A Snowy Retreat
Snowboarding * Skiing * Winter horseback riding * Tubing
Snowshoe is an upside-down resort—that is, it’s located on top of the mountain and the trails are on the slopes beneath it. Meaning, you ski (or hike or bike, depending on the season) down the hill and then take a lift back up. It also means fabulous sunsets over the surrounding Allegheny Mountains. Skiers flock here for 180 inches of annual snow; 244 acres of skiable terrain; long, narrow runs; and an adorable ski village. Après-ski comprises a spa, split rock pools with a geyser and slides, and one of the most romantic backcountry hut restaurants you’ve ever seen. There are always lots of activities going on, including live music and comedy shows. Fun for the entire family, as they say. And it’s only four hours from DC.
[stay] Rimfire Condos
Whatever your fancy, you’ll find it at Snowshoe, from boutique inns to chalets to luxury hotels. You can stay in the village or at the base of the mountain, as well as at Silver Creek Lodge. I stayed at Rimfire in the village, in a beautifully rustic, privately owned condo within a large building, complete with kitchenette, gas fireplace, and balcony. Starbucks is in the lobby, the village’s restaurants and shops are right outside the door, and the ski slopes await two blocks away. Anyone who books through Snowshoe Central Reservations has access to the sublime Split Rocks Pools, a hot-warm pleaser complete with slide. The day I went, an ice storm hit. The slopes weren’t so great, but the condo was super cozy!
[eat] Sunrise Backcountry Hut
My hubby was not with me on this trip, and I wish he had been. Because this is one romantic evening. You ride a Polaris RZR two miles through the snow-sprinkled woods, getting a little thrum of adrenaline flowing as you slip and slide down a hill here and there. And then, out of the darkness appears a fairy-light-lit cabin. The door opens and you’re ushered by Chef Carole into the warmth inside, and soon you’re sitting by the fire sipping Cabernet Sauvignon. As the evening progresses, you’re served appetizers (we had hot artichoke dip and crackers) and then the main meal—which you had to order ahead of time. I had salmon, which was delectably prepared in a maple marinade, with sides of wild rice and green beans. Steak, duck, and squash (Carole’s grandmother’s recipe) were the other choices. Brownies and ice cream rounded out the meal. At the end of the evening, we tucked back into the RZR and zipped back up the icy road, the end of a perfect evening.
Fun Fact:You can drive the Polaris to and from the hut, if you wish. If you volunteer, you’re restricted to one alcoholic drink at the beginning of the evening.
[fun] The Slopes
Okay, it’s been many years since I last went skiing, at least downhill. This is not my natural state of being. I had hoped for a lesson in the morning, but due to windy and icy conditions, lessons were canceled. So our guide suggested we just hit the slopes. I thought we were just going to stay on the flat, easy part, but then we headed down a green run—and I fell three times. Little kids whizzed by, one mother sashayed down negotiating her son between her legs. Yes, it was embarrassing. Especially the part where I took off my skis and walked the rest of the way down. It was just too steep. I felt better when I later read that many of the green runs actually verge on being blue. That said, this is a full-on, full-service ski resort, with trails ranging from bunny to black diamond. One of the most popular runs (for those who can actually ski) is Flume, a mile-and-a-half run with a 1,500-foot vertical drop through dense spruce forest. I can’t really testify myself, except to report on overheard conversations – and everyone was positive. I’m positive too, even though I probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
This was more my speed. You ride your tube to the top of the hill, jump in, and whoosh down. Speed without the threat of crashing into a tree or flying off a cliff or all those other things I was worried about on the slopes. Totally fun!
You can go horseback riding, snowmobiling, go off-roading in a Polaris RZR, or hit the slopes for more skiing. It’s all nearby and easy to access.