Ski, sled, and see beautiful Canaan Valley this winter

Skiing in Canaan Valley means a choice of more than 80 ski and snowboard slopes, miles of groomed Nordic ski trails, an ice skating rink, and terrain and tubing parks at two neighboring resorts, Canaan Valley Resort State Park and Timberline Resort.

kiers have been coming to Canaan for 60 years because this high valley is likely to be blanketed with the white stuff when other spots in the Southeast are bare and brown. And, while it’s often snowy in the winter, Canaan Valley isn’t remote, especially since West Virginia’s Corridor H (Route 48) has cut drive time from the Washington, D.C., area to between three and 3-1/2 hours.

Canaan Resort lodge renovations

Canaan Valley Lodge
Get a “room with a view” at the renovated Canaan Valley Resort Lodge. The state has also spent millions of dollars on ski and tubing area improvements.

The arrival of the four-lane highway isn’t the only development to affect the valley. After a $34 million renovation last year, Canaan Valley Resort State Park has 160 “woodsy-elegant” guest rooms, a spacious stone lobby, Seasons Café restaurant, increased conference space, an upgraded pool area, and much more, including a full-sized ice rink.

The state invested $8.6 million on ski area improvements: chair lift renovations, more warming areas, more tubing runs, a new snowmaking system, and “people movers” to transport guests quickly from the resort’s parking lot to the Bear Paw ski lodge and lifts.

The lodge’s guest rooms are designed with a rustic elegance — plush beds and linens, oversized bathrooms, mini refrigerators, and flat-screen televisions await guests.

Wall-sized forest scenes give a feeling of oneness with nature in some rooms, while others feature balconies, fireplaces, and wheelchair accessibility. Perched upon a plateau with sweeping vistas of the surrounding mountains, Canaan Valley Resort offers guests a variety of accommodations and the proverbial “room with a view.”

Ten miles away, Blackwater Falls State Park also offers a lodge and restaurant, as well as more than 10 miles of trails for cross-country skiers.

A full service cross-country ski center dispenses lessons and equipment rental. The legendary sledding hill at Blackwater stays smooth, groomed, and ready to give sledders a thrilling quarter-mile slide.

The hill offers a tow ride to the top and sled rentals. On Feb. 28, the slope will come alive with sliding cardboard creations during the park’s annual Cardboard and Duct Tape Sled Race. Prizes are awarded for speed, spirit, and beauty.

Cross-country skiing is available at both Canaan Valley and Timberline ski resorts.

Canaan Valley Resort, Blackwater Falls, and Timberline all make the season merry by throwing New Year’s Eve parties, and the resorts will be offering special long-weekend packages during January and February.

Timberline features music and festivals at least every other weekend and is a recognized mecca for telemark skiing.

Canaan’s rail jams will be stirring up excitement on Jan. 24, Feb. 14 and 28, and March 14; its Mardi Gras celebration on Feb. 17 features two lift or tubing tickets for the price of one.

Any time is a good time to visit this lovely open valley where deer wander past lodge windows and the sun sets cranberry red. In the valley town of Davis, Blackwater Brewing Company practices the art of making artisanal, European-style beer to accompany wings or tasty entrees.

Four blocks up the street, West Virginia Highlands Artisans Gallery sells the juried work of 25 West Virginia artists; gift potential runs high among this eclectic assortment of hats, pottery, wholesome soaps, and wooden items.

Insider tip: Sirianni’s Café, on the same street, remains a proven favorite among visitors and locals alike for its assortment of homemade pizzas, pasta, sandwiches, beers, and wines; specialties include stuffed peppers and “Ellie Mae’s Big-Breasted BBQ Chicken Pizza.”

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