Do you live in Washington D.C. and have developed an interest in skiing? You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado or fly to the Swiss Alps to learn how to ski.
This is because you can still find some great ski areas in Virginia near Washington D.C., where you can have a fantastic experience skiing as a beginner.
While Virginia doesn’t have high mountains like Alaska and Colorado, its wonderful diversity of skiing amenities and breathtaking beauty make up for it.
It boasts some easily accessible mountains from the cosmopolitan areas of Washington D.C and Baltimore, making it an attractive destination for many tourists.
In this article, we’ll provide a detailed review of the two best ski resorts in Virginia that are near Washington DC for beginner skiers. Read on to discover more!
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2 Virginia Ski Resorts for Beginners
Our top picks are Massanutten Ski Resort and Bryce Resort as they have incredible terrain where beginners can effortlessly learn how to ski.
Let’s have a deeper dive into each ski area so you can see why we chose them and help you narrow down your choices:
Massanutten Ski Resort
- Vertical Drop – 1,110 feet
- Skiable Terrain – 70 Acres
- Lift Pass – $47 to $79/day
Located a few miles from Harrisonburg, Massanutten Ski Resort is a beautiful ski area designed to accommodate beginner skiers and snowboarders. This resort is only 100 miles from Richmond and about 120 miles from Washington DC.
You can easily access Massanutten Ski Area from Washington D.C via bus, train, taxi, or car and you’ll arrive at the mountain within two and a half hours.
When you get to the top of the mountain, you’ll enjoy watching stunning views of sceneries across the valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Skiing Experience in Massanutten
The skiable area in Massanutten is over 70 acres of slightly wooded terrain on one side of the mountain.
You won’t find it hard to access beginner slopes when skiing in this resort, as they are located on the front side of the Lodge near the Snow Sports School.
Massanutten green runs have three conveyor lifts and a large open area where you can practice your skiing balance and build confidence on the snow.
The Easy Rider Chair and Creek Side Chair will take you to some of the best green runs designated for beginners, so there are no faster-advanced skiers to intimidate you.
Once you build your skill and confidence on the lower side of the resort, you can take a challenge by trying out more difficult runs higher up on the hill.
The skiing experience remains great regardless of the weather, as even on cloudy afternoons, there are LED lights surrounding the runs for a perfect environment.
This means that night skiing is possible on all terrain, from green runs to black trails.
Another exciting thing about Massanutten Resort is that all the designated trails are expertly groomed for safe and enjoyable skiing.
So, there is no need to worry about avalanches or risky skiing conditions as long as you remain in non-restricted areas.
You may be afraid of trying out some moves and tricks when learning to ski on crowded slopes, but you’ll be delighted to know that Massanutten Resort has three terrain parks.
These terrain parks are excellent places to practice one or two tricks when learning to ski in this resort.
There is also a snow tubing park where you can enjoy sliding down the snow hill with your family or friends.
Massanutten Resort boasts world-class instructors who will help you learn to ski or snowboard within the shortest time possible.
Whether you are a first-timer or second-timer shouldn’t concern you since the ski school offers a variety of lessons to skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities.
They have private and group lessons for skiers of all ages, but kids under six years have their special instructor.
To eliminate the common fears and anxieties related to skiing, Massanutten Resort instructors use a Terrain based Learning System that helps skiers control their speed and maintain a good body position when learning.
Depending on which package you buy, the training sessions will last for 8 or 4 hours consecutively. There is also a 5-hour night session that lasts from 4 pm to 9 pm.
For more detailed information on ski lessons, you can check out their website to learn from their FAQs section and feedback from guests who visit the resort regularly.
Off-the Slopes Activities
When you are not on your skis in Massanutten Resort, you’ll have many exciting things to do, from fine dining to snow tubing.
You can start by grabbing a quick meal at the Base Camp where they sell pizzas, salads, burgers, and pasta.
If you don’t want to return to the hotel rooms after having all the fun on the snowy slopes, you can enjoy memorable moments with your kids at the resort’s water-park slides.
You can also engage in other winter sports like ice-skating and snow tubing or head to a spa for some soothing massage after a long day of riding down the hill.
Then head to the restaurant later to enjoy some delicious dinner with your family. But you’ll need to check seating availability via the resort app or Yelp, as the restaurant is usually busy in the evening.
If you prefer casual dining, you can leverage the Campfire Grill and make pizza, burgers, chicken dumplings, and many more.
Whether you want to stay on or off the mountain, Massanutten Resort has plenty of accommodation options. If you’re going to stay on the hill, the resort has a selection of condos that has all the amenities you need.
Alternatively, you can reside off the mountain in the nearby Woodstone Meadows, which has a variety of large condos.
- Vertical Drop – 500 feet
- Skiable Terrain – 25 acres
- Lift Pass – $35 to $72/day
Nestled in the foothills of the scenic Allegheny Mountains, Bryce is a year-round resort. The popular local mountain offers tourists a perfect atmosphere to ski and snowboard in colder months.
During the hot season, there is a wide range of activities to engage in when visiting Bryce, from mountain biking to zip lining.
This ski area is easily accessible as it’s only 116 miles from Washington D.C., so you can arrive at the resort within two hours.
Skiing Experience at Bryce Resort
The skiing experience in Bryce resort is incredible as the ski area has well-groomed gentle slopes where beginners can learn to ski and build their skills.
It’s easy to get from one area to another when skiing in this resort, as there are two ski lifts and several conveyors in the beginner terrain.
Most of the terrain in Bryce resort is ideal for beginners, so you won’t have to worry about advanced skiers flying over you as you learn.
The beginner slopes are easily accessible at the front of the Shenandoah Center at the lower side of the resort. And if you want to practice in a secluded area, there are two shorter runs for beginners.
Once you gain some skiing confidence on the Bunny and Little Lip runs, you can take the Double Chairlift to a longer green run that will take you back to the base.
Then you can take on a challenge by boarding the next lift that will ride you to a selection of more difficult runs from the mountain peak.
If you are a night skiing enthusiast, Bryce Resort’s trails remain well-lit throughout the night. They have extensive snowmaking machines and groomers to ensure that the trails are great for skiing all the time.
Bryce Resort has a new terrain park where skiers and snowboarders can test their skills and practice new moves.
Apart from skiing and snowboarding, tourists can also enjoy other snow sports like ice skating and snow tubing, as there are designated areas for such activities in Bryce.
Ski lesson packages are available at Bryce Resort, and they are suitable for both adults and kids as long as they are at least eight years old.
If you don’t want to train in a group, there are also private lessons where you can add a family member or close friends for cost efficiency.
Children under eight years have two designated ski schools where they can learn how to ski and snowboard, and their lesson package comes with all the equipment needed.
Off-the Slopes Activities
You won’t get bored after hitting the slopes at Bryce Resort, as there are many delightful things to do for your après ski. You can visit the outdoor hut to sip beer as your kids enjoy baked apple-topped waffles.
While there is no on-site accommodation run by Bryce resort, you can easily find a place to stay nearby as the resort lists several Airbnb and condo rentals managed by several rental companies.
The vacation rentals on the mountainside are of different sizes, so you can be sure to find a condo, chalet, or cottage that suits your family. Some properties here have Jacuzzis, saunas, and hot tubs to give you a luxury feel.
If you have a large family and are looking for a home-like experience, there are properties that have fireplaces and fully-equipped kitchens.
Why You Should Ski in Virginia as a Beginner
As you have seen from the two ski resorts highlighted in our review, Virginia is an excellent place to learn how to ski.
The resorts have a good proportion of green runs and blue trails where skiers can polish their riding skills and improve their ski ability.
Another reason you should choose Virginia, particularly Massanutten and Bryce as a beginner is because you are always sure of a calm environment.
This is because most seasoned skiers and snowboarders tend to go to alternative resorts that reflect their experience and abilities.
So, there is always a quiet and conducive environment for beginners to concentrate on building their skills when training in Massanutten Resort and Bryce.
Sure, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado may boast a lot more legendary slopes, but these Virginia resorts surrounding the Allegheny Mountains have something special for beginners.
What Are the Best Ski Resorts Near Washington DC
If you live in Washington DC and want to have the best experience skiing in a good resort, there are several great ski areas you can visit within a sensible distance.
Here is a list of the best ski resorts near Washington DC you can visit for a memorable skiing experience:
- Whitetail Resort: Excellent resort for skiers and boarders of all abilities
- Liberty Mountain Resort: Well-groomed ski runs for all levels of skiing and a beautiful on-site lounge
- Massanutten Resort: Perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers
- Seven Springs Mountain Resort: Best for freestyle skiers – six terrain parks
- Bryce Resort: Affordable resort for new skiers and snowboarders with night skiing
- Wintergreen Resort: Great challenging trails with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains
- Wisp Resort: Best for longer trails and scenic views of the Deep Creek Lake
- Omni Homestead Resort: Perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers
- Blue Knob All Seasons Resort: Highest skiable mountain in Pennsylvania, which is perfect for intermediates and seasoned skiers looking for the most challenging slopes
If you love cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, Canaan Valley Resort in West Virginia is a great destination. Canaan Valley is also a perfect spot for experienced skiers, as its blue and black runs are unmatched.
Other West Virginia ski areas easily accessible from Washington DC include Snowshoe Mountain Resort and Timberline Four Seasons Resort.
Q: Where is the Best Place to Ski as a Beginner?
A: There are many excellent ski resorts across the world that can help you learn how to ski. The best one for you will depend on your preferred destination country and how long you plan to stay.
If you want to learn to ski in North America, resorts like Aspen Snowmass, Colorado, Heavenly Ski Resort, California, Beaver Creek, Colorado, and Okemo, Vermont, will give you the best experience.
For skiers looking to learn to ski near Washington D.C., Massanutten, Bryce, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, and Wisp Resort are some of the best places to visit.
If you don’t mind traveling to Europe for a fantastic skiing atmosphere, you can visit resorts like Cortina, Italy, Les Arcs and Tignes, France, Saas Fee, Switzerland, Lech, Austria, and Cervinia, Italy, among others.
Q: Where Should I Go for My First Ski Holiday?
A: The best place to go for your ski holiday will depend on your budget, preferred skiing country, and how long you intend to stay.
If you want a short day trip or a weekend trip and are working on a tight budget, I suggest you look for a ski resort near your home.
For skiers looking to ski out the snowy slopes for an extended period, you should go for a resort that suits your holiday style as ski trips are usually more than just skiing.
I’d also recommend buying lift tickets that give you access to different ski resorts, like the epic pass or Ikon pass, for longer holidays to ensure that you have enough adventures on your bucket list.
You also want to consider who you want to go with, as not all resorts are perfect for family skiing. So, if you want to bring your kids and pets along, you should consider checking the best family-friendly ski resorts.
Q: Is Deer Valley Ski Resort Good for Beginners?
A: Yes, Deer Valley is a good ski resort for beginners. About 27% of the terrain in this ski resort is beginner-friendly and is designated for guests learning to ski.
There is a ski school committed to helping new skiers get their feet on the snow, have fun on the snow and take their skiing experience to the next level.
Along with excellent beginner skiing slopes and the ski school, Deer Valley has some of the most exciting winter activities for its guests. These include backcountry tours through the snowshoeing trails, snow tubing, ice skating, Nordic skiing, sleigh riding, and more.
Q: What’s Better, Liberty Mountain Resort or Whitetail Resort?
A: Both Liberty Mountain and Whitetail are excellent ski resorts that you can visit to explore your favorite winter sports.
Liberty Mountain Resort is your best bet if you want a resort closer to Washington DC. You’ll actually get an incredible snow tubing experience after skiing.
However, if you are looking for a ski area with more of a high mountain vibe, your best choice would be Whitetail Resort as its vertical drop is about 315 feet higher than that of Liberty.
The fantastic Whitetail Mountainside Village, which offers an array of après ski activities and comfy hotel rooms, also makes Whitetail a brilliant choice.
Virginia may not be the state that comes to your mind when you hear the word skiing, but it does have some great spots for beginner skiers and snowboarders.
If you live in Washington DC and are looking for the best Virginia resorts to ski for the first time, don’t hesitate to visit Massanutten or Bryce as they are excellent ski areas for beginners.
You can always be sure of a great experience in these resorts since most of their skiable terrain is beginner-friendly.