Massanutten Resort in Virginia is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Massanutten Resort, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsMassanutten Resort is located in Virginia's beautiful Shenandoah Valley in McGaheysville, only two hours from Richmond, the state capital, and the Washington, D.C. area. The resort was once considered more of a commuter ski facility and a great place to visit for a quick day trip on the slopes. But Massanutten has worked hard to change that image, recently adding a number of amenities and attractions, including a large indoor waterpark, a spa and snow tubing -- all with the hopes of enticing visitors to stay longer than a day.
The MountainMassanutten Resort typically opens around mid-December and the season continues through mid-March. Its 2,925-foot mountain boasts a 1,110-foot vertical drop, the highest not only in Virginia but in Maryland and Pennsylvania as well. The average precipitation Massanutten receives is only 36 inches, so the resort supplements what Mother Nature bestows upon it by creating its own snow. Like most slopes on the East Coast, Massanutten's pack tends to get hard and icy. The resort's longest run is ParaDice, which is 4,000 feet long.
Trails And LiftsThe difficulty level of Massanutten Resort's 14 trails is pretty evenly divided, with 30 percent ranked as beginner, 35 percent as intermediate and 35 percent considered advanced. The park does not have any double-black-diamond slopes. Massanutten's trails are serviced by three quad chair lifts, a triple bar and a J-bar. Skiers and snowboarders looking for more of a challenge can try their luck on the 4,100-foot-long, black-diamond-rated ParaDice, which boasts moguls on one side. Massanutten Resort also offers night skiing, as well as two terrain parks for guests interested in ramping up their trick skills.
In The NewsMassanutten is home to a junior racing ski team and a junior snowboard freestyle team. The resort also hosts an annual event, the Meltdown Snowboard Competition. While not a star-studded resort, Massanutten is a favorite with at least one local celebrity. In the December 2011 Washingtonian magazine online feature, Comcast sports broadcaster Steve Buckhantz praised Massanutten Resort, which he fell in love with while he was a student at nearby James Madison University.
CostFour-hour ski lift tickets for adults begin at $34 on weekdays and $60 on weekends; juniors pay $26 and $50, respectively. Four-hour rentals for an adult cost $25 during the week and $30 on weekends; juniors pay $19 and $24, respectively. Massanutten also rents helmets for $8. For skiers and snowboarders who plan to hit the slopes a lot, purchasing a season pass makes the most sense. Adult season passes begin at $450. Massanutten, which is located within easy driving distance of several college campuses, also offers a student pass, which begins at $375.
Apres-SkiMassanutten has been gradually making the transformation from simply a commuter ski facility to a full-service resort by steadily upgrading its non-ski and snowboard-related offerings. The resort now features a large 42,000-square-foot indoor waterpark on its sprawling grounds, along with an ice skating rink and a popular eight-lane snow tubing hill. Massanutten has also added a spa, where guests can enjoy full-service pampering, including couples massages, facials and cocoon wraps. Resort guests can choose from four eateries -- the Fareways Restaurant and Lounge, the Blue Ridge Buffet, Woodstone Deli & Pizzeria -- and dining options in the Ski Lodge.
WATCH: Massanutten Resort
The 4,100-foot-long ParaDice is a challenging black-diamond-rated slope at Virginia's Massanutten Resort.