic views from almost every slope. Timberline Mountain has 36 trails with varied terrain, including glade skiing and evenly divided slope difficulty. Ski-in lodging is available with the slope-side hotel, and dining is offered in the lodge.
254 Four Seasons Dr., Davis, WV 26260 (map) | (304) 403-2074 | timberlinemountain.com
Wisp Resort – McHenry, MD: 196 miles | 3 hours
Maryland’s only ski resort is situated in the state’s mountainous northwest corner. Wisp Resort began as a ski area in 1955 and has grown over the decades to become a year-round destination.
Nearly half of its 137 skiable acres and 33 trails are blue, with the rest split between green and black slopes. There are three terrain parks of varying abilities for learning and practicing freestyle elements. The resort has a 700-foot vertical drop and its summit is located at an elevation of 3,115 feet.
Any equipment for skiing or snowboarding can be rented on site, including helmets, with rental packages that also include lessons and a lift ticket. Beyond downhill skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing are nearby options.
296 Marsh Hill Rd., McHenry, MD 21541 (map) | (301) 859-3159 | wispresort.com
Finding an excellent skiing experience within a few hours’ drive of Charleston isn’t difficult. Some of the biggest ski areas, with their heavy snowfall and high vertical drops, can easily be experienced during a day trip. Visitors can extend their time at these resorts with other activities like snow tubing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and year-round experiences that go beyond downhill.