Massanutten Ski Resort

Massanutten Ski Resort opened in the early 1970s, a side-project of Del Webb, former co-owner of the New York Yankees. Natural snowfall in this part of the mid-Atlantic is small - on average of just 30 inches a year - but the development of modern snowmaking techniques has enabled Massanutten Resort to flourish.

When snowboarding increased in popularity in the 1990s, Massanutten Resort was quick to cater to the new sport. Its terrain park, serviced by its own J-bar, is recognized as one of the best in the mid-Atlantic, with all-snow features that will challenge even accomplished boarders. For many years the terrain park was closed to skiers, but twin-tipped skis and skiboards are now accepted equipment on the jumps and hits. Massnutten Resort also has a smaller Easy Street terrain park, serviced by its own tow lift, with features suitable for learning boarders.

For skiers and open-slope boarders, Massanutten Ski Resort offers a variety of terrain on 13 slopes serviced by five lifts, all of which are open until 10 pm for night skiing. Located on Massanutten Mountain, the area boasts the highest vertical drop in Virginia. The highest lift, a modern quad chair, reaches 2,880 feet above sea level and serves two fairly steep black diamond runs, ParaDice and Diamond Jim. Neither will seriously challenge experts, but their rating keeps them relatively uncrowded when the rest of the mountain is busy.

The most challenging run at Massanutten Virginia is Dixie Dare, a short narrow chute that begins at the top of chair 5. Pacesetter, immediately beneath Dixie Dare, often has a slalom course for racers. The other runs off this lift are all nice cruising intermediate runs. Rebel Yell is the mountain favorite, a short but satisfying wide trail ideal for the average skier or boarder.

Massanutten Ski Resort has a great beginners area, the wide-open Geronimo bowl, serviced by its own double chair. Southern Comfort is another gently pitched green slope, but its central location above the base area means that it is often crowded.

Lift tickets at Massanutten Resort range from $25 for weekday nights to over $60 for weekend all-day passes. Uniquely, Massanutten Virginia is a residential community as well as a ski resort, with over 1,000 single-family homes and its own police force. Many of these condos and townhouses are available for weekend rental throughout the year; the hotel at the base of Massanutten Resort provides additional accommodation. Massanutten Virginia is a great place for a ski weekend near the nation's capital.

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