Why Snowshoe Mountain is a perfect getaway spot — in both winter and summer

Mar 15, 2021

Over the last 12 months, fresh air and socially-distant activities have become all the rage — and this likely won’t fade any time soon. International borders remain largely closed to American travelers, leading many to stay a little closer to home as they plan trips.

As both warmer weather and vaccine administration take hold across the country in the weeks and months to come, now is a great time to look ahead to not just this summer but next winter as well.

And for those in the eastern part of the U.S., there’s an all-season destination in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains that’s an easy drive (or flight) from many metropolitan areas.

Here’s why Snowshoe Mountain may be a great option for your next getaway.

A plethora of summer activities

Mountain biking during the summer on Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia
Image courtesy of Snowshoe Mountain

After deep freezes across much of the country, the increasing temperatures of recent weeks are a welcome change. While a mountain resort may seem like a more winter-friendly destination — especially when the word “snowshoe” is in its name — there’s nevertheless an array of warm-weather activities in Snowshoe to keep all members of the family happy.

Thrill seekers can take advantage of Snowshoe Bike Park, featuring a pair of high-speed lifts that put 40 downhill trails at your disposal. And this is not your run-of-the-mill terrain either — the mountain has hosted professional mountain biking competitions as recently as 2019 (and plans to do so again this year and next). However, beginners can take advantage of on-site rentals and lessons (or book an afternoon guided bike tour) to explore the park at their own level.

If you’re looking for a different adrenaline-fueled way to explore Snowshoe Mountain, consider an off-road tour in a Polaris RZR 4×4 vehicle. Prices start at just $159 during the week — but if you’re traveling with a family, consider splurging for the adventure dining option. This package combines a two-mile trail ride followed by a multi-course meal in a rustic cabin in the backcountry (including beer and wine for those 21 and older).

Other summer activities on (and around) the mountain include horseback riding, clay shooting, golfing and Segway tours — and with the 11,000 acres of backcountry, you’re virtually guaranteed a socially-distant vacation.

Related: I took a socially distant vacation with my family – here are 6 things we learned

On the other hand, if you’re aiming for relaxation and rejuvenation over adventure pursuits, Snowshoe also has you covered — with Shavers Lake, located on the east side of the mountain. Rent stand-up paddleboards or kayaks to explore the area, and test your skills on the frisbee-golf course. Or grab a pole and cast a line to try your luck at fishing.

And after you take in the sunset, you can take advantage of the beautiful weather by exploring the mountain-top village — including multiple dining options, shopping outlets and exciting nightlife.

Winter sports galore

Snowmobiles on Snowshoe mountain in West Virginia
Image courtesy of Snowshoe mountain

Of course, you may already be looking ahead to next winter, and Snowshoe has you covered there as well. The mountain boasts an average yearly snowfall of 180 inches, and trails cover more than 250 skiable acres and include over 1,500 feet of vertical rise. The 12 lifts give you access to five terrain parks and a variety of slopes to suit all skill levels — in fact, the majority of runs fall into the beginner and intermediate levels. Those just getting started can book a session in ski school, and anyone can try their hand at night skiing as well.

Snowshoe even offers a “Snow Guarantee” — if you purchase a lift ticket during the main ski season and Snowshoe doesn’t have the most terrain open for skiing in the Southeast, you can exchange your ticket for any other day during the season. You can view more details on this page.

Intimidated or otherwise uninterested in the slopes? Those Polaris RZR tours continue throughout winter as well — with enclosed, heated interiors to protect riders from the elements. You can also tear through the terrain on a guided snowmobile tour or enjoy a more leisurely ride in a horse-drawn sleigh.

Related: 10 ways to spend time outside when it gets cold

Easy access from major cities

In addition to offering a variety of summer and winter activities from which to choose, Snowshoe is also a surprisingly-convenient location for many residents in the eastern part of the U.S. There’s no need to trek to New England or fly to Colorado to access all of these activities. By car, you can reach the village in less than five hours (depending on traffic) from the following cities:

  • Richmond, VA
  • Washington, DC
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Greensboro, NC

However, you could also consider flying into Greenbrier Valley Regional Airport (LWB) in Lewisburg, WV — which is roughly 90 minutes from Snowshoe. Flights to the airport currently include daily service on United from both Washington-Dulles (IAD) and Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), and prices are very reasonable.

For example, round-trip flights from Chicago to Lewisburg are pricing at ~$279 per person, while those from IAD are pricing around $183 — for just about every date in the booking calendar.

Alternatively, this could be a terrific use of Aeroplan points. As long as you keep your total flight distance under 500 miles each way, you could book one-way award tickets for just 6,000 points.

A nonstop United flight from Chicago to Lewisburg, West Virgina booked using Aeroplan points
Screen shot courtesy of Air Canada

This price is valid on both the two nonstop flights but also select connecting flights out of other gateways — including Newark (EWR).

A United flight from Newark to Lewisburg, West Virginia booked through Air Canada Aeroplan
Screen shot courtesy of Air Canada

Remember that you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio, and that transfer should process instantly.

Related: Which is the best American Express credit card for you in 2021?

Bottom line

Many Americans have shifted their travel patterns over the last year, trading flights for road trips and swapping cities for the great outdoors. If you’re looking for your next nature-filled getaway, consider a trip to Snowshoe, West Virginia — regardless of whether that happens this summer, next winter or sometime in between.

With an array of activities to both energize and relax visitors throughout the year along with a convenient, central location, this hidden gem of a vacation spot could be the perfect destination for an upcoming trip.

Featured image courtesy of Snowshoe Mountain