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Brittle autumn leaves have fallen to the ground and cold, nippy winds give an inexpressible scent to the air. This means winter is right around the corner for West Virginia. Known as the Mountain State, our mountainous terrain and rolling hills make West Virginia the 4th snowiest state on the East Coast averaging 160 inches of snow per year. Avid skiers and snowboarders have been thinking about the first snowflakes since the leaves started changing. Because of 6 distinctive ski areas within 50 miles of Elkins, Randolph County is the ideal destination to winter vacation in the heart of West Virginia ski country.

Elkins: This quaint small town is rapidly becoming the place to spend your winter chasing fresh powder. Lavish restaurants with mountain views, the cozy atmosphere of the unique coffeehouses, and warming up with the best locally brewed beer in the state, Elkins has an amazing variety of affordable food and drink options. On almost any given night, you can experience a full spectrum of live music of home-grown talent at many venues throughout the town. As if that weren’t appealing enough, wake to a winter wonderland in one of our hotels or to the snowy landscape of the Monongahela National Forest in a secluded cabin. And then, let your adventure continue in the mountains.

Photo Credit // Kurt Schachner – Snowshoe Mountain

Snowshoe Mountain Resort: Skiing and snowboarding at Snowshoe Mountain Resort is pure adrenaline for dedicated downhillers. Only 45 miles from Elkins, Snowshoe Mountain has long been considered the region’s premier ski resort and is comprised of two distinct mountains that are skiable with just one lift ticket. An elevation of 4,848 feet, with 1,500 feet of vertical descent and a total of 60 trails, makes Snowshoe one of the highest and largest ski areas in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast. The main basin face gives skiers and snowboarders a generous sample of terrain from groomed wide-open lanes and the spruce tree glades, to progressive terrain parks, or the well-known difficult and steep Western Territory off the mountain’s back side. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Snowshoe Mountain offers snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Photo Credit // Kurt Schachner – Snowshoe Mountain

Silver Creek Ski Area: Silver Creek Ski Area is a hidden gem of Snowshoe Mountain. The Silver Creek Ski Area is ideal for families looking to make memories this winter. Due to its smaller size, it’s easier for everyone in your group to stick together on the slopes. Lit for legendary night skiing and three of the gnarliest terrain parks on the mountain, Silver Creek offers a range of trails for every skill level. The 18 trails provide gentle, skill-building beginner-friendly runs to fast intermediate and ungroomed black diamonds that will challenge the best of skiers and snowboarders. If you want to skip the slopes for a day or evening of fun, head for West Virginia’s largest tubing park, the 8-lane Coco-Cola Tube.

Photo Credit // Canaan Valley Resort

Situated in the high scenic Allegheny Mountains of Tucker County, Canaan Valley is the highest mountain valley east of the Rocky Mountains, with a base of 3,100 feet. The rim of these mountains act as a magnet for snow. Just 30 miles from Elkins, it’s no wonder that this area has four different ski options when you “Ski the Valley”.

Canaan Valley Resort: Nestled on a plateau overlooking the valley and offering unbeatable views of the surrounding peaks, Canaan Resort has provided prime downhill skiing for over eighty years. Choosing from the 47 trails, Canaan Resort is an excellent place for beginners to learn to ski and more advanced riders to improve their technique. The Allegheny Alley Terrain Park keeps freestyle riders shredding all day long. Looking for family friendly activities? Canaan Resort has an ice skating rink, tubing hill, and plenty of opportunities to cross-country ski or snowshoe.

Photo Credit // Chip Chase

White Grass Ski Touring Center: When a fresh quilt of snow covers the Appalachians, there’s no better place to be than at White Grass Ski Touring Center. Deemed as the most exciting cross-country ski experience on the East, White Grass has 60km of trails that are groomed and maintained. Backcountry and adventure skiers can take advantage of the 1,200 vertical feet of slopes and glades. White Grass was originally built as an alpine ski area in 1959 and has been doing cross-country skiing since 1979, which makes it one of the oldest cross-country ski areas in the United States. Enticed yet? White Grass Touring Center is situated smack dab in the middle of Canaan Valley Ski Resort and Timberline Mountain.

Photo Credit // Tucker County CVB

Timberline Mountain: Conveniently located just 7 miles from Canaan Valley Ski Resort towards Davis, the recently purchased Timberline Mountain is home to some of the finest skiing and snowboarding south of New England.  Major investments like the addition of a new pair of chair lifts including the only 6-person high speed quad chair lift in the state and the remodel of the rental shop as well as the lodge itself, makes this beloved ski resort a must stop. Top-notch snow making and mountain operations ensure great skiing and snowboarding all winter long at its 4,268 foot summit. Home to the southeast’s longest ski slope, Timberline is well known for its wide slopes, 1000-foot vertical drop, and varied terrain to account for all skill levels. As you can imagine, it’s ‘Almost Perfect’.

Photo Credit // Tucker County CVB

Blackwater Falls Sled Run: Elated laughs, cheerful whoops, and giddy squeals are the normal sounds you will hear at Blackwater Falls State Park Sled Run. A mere 40 miles away from Elkins, this winter attraction is the longest, fastest sled run on the East Coast. Friends and families race down the quarter-mile hillside while the “magic carpet” carries you and your sled back to the top. Relive your childhood by delighting in the amusement all day and into the night at this one-of-a-kind activity. Relax at the Warming Hut by partaking in roasting marshmallows over the outdoor firepits, sharing memories with the people you love, and drinking hot chocolate late into the evening. The park also rents out cross-country skis and snowshoes to enjoy more than 20 miles of hiking trails and 10 miles of designated ungroomed cross-country skiing trails.

When tired legs get the best of you, enjoy a day off from the slopes and explore Elkins and Randolph County. Start by checking off your holiday list and browse through the various specialty shops, art galleries, and museums that Elkins has to offer. Or, unwind by the fireplace with a glass of local wine or craft beer and hibernate in your Randolph County vacation rental. Share with us your winter adventures by using #wvskicountry on your social media channels!