The East Coast's best kept skiing secret may be Wintergreen Resort, located in Wintergreen, VA and only a convenient two and half hour drive from Washington Dulles Airport. With 100% snow making capability and a welcome mat rolled out for families, this growing resort is a hidden gem in the beautiful rolling Blue Ridge Mountains southwest of Charlottesville, Virginia.
Although well known to many in the greater DC area, winning many local awards such as "most popular ski resort" by various DC newspapers and magazines, Wintergreen is just breaking on to the national scene.
Wintergreen is located on 11,000 acres, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, at an elevation of 4,000 feet. Here, skiers will find 25 slopes and trails, with beginner to expert terrain; 14 of them lighted for night skiing. Five chairlifts, including two high speed, six person chairlifts, keep the lines moving. There is also a terrain park, with snow features, jibs and rails; a 900 foot, 10-lane snow tubing hill for some thrills for non-skiers and another smaller snow tubing hill for young children.
The only missing ingredient at the resort is a flagship hotel; all of the lodging is basically privately owned homes and condominiums. Don’t think that means less than adequate lodging by any stretch of the imagination, quite the contrary, many luxury and high end properties are available. In total, 300 villa-style condominium and rental homes, from studio suites to seven-bedroom homes, each offering a fully equipped kitchen and living area; and most with log burning fire places and decks – are available for rental through central reservations.
Back to the skiing, 23% of the terrain is beginner; 35% intermediate and 42% expert. The resort’s longest run is 1.4 miles. Wintergreen offers many beginner skiing programs and programs tailored for families and children.
The Treehouse is the "camp-like" program that provides supervised activities for children from ages 2 ½ to 14. Your child’s day in the Treehouse program is spent part of the time indoors working with counselors who assist youngsters with games and crafts, then part of the day out on the slopes with ski instructors. It results in a great day for kids and for their parents! Overall, the resort is very child friendly, unlike some other better known ski resorts in Western states. Besides affordable ski rental and lift tickets, the resort is equipped to handle children with families as evidenced by the two tubing runs.
Aquatics and Fitness CenterWintergreen has invested over $4 million in its refurbished and its expanded Aquatics & Fitness Center. The overhaul doubled the Center's size to 12,000 square feet allowing the spa to offer a wider variety of spa treatments. The Center also hosts its indoor swimming pool and outdoor pool and hot tubs; a 12-station strength and conditioning circuit and free weights, cardiovascular equipment, group fitness classes, and specialty classes such as belly dancing, hip hop and more.
LodgingThe resort is fairly compact so none of the lodging is located too far from the slopes. The Overlook Condos are perfect for families. The two bedroom unit we stayed in had a log burning fireplace, wrap around deck and view below of the ski runs. There was a separate dining room, a living room area, spacious fully stocked kitchen, massive master bedroom and two bathrooms. There was way more space than we needed!
A studio runs $126-$199 per night; while a 2 bedroom condo/home that sleeps four will cost from $225-$349 per night. (These prices will vary greatly depending on the season.)
Nearby CharlottesvilleThere is a wealth of options for day trips in the Charlottesville area, which has a population of 45,000. Tops on the list would be its biggest tourist attraction – Monticello – home of President Thomas Jefferson. (The home is depicted on the Nickel coin.) Another president’s home, Ash-Lawn Highland, was the home of President James Monroe. It is also worth the trip and is located virtually adjacent to Monticello. (Surprisingly, even my 10-year old daughter was fascinated by both homes. I had worried that she might be too young to appreciate the homes.)
For more information visit: Wintergreen's website or call 434-325-2200.