Lifestyle

The 7 Best Ski Slopes and Resorts Near DC

From socially distant chairlifts to outdoor breweries.

Liberty Mountain Resort
Liberty Mountain Resort | Photo Courtesy of Liberty Mountain Resort
Liberty Mountain Resort | Photo Courtesy of Liberty Mountain Resort

Washington DC certainly isn’t Vail, Colorado, or Stowe, Vermont, but if you’re looking for a winter activity that helps you avoid cabin fever, then this might be the year to give skiing or snowboarding a try. There’s some good news for snow lovers too. Forecasts are predicting a snowier than usual winter, and there are a few winter-themed resorts that are only a short drive from The District. Whether you prefer the bunny hill or a double-black diamond, there are plenty of resorts just a few hours from DC that allow for some outdoor fun in a safe and socially distanced environment. Here are seven resorts where it’s easy to hit the slopes for a day or weekend adventure.

Whitetail Resort

Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
Distance from DC: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Whitetail Mountain Resort is a four-season that straddles Two Top Mountain in southern Pennsylvania. It’s one of the closest ski destinations to DC, and it’s a popular one with crowds of both beginner and experienced skiers. This year, due to COVID-19, Whitetail is limiting the mountain to season pass holders and advanced online reservations only. Regular lift tickets go on sale starting December 8, and Epic Day passes, which afford you access to many popular resorts around the country are also available. With an almost equal number of black and double-black diamond and green or blue slopes, this mountain was made for both the novice or expert. Plus, there’s a snow tubing park for the kids.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
 

Liberty Mountain Resort

Fairfield, Pennsylvania
Distance from DC: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Liberty Mountain Resort is another excellent ski destination with easy access to DC. The mountain is also in close proximity to historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which has plenty of breweries and outdoor dining, as well as weekend cabins and historic homes that are easily booked online. The main benefit of this mountain is that it has a front and backside. Beginners prefer the bunny hills and magic carpet lift toward the front of the resort. Meanwhile, expert skiers and snowboarders gravitate to the steeper slopes on the back of the mountain. Liberty is also managed by the same company that runs Whitetail, which means a season pass gives you greater access to both resorts. And the slopes stay open late, with an option to take advantage of night skiing. 
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Fairfield, Pennsylvania

Wisp Resort
Wisp Resort | Photo Courtesy of Wisp Resort
Wisp Resort | Photo Courtesy of Wisp Resort

Wisp Resort

McHenry, Maryland
Distance from DC: 3 hours
This is one of the largest ski resorts in the region, and there is literally something for everyone. This resort has 172 acres of fun, with many ski houses that have ski-in/ski-out access, plus a full-service hotel right on the mountain. It’s a bit of a drive, but many of the trails are technical and longer than resorts closer to DC. And almost always the ski conditions are better than the resorts closer to home. 

The mountain caters to families of all skiing and snowboarding abilities, including those who might prefer a dip in the hot tub overlooking the slopes with a frosty beer in hand. Since this is much more of a four-seasons resort, vacation rentals on or off the slopes are plentiful and come with oversized amenities. You’re also surrounded by the scenic beauty of Deep Creek Lake, which when the weather dips cold enough, turns into a giant snowmobiling course. Or you can opt for cross-country skiing at The Nordic Center or a wild ride down a mountain coaster
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near McHenry, Maryland

Massanutten Resort

Massanutten, Virginia
Distance from DC: 2 hours, 30 minutes
At 2,922 feet elevation, Massanutten Resort offers 70 skiable acres of terrain suitable for all levels, from the beginner to the advanced skier or snowboarder. And this is the place to go if you’re picking up skiing for the first time. The resort offers a terrain-based learning program taught by experienced instructors to master the slopes. Other winter activities at the resort include snow tubing at the Massanutten Family Adventure Park and ice skating on the outdoor rink.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Massanutten, Virginia

Snowshoe Mountain
Snowshoe Mountain | Photo Courtesy of Snowshoe Mountain

Snowshoe Mountain

Snowshoe, West Virginia
Distance from DC: Four hours, 30 minutes
It’s a hike from DC, due west through scenic West Virginia, but once you arrive, skiers and snowboarders here are rewarded by some dare-defying slopes, the most trails for any nearby resort, and a year-round village vibe that includes family-friendly restaurants and lodging, including several upscale, alpine accommodations. Snowshoe Mountain covers a total area of 11,000 acres in the Appalachian Mountain Range and includes the second-highest point in the state at 4,848 feet in elevation. For more technical skiers there’s an option to explore the terrain park or test fate with hair-raising black diamonds, Cupp Run and Shay's Revenge, which have a vertical drop of 1,500 feet.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Snowshoe, West Virginia

Wintergreen Resort
Wintergreen Resort | Photo Courtesy of Wintergreen Resort

Wintergreen Resort 

Wintergreen, Virginia
Distance from DC: 3 hours
Wintergreen is the only ski area on the East Coast where 100 percent of the terrain is covered by automated snowmaking, so as long as it’s cold outside you’re guaranteed to have a snowy, good time. This is also a value-driven resort, where lift tickets start at just $49 for a four-hour session of skiing Monday through Friday and $84 for an eight-hour session. This is also one of those rare resorts where you start at the top of the mountain and ski your way down to the chair lift. And where the ski-in, ski-out condos, and lodge come with sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. After a long day of fun on the mountain head down to the valley, where you’ll find Devil’s Backbone Basecamp Brewpub or Bold Rock Nellysford Cidery with plenty of outdoor space and roaring fire pits that make for a perfect après-ski experience. 
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Wintergreen, Virginia

Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Seven Springs Mountain Resort | Photo Courtesy of Seven Springs Mountain Resort

Seven Springs Mountain Resort

Seven Springs, Pennsylvania
Distance from DC: 3 hours, 20 minutes
Sleigh rides, snowmobile tours, and snowshoeing are just three of the off-slope activities that Seven Springs Mountain Resort offers folks who visit this picturesque mountain town just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the Laurel Highlands. Plus, it’s close to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater for an architectural diversion.  Those who prefer to stay closer to the lodge will also find skating, miniature golf, and snow tubing. This resort is extremely family-friendly and a great place to learn how to ski or snowboard. Seven Springs also makes it super easy to learn from experienced instructors and private or semi-private lessons for all ages and abilities.
Find an Airbnb nearby: Search near Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

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Tim Ebner learned to shred the slopes at Seven Springs when he was just 5 years old. He’s now an avid skier and takes frequent trips to Wisp—his favorite resort in the region. Follow him on Twitter @TimEbner.