15 Best Places to Go Snowboarding & Skiing Near Washington, DC
By Kay Rodriguez
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Updated May 9, 2022
Washington, DC’s convenient proximity to the famous Blue Ridge mountains makes it a surprisingly great place for people who love to ski and snowboard. If you know where to go, you can definitely find some pretty epic places to go snowboarding and skiing near DC. To help you plan your winter sports travels, we’ve compiled this list of the absolute best ski resorts near DC.
While there are several fabulous ski resorts near DC, we’ve decided to start our list with Canaan Valley because it’s a beloved, well-rounded option for all levels of skiers in the East Coast region. With 48 ski and snowboard trails and a vertical drop of 850 feet, Canaan Valley Resort draws in new and repeat visitors from all over the East Coast year after year.
Complete with a year-round resort, as well as a spa, fitness center, and several dining options, Canaan Valley Resort is a perfect spot to enjoy winter in West Virginia. Even if you’ve never skied before, there are plenty of options to rent gear and take lessons. More advanced skiers can take advantage of the several black diamond-rated trails and the economic season passes.
Known as one of the best ski resorts near DC to “get some air,” Seven Springs Mountain Resort’s slopes include beginner-friendly bunny hills to adrenaline-inducing double black diamond slopes and terrain parks. For the thrill-seeking skier, there are few competitors to Seven Springs’ 33 ski trails.
For beginners (kids and adults), there are group and private lessons available with a handful of easy slopes to practice on. There are gear rentals available as well that you can pick up at the lodge. Ten different ski lifts dot the park to help you get around from trail to trail, and there are a handful of different lodges on the resort grounds where you can grab a hot meal or take a break from the slopes.
To many, there is perhaps no more beloved place to go skiing near DC (and on the East Coast) than Snowshoe Mountain. Home to a few beautiful mountain condos, this family-friendly ski hideaway is a place many families come back to year after year.
The largest ski area in the resort is Snowshoe Basin, which houses almost all of the beginner-friendly slopes in the area. For more experienced and adventure-seeking snowboarders and skiers, the Western Territory is where you’ll find several of the black diamond and double black diamond slopes. After you’ve flown down each slope, there are 10 lifts around the park to take you back up to the top for another round, or to call it a day at one of the many beautiful condos and lodges nearby.
Best Ski Resorts Near DC for Beginners
Beginner skiers have a different set of needs than their more experienced counterparts, and certain ski resorts are better for learning than others. The following ski resorts near DC are great if you or your companions are new to winter sports – they have great class offerings, affordable gear rentals, and fantastic all-inclusive packages so you can learn quickly!
Author side note: I grew up skiing at Wintergreen Resort and absolutely love it here. While it’s quite a bit smaller than some of the larger ski resorts near DC, it’s a fun, family-friendly environment that’s perfect for beginner to intermediate skiers.
If you’re a beginner skier looking for a fairly accessible set of slopes in a comfortable resort setting, Wintergreen is a great place to go skiing or snowboarding near DC. Located outside of Charlottesville, VA in Nellysford, Wintergreen Resort is a smaller, family-friendly ski resort located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. On the premises, there are ski trails, a large lodge with a few restaurants, and a spa.
With daily group classes, ski and snowboard rentals, and a wide variety of easy to intermediate slopes, Wintergreen is a fantastic place to go skiing or snowboarding near DC for beginners. Their Discover Ski/Snowboard programs include three days of rentals, classes, and lift tickets at very affordable rates. Wintergreen Resort also offers night skiing, a different, interesting alternative to your average daytime slopes.
Known as a year-round recreation area for snowboarders, skiers, golfers, and bikers, Bryce Mountain Resort has a tiny ski area with beginner and intermediate slopes that are great for learning. Located just 2 hours from Washington, DC, the resort is a fairly reasonable day trip or overnighter from the city.
You may look at Bryce Mountain’s trail map and notice it’s a lot smaller than other resorts on this list. But don’t be fooled – this set of slopes has everything you need to learn how to snowboard or ski, including rentals, guided classes, and beginner-friendly packages. Also, for those who aren’t interested in skiing or snowboarding, there’s also tubing available at the resort (which is a fun way to enjoy the snow without needing any ski/snowboarding skills).
For families wanting to learn to ski together, Massanutten Resort is one of the most well-rounded and fun places to go skiing and snowboarding near DC for beginners. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, it’s a great place to learn to ski or snowboard in a beautiful and accessible place. Aside from skiing, the resort also has tubing, an indoor water park, and a spa – perfect for the whole family!
What we love about Massanutten for beginners is that they have learn-to-ski and snowboard packages from beginner to intermediate, meaning that there are lessons to suit your needs as you acquire new skills. There are 3 beginner-friendly ski slopes and 6 intermediate ski slopes, meaning those new to snow sports can keep coming back again and again as they learn.
As one of the few places to go skiing and snowboarding near DC located in Maryland, Wisp Ski Resort is a fantastic place to learn how to ski. Like the other resorts in this section, there are many lessons and packages available to new skiers and snowboarders, and the resort is welcoming of those who have never set foot on a slope before. Within the resort, there are slopes ranging from very easy to “black diamond” difficult, meaning the resort attracts a wide variety of experience levels.
Even though Wisp Resort caters to all levels of skiers and snowboarders, we’ve included it here because it has one of the widest selections of easy/beginner-friendly slopes on our list. With 10 trails rated as green and another 14 with a blue/intermediate rating, there’s a LOT of skiing and snowboarding you can do here, even if you’re new to the sport(s).
Closest Places to Go Skiing and Snowboarding Around DC
Clocking in at just 1.5 hours from Washington, DC, Liberty Mountain Resort is the closest ski resort to the capital city on our list. With fantastic ski packages and resources for beginners, Liberty Mountain Resort is a fantastic place to learn to ski among friends and family. Because it’s so close to DC, you can take a day trip to the resort or stay the night at the resort’s beautiful lodge.
As do the others on this list, Liberty Mountain does offer beginner lessons, rentals, and packages, so don’t sweat it if this is your first time on the slopes! The resort will make sure you’re in good hands to learn how to ski or snowboard with ease.
Located in Pennsylvania just 1.5 hours from DC, Whitetail Resort is another fantastic option for those wanting to hit the slopes as close as possible to the city. Whitetail Resort is a day-use recreation area with access to ski slopes, gear rentals, dining, lessons, and more.
Complete with 23 ski trails for all levels, beginner to advanced, as well as a terrain park, there’s no shortage of activities at Whitetail Ski Resort. And, because it’s so close to DC, you can definitely come to Whitetail Ski Resort on a day trip (as there’s no resort on the premises).
For those wanting to avoid the slopes but still go skiing, cross country skiing is the perfect opportunity. Luckily, in the Canaan Valley, there’s a wonderful cross country ski resort called White Grass Touring Center. Whether you’re a beginner skier or have skied cross country your whole life, the grounds at White Grass are a great spot to enjoy the snow and ski near DC.
White Grass is different because it’s got several trails over largely flat terrain, which requires a whole different skill set than skiing on mountain slopes. Luckily, the resort offers cross country ski lessons, and very affordable day rates and rental fees. For just $65, you can get an hour-long lesson, a ski rental, and a day pass for the area.
Blue Knob Resort is a year-round resort that offers winter sports, namely skiing and snowboarding, but we’ve included it in this section because it’s one of the few resorts that offers cross-country skiing as well as snowshoeing. With its immense variety of snow sports, as well as an on-site lodge, Blue Knob is a well-rounded resort where you can try all kinds of winter activities.
Day use and rental fees for the Nordic/cross-country ski area are very affordable, giving all visitors the opportunity to give this different type of skiing a try. There are also lessons available for both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for beginners wanting to learn new skills and techniques for the sport. Of course, if you realize that cross-country isn’t your thing, you can hit the regular, downhill trails on skis or a snowboard as well!
Other Great Places to Ski Near Washington, DC For All Levels
For families or couples that want to ski and play, Ski Roundtop is a fantastic Pennsylvania ski resort that’s home to several ski slopes suitable for all levels. At just 2 hours from Washington, DC, it’s easily accessible from the city center, perfect for a day trip or a short weekend getaway.
At this medium-sized resort, you’ll find several ski slopes ranging from easy, beginner-friendly bunny hills to double black diamond, thrilling trails. There are also lessons, rentals, and tubing available for those who have less experience.
If you’re the luxury-loving type looking for more of a relaxing ski getaway than an extreme winter sports adventure, the Omni Homestead Resort might be the perfect place for you to go skiing and snowboarding near DC. This historic estate has hosted the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ronald Reagan, and several other US presidents and celebrities.
The slopes here are best suited for beginner and intermediate level skiers, as they’re mostly green and blue-rated trails. Once you’ve had enough skiing, you can relax in one of the resort’s many naturally-heated pools, wander the opulent hallways and lobbies of the hotel, or book a spa treatment.
For adventure junkies, Montage Mountain Resort boasts some of the most challenging ski trails near Washington, DC. Only 20% of the resort’s 26 trails are beginner-friendly, with 45% tagged as intermediate and another 35% recommended for experts only. Complete with a terrain park, several black diamond and double black diamond trails, and night skiing, Montage Mountain isn’t for the faint of heart.
However, if you’d like to visit but don’t have much experience with skiing, there are rentals and lessons available for beginners, as well as tubing that’s suitable for all ages. While there’s no lodge on the premises, you can eat at the Slocum Restaurant or in the no-frills food court on-site.
At a whopping 4.5 hours from Washington, DC, Elk Mountain isn’t quite close enough for a day trip. However, we’ve included it because it’s one of the best options for terrain skiing near DC in the beautiful Endless Mountains (near the Poconos). It’s got trails for all levels of skiers, night skiing, and several challenging terrain areas to cater to any experience and thrill level you’re looking for.
On the resort’s grounds, you can rent or buy gear, take lessons up to intermediate level, and enjoy the terrain park. While there’s no lodge on the resort, you can hang out in the Winter Garden restaurant and a cafeteria to warm up in between hitting the slopes.
Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommendthese ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.
For our complete (downloadable!) list of things to bring on a ski trip (and our favorite gear suggestions), head to our complete ski trip packing list.
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