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Snowshoe, WV: Summer Paradise, Winter Playground

 Photo of mountain bike course goes here.

Alpine Flavor Reigns in Summer at

WV's Snowshoe Mountain Resort

By Dale Leatherman

Photo of Lake goes here.At West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort, the phrase “It’s all downhill from here” has a literal meaning, but a positive one.

The alpine village is located at 4,848 feet above sea level. In winter, a web of ski trails drop from the summit.

In summer, the trails become the province of hikers and mountain bikers.

Summer in the Mountains

Though Snowshoe’s reputation was built on snow and its Thanksgiving-to-Easter ski season, it's  a lovely summer resort. Temperatures at this elevation rarely reach 90. Nights are crisp and clear, with skies full of stars.

This is the “wild and wonderful” West Virginians brag about. The resort encompasses 11,000 acres and adjoins almost a million acres of wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest.

Photo of golf course goes here.A major attraction is the Gary Player-designed Raven Golf Club at Snowshoe Mountain (304-572-6500), ranked 18th on Golf Week’s list of U.S. resort courses.

Greens fees are $69 before 2 p.m. and $54 after 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday; $84 Friday through Sunday; $69 after 2 p.m. Friday through Saturday; $64 after 2 p.m. Sunday; and $54 after Oct. 15.

Photo of bike racer goes here.Another big draw is the network of biking trails, which extend for miles. According to some experts, Snowshoe is the best mountain bike park in the East. A racing event is shown at left.*

Snowshoe's two chairlifts ferry guests (and their bikes) up to the mountaintop. A day lift/trail/park pass is $37.

Shavers Lake, at the foot of the scenic Ballhooter Lift (tickets are $7 for adults and children) is the place for swimming, kayaking and paddle-boating.

The Euro-bungy ($10 for five minutes) is lakeside, along with a climbing wall ($12 for three attempts) and playground. Enjoy lunch off the grill on the Boat House deck.

And at the Sporting Clays Center (304-572-1000), fees range from $25 (25 targets) to $80 (100 targets); archery is $10 per person.

Tickets for all activities can be purchased at The Depot (304-572-5982) in the Village Center.

Some lodges have pools for their guests. In the village, Split Rock Pools, a small indoor/outdoor waterpark with hot tubs, is free to guests registering through Snowshoe Reservations (304-572-1000). Otherwise, the fee is $6 for adults, $3 for children 5 and under.

Open summer and winter is the Sunrise Backcountry Hut (304-572-5982), two miles out on the Cheat Mountain Ridge Trail. Renting for $1,400 nightly, the "hut" -- essentially a rustic cabin --sleeps eight and includes a Hutmaster to prepare dinner and breakfast. Reserve ahead for a unique overnight stay with exemplary dining.

Non-lodging guests may also make reservations for lunch ($45) or dinner ($95) at the Hut; prices are higher during holiday periods.  

Photo of couple at the Village at sunset goes here.Alpine Village Dining 

At night, the stars’ only competition is the village. Light spills from various shops and eateries.

The family-style Junction (304-572-5800) is decorated in railroad artifacts. Foxfire (304-572-5082), in contrast, is a rollicking blues and brews pub

The Village Bistro (304-572-2213), serves international cuisine with Southern flair. And the Cheat Mountain Pizza Company (304-572-5949) serves up tasty pies.

Photo of the orange bar at the Embers goes here.The Soaring Eagle Lodge (304-572-7700) boasts Snowshoe’s newest and most upscale accommodations.  (Sample rates for a one-bedroom condo are $242 nightly in summer, $440 nightly in winter) 

The lodge's Ember Restaurant and European-style Deli (304-572-1111) provide new dining options for visitors.

With such dazzling decor as a translucent orange bar that glows in the dark (see photo above*), the Ember is an avant-garde Asian Fusion restaurant, serving steaks, seafood, sushi and Thai dishes.

Also new is South of the Sycamore (304-572-2007), reminiscent of New York’s SoHo neighborhood. Its upstairs Tapas Bar is decorated with prints by Picasso, Matisse, Pollack and other masters. The menu features salads, dips and panini with a twist, such as the Eggs Benedict sandwich. West Virginia Art is displayed in South of the Sycamore's main dining room, which will open this winter and serve chops, seafood and beef. 

For guests who mourned the razing of Auntie Pasta’s Restaurant (304-572-5650) to make way for the village, the Italian restaurant is reborn in the lower level of the Mountain Lodge, next to the Comedy Cellar (304-572-5440) nightclub.

Hoot’s Bar & Grill (304-572-5457), a lunch and apres’ ski favorite for wraps, returns to the Top of the World complex near the Soaring Eagle Express lift.

Special Event Weekends

Photo of violinist goes here.

The Symphony Festival is an annual cultural event that Snowshoe guests and visitors enjoy.*

Special summer and fall weekends include the Fire on the Mountain Chili Cookoff (July 6-8); the Taste of the Mountain Food, Wine and Jazz Fest (July 27-29); the Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival (Aug. 18) the Symphony Festival (Aug. 24-26), and Octoberfest (Sept. 8). 

Spectator events include mountain bike, motorcycle and sports car races. Visit www.snowshoemtn.com for event details and pricing.

Snowshoe also makes a great base for day trips to the nearby Cass Scenic Railroad (304-456-4300 or www.cassrailroad.com; the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (304-456-2011 or www.nrao.edu); and Cranberry Glades Wilderness Area (304-653-4826 or www.fs.fed.us/r9/mnf/sp/cranberry_glades.html). 

Winter Playground

Photo of skier goes here.

Winter comes early on Cheat Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the mid-Atlantic region

The mountain boasts 57 slopes, 180 inches of seasonal snowfall and some of the best ski conditions in the East.

At left an accomplished skier navigates through soft white powder.*  

Three snowboard parks include the Mountaineer Terrain Park in Snowshoe’s Silver Creek area, which has a 300-foot half-pipe.

Photo of young girl on skis goes here.Also at Silver Creek are 12 lighted slopes; the Ruckus Ridge Tubing Park; the Adaptive Ski Program (304-572-6708); and the Ski School (304-572-5673). The little girl at right was a recent ski school participant.*

In addition, Kids World (304-572-5698) is home of the Kids Night Out program. That costs $45 per child and includes a snack.

Other winter activity options include snowcat tours ($40/$30 per hour for adults, $12 for those 4 and under); snowmobiling (one hour at $65 per adult mid-week, $85 on weekends; $20 for children 6 to 15); and snowshoeing or cross country skiing (a day trail pass costs $15, equipment rentals are $15, or you might purchase a rental/pass combination for $27).

To purchase activity tickets and learn more, visit the The Depot (304-572-5982) in the Village Center. 

Ski lift tickets (304-572-1000 or www.snowshoemtn.com range from $30-$35 daily for children 6 to 12 and $35-$45 daily for adults during early and late ski seasons. Peak season tickets are $36-$50 daily for children and $47-$65 daily for adults. The higher day rates listed are for Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Multi-day rates are cheaper, as are package rates.

Two new slopes debut this winter, both accessed by the high-speed Soaring Eagle Express.

So whether you head for the green mountains of Snowshoe for summer hiking and biking or, alternatively, for winter skiing and snow options, you'll discover it all in 11,000 acres of outdoor fun.

For More Information

Photo of the interior of a resort room goes here.

Ready to go?

Lodging rates for diverse accommodations at Snowshoe range from $112 to $500 nightly in summer and from $200 to $916 nighly in winter. One of the newer rooms is shown above.* Rates are less for multi-night rentals.

Contact Snowshoe Mountain Resort: 304-572-1000 or www.snowshoemtn.com

Another good resource if you're interested in home rentals in the area is Remax/Old Spruce Realty: (888-577-7823 or www.sprucerealty.com)

Dale Leatherman, vice president of the Society of American Travel Writers, lives and writes on a mountaintop in West Virginia. Her specialties are golf, adventure, equestrian, the Caribbean and, of course, West Virginia. Her byline appears in publications such as LINKS, Robb Report, Hemispheres, Continental, Caribbean Travel & Life, Where to Retire, Million Air and Washingtonian.  

*Photos are owned, copyrighted and used with permission of Snowshoe Mountain Resort. All rights reserved. Please do not link to nor copy these photos. Thank you.

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