Massanutten Resort is among Virginia’s top family ski options

Su Clausen-Wicker

Virginia is due for snow this winter — a few good storms, some forecasters say. But whether the snow blasts from snow guns or is a gift from Mother Nature, Massanutten and Virginia’s other ski resorts are already geared up for snow, adding instrumentation to keep slopes white, and adding new attractions to enhance the winter experience.

Massanutten skiShenandoah Valley’s Massanutten Resort, near Harrisonburg, boasts 1,110 feet of vertical drop — the most of any ski resort in Virginia, Maryland, or Pennsylvania — so skiers can get their zoom on. This year, a powerful PistenBully groomer and new automation have amped up the quality of Massanutten’s snow cover, and a new 13,000-square-foot Snow Sports Learning Center gives kids and adults a good grounding in snow sports.

But, that’s not all. The lodge has expanded, inside and out. A massive new deck includes a trendy new umbrella bar so guests can take in lunch and libations while enjoying the scenery. In the Family Adventure Park, new tubing lanes and a second lift have been added. A new climbing wall features the “Quick Jump” freefall attraction to allow the falling sensation, as well as a gentle landing.

“Although the wall will be available year-round, our winter guests get to enjoy it first,” said Massanutten’s Kenny Hess.

Massanutten offers 14 ski trails: three green easy trails, six blue trails rated more difficult, three challenging black diamond trails, and two terrain park trails featuring rails, jumps, and boxes for all degrees of daring. In fact, the more advanced terrain park draws snow adventurers from all over the Mid-Atlantic, some of whom started on the park’s novice terrain park. The resort opened its skating rink and started skating lessons in November. All resort snow facilities are open 9:00am–9:00pm during the regular ski season.

Off the slopes

In addition to instruction packages, Massanutten has a wealth of other activities — from indoor water park thrills to aromatherapy massages to cooking demos to craft classes — for guests of all ages. The spa, open 12 hours a day, is probably best known for its invigorating Kona coffee scrub, although pumpkin and bourbon honey polishes are popular as well.Massanutten ski2

Massanutten, a private timeshare vacation resort, rents one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom condominiums with whirlpool tubs and fireplaces, as well as hotel rooms near the slopes.

“Massanutten is such a great place to get snowed in,” said Filiz Buckley, of Blacksburg, Va. “It was very peaceful, with amazing scenery. We did long walks, each time followed by a sauna — both invigorating and relaxing.”

Also in Virginia

Virginia’s other ski slopes, Bryce, Wintergreen, and The Homestead, will all be opening within a few weeks. Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre in Lynchburg has become the East’s premier spot for year-round skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. Consisting of beginner, intermediate, and advanced slopes and a two-story lodge, this perpetual-winter playground is the first of its kind in the U.S.

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