Best time to go: 01/15 - 02/29
Yes, Virginia, there is a winter somewhere (and you can get there before the crowds if you leave at sunrise). If you’re looking for the right one to hit up today, scan the list below and pop one in your GPS.
The last time I visited Canaan, it felt a bit like I’d just entered a hot tub time machine. While the down-rent resort has seen better days, the snow is unmatched in the DC region. 40+ trails and beautiful scenery make this a good pick if you’re up for the 3-hour, 180 mile drive.
If your goal is a short drive, look no further than Liberty Mountain Resort. There are only 16 trails, but the gentle grade (plus the ability to snow tube if the skiing fails) make this an ideal place to learn your little ones. Liberty is open from 8a – 10p, so you can avoid the crowds by hitting the road early or joining late for the night-skiing.
White Tail is larger than Liberty and has a bigger drop, which makes it well-worth the only modestly farther drive. White Tail doesn’t make snow on all 23 trails, though, so it’s worth calling ahead and listening to the snow report before making the trip.
As I explain to James, the trick to getting off the chair lift is to … stand up. Would that everything in life were this easy. At Bryce, it is. The tiny resort has fewer than 10 trails and they’re all easy-peasy, so Bryce is not the place for you gnarly thrill seekers. But with strong snow and thin crowds, this is well-worth the 2 hour drive.
The resort that owns Liberty also has a 34 slope resort on the shores of Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland. Aside from the gentle trails (perfect for beginners), Wisp is close to the lakeside town of McHenry, which has a few cool restaurants that feel less touristy than your typical resort town.
The views make Wintergreen our favorite place to stay. Unlike other area resorts, Wintergreen places the hotel on top of the mountain. And at the bottom, there are a number of Cider and beer breweries to tour on a rainy day.