Take the day off and go skiing! But, where? The D.C./Baltimore megalopolis is lucky enough to have three great ski resorts — Liberty Mountain, Whitetail Resort, and Roundtop — within a one- to two-hour drive.
The choice of resort used to be easy based upon the weather and a person’s skiing or snowboarding ability. However, over the last few years these three ski mountains have made major improvements both on and off the slopes, making the choice less critical.
All three mountains are owned and operated by Snow Time Inc., have 100 percent snowmaking, and offer discounted ski passes that allow access to all three resorts.
Liberty Mountain is closest to Washington, D.C., at only an hour’s drive from the Capital Beltway. This makes it ideal for night skiing. All 16 slopes are lighted for skiing till 10:00pm, with a ticket starting time of 5:00pm.
If night skiing is your thing, groups of 15 or more can band together to form a Night Club and each purchase a pass for unlimited night skiing for only $214 per person. The same pass is good at Whitetail and Roundtop.
Liberty has a vertical drop of 620 feet and eight lifts. While the mountain isn’t that tall, it has some of the steepest, most difficult terrain in the region. There’s also a fantastic tubing hill with 14 lanes, three terrain parks, a hotel, lodge, and a charming pub named McKee’s Tavern.
Whitetail is about a 90-minute drive from both Washington and Baltimore. Its 935-foot vertical drop makes it feel like a much larger mountain, and a centrally located high-speed quad lift jets skiers to the top of the mountain in only a few minutes.
On weekdays, when there are no crowds, experienced skiers and snowboarders can rocket down the slopes in about a minute, glide right onto the lift, and crank out a dozen runs per hour. That’s really getting your money’s worth for the cost of a lift ticket.
Whitetail has 23 named trails and a total of nine lifts. For beginners, the wide, tree-lined Sidewinder trail provides a consistent pitch that’s perfect for skiers and riders recently graduating from the bunny hill. There are two terrain parks, a tubing hill, and night skiing is available on all but one slope. Last year, the resort spent $9 million renovating the base area and added three new eateries.
Roundtop Mountain, near Harrisburg, Pa., is about two hours from Washington, but only an hour from the Baltimore Beltway. Being further away from Washington makes it slightly less crowded on weekends. (All three resorts can be jam-packed on weekends during the peak season from Christmas to Presidents Day.)
Roundtop has a 600-foot vertical drop, 16 runs, two terrain parks, and night skiing is available on all of its runs. The upper slopes on the back side of the resort are serious double diamond monsters.
The center of the mountain works for intermediate skiers and for those trying out more advanced terrain. And, as with the other two mountains, there is a large beginner and learning area.
Roundtop’s Fireside Pub and Grill is the place to be after a long day on the slopes.
So, the answer of where to ski is easy — try all three! The Advantage Card works at all three mountains. For $119 dollars per person (or $199 for a family) the card cuts the cost of a standard lift ticket by 40 percent, and every sixth lift ticket is free.