Skip to content

Yes, you can ski in Maryland: Here's what I learned during my trip

Feb. 28, 2020
8 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

I live in Texas, so for my family, skiing always requires travel.

Typically, we use points and miles to visit ski destinations such as Colorado, Utah and even British Columbia, Canada. So, when I casually mentioned to a few folks that we went skiing for the weekend in Maryland, of all places, I received more than a few confused looks. People wondered whether there's actually any skiing in Maryland (there is), and why we chose to go skiing in Maryland, which really isn't any closer to Texas than Colorado.

OK, so skiing in Maryland isn't even close to skiing in the Rockies. But it was still fun and, as an added bonus, there was no risk of getting stranded in snow on the side of Colorado's I-70, so it was already off to a good start.

Just in case you've ever wondered, here's what it's really like to ski in Maryland.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

It's cheap

We went on the busiest ski weekend of the winter -- President's Day weekend — so the rates we paid weren't dirt cheap at Wisp Resort. But there are many winter dates when you can book a lift ticket with equipment for just $50 for adults. Lift tickets with rental equipment for kids ages 6 to 12 years of age start at $38 total. Kids ages 5 and under and seniors 70 and over can ski for free.

Compare that to the price of single-day lift tickets in Colorado that can surpass $200 for the lift ticket alone, and that's a crazy cheap price for a sport known to be pretty pricey.

Related: Best credit cards for skiing

It's not fancy

If your idea of a ski trip is leisurely mountaintop glasses of rosé in a faux fur-lined chair while wearing a Moncler ski jacket, you're probably not going to love Maryland's version of skiing. (Though you'll fit in very well at Telluride's Alpino Vino, located at 12,000 feet.)

Sign up for our daily newsletter
(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

By way of comparison, in Maryland, I saw folks skiing in jeans, hoodies and ski jackets that have definitely seen a turn or two around the mountain. Frankly, I loved it. It no longer felt like a sport reserved just for the elite — instead, it felt like something a family next door could reasonably enjoy on a spontaneous Saturday morning.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Kids have more freedom

Ski resorts such as Vail, Breckenridge, Park City and Whistler Blackcomb are absolutely massive. That can be great if you're after varied terrain, but it comes with challenges if you have kids who are ready to start exploring on their own, but not with so much freedom they could accidentally find themselves on a trail way beyond their skill level. Or, heck, they could simply end up at a base area very different than intended.

The gift of a smaller mountain is that there's probably only one true base area, and you're much less likely to accidentally end up somewhere you shouldn't be.

At Maryland's Wisp, there aren't all that many ways to get up or down the mountain, so my 10-year-old knew where to go pretty quickly.

Related: Best ski resorts for families

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Skiing in the Northeast can be challenging

Snow conditions can and do vary everywhere, so this part won't always be true. But, while the mountain wasn't imposing, skiing in Maryland (at least during our visit) wasn't as easy as you might assume.

My I'm-too-cool-for-green-runs daughter quickly changed her tune when her skis had trouble catching edges on the icy terrain.

I've heard East Coast skiing referred to as "Iced Coast" skiing, and that's not inaccurate. Much of the snow here was manmade, so it gets slushy in the afternoon sun but refreezes at night. It's slick and icy, and you can't half-do your turns here. If you do, you're probably in for a serious fall. You'll need to work on technical skills while skiing somewhere like Maryland.

This all came as a bit of a shock to my kiddo, who quickly decided that icy green runs were plenty to keep her occupied without the gift of fluffy powder to catch the fall.

Related: How to enjoy a ski vacation as a non-skier

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Ski school is less overwhelming

Dropping a child off for ski school somewhere like Snowmass could easily be described as overwhelming. Don't get me wrong: I think some of the best ski schools for kids are worth the drop-off and pick-up pandemonium. But a smaller ski school was a nice change of pace.

Snowmass ski school check-in (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Snowmass ski school check-in (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

We slept in a bit that morning and were consequently late to ski school, and that was OK. It was easy to spot my kiddo on the practice hill when I wanted to see how she was doing, and it was just as easy for staff to find her when we needed to leave early. Everything seemed simpler by virtue of the smaller size. When your kid is first starting out on skis, bigger isn't always better — or, at least, necessary.

Ski school (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Ski school (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Arcades are still a thing

When it comes time for après ski, or even enjoying a day off the slopes, the differences between East and West continue.

Apparently, visiting an arcade is a popular activity near the slopes in Maryland -- and not just for the kids. Whether you pay by the game or by the hour, you can add some pinball, Skee-Ball and racing games to your list of après activities. And there wasn't just one area arcade -- there are several to choose from.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

We said yes to a last-minute ski trip to the East Coast because some friends of ours were there for the weekend in a big house with empty rooms we were happy to fill. And when we realized we could cash in some Avianca LifeMiles to book flights on United from Houston (IAH) to Dulles International (IAD) in Washington, D.C. for just 10,000 miles each way with no last-minute booking fees, the deal was sealed.

I skied into our Maryland ski trip not knowing what to expect. And though I definitely prefer skiing out West, I'd test my skills on East Coast slopes again. No doubt I'd leave with sore calves, perhaps a bruised ego and hopefully improved skills that will play out well on western powder.

All images by Summer Hull / The Points Guy.

Featured image by (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023