2 Best Virginia Ski Resorts for Families (Near Washington DC)
The easy access from the metropolitan areas of Washington DC, Baltimore, and Richmond, makes Virginia a popular draw for visitors.
The mountains of Virginia may not be the highest, but the diversity of the skiing, the amenities, and the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley more than make up for it.
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Our Top Picks
2. Bryce Resort
Bryce Resort is a year-round tourist destination for winter sports during the colder months where more than 60 ski racers practice on the mountain. During the summer the activities alternate mountain biking, hiking, zip-lining, and golf.
Bryce Resort first opened in 1965 and is in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, close to the West Virginia border. The resort now spans 400 acres and is owned by its members.
The resort is in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, which are about 115 miles due west of Washington DC. For skiing, the resort aims to appeal to families, whatever their ability.
Fun for Kids
There are first-time lesson packages for skiing and snowboarding for eight-year-olds and older. These can be on a private basis, or you can add members of friends and family to create a pod.
There are also two Kinder School classes for skiing and snowboarding which take ages 4.5 to 7 and 6 to 7 respectively. Private lessons are available for all ages as well. The price of the day lift ticket and equipment rental is included in the lesson price.
The skiing at Bryce Resort is on one face of the mountain with a summit elevation of1750 ft (533 m) and a vertical fall of 500 ft - (152 m). There are two chair lifts, one a quad and one a double, as well as a couple of conveyor lifts lower down in the beginner area.
There are eight runs in total, which are divided as follows. 37% of runs are classed as green, 50% are classed as blue and 13% are classed as black. For beginners, there are green runs that start from the double chairlift. In the same area, the terrain park is adjacent to the run, Redeye.
The resort has extensive snowmaking, and all trails are lit for night skiing, except White Lightning and Hangover. At the base of the ski runs, there is an 800-foot-long (244 m) snow tubing run and a nearby ice-skating rink.
The snow tubing run has three dedicated lanes and there is a conveyor lift to take you back to the top of the hill. A snow tubing ticket lasts for 90 minutes and has to be reserved online beforehand.
Snow tubers can also pay a small premium to gain access to the ice-skating rink or you can buy admission separately. A ticket gives you access to the rink for one hour, which excludes the time taken for lacing your boots.
For lunch and après ski at Bryce Resort skiers often head to the Copper Kettle restaurant, where you can eat from the restaurant menu which contains sandwiches, burgers, salads, and pizzas. Alternatively, roll up for a beer at the end of the day and relax with the sounds of a live band.
If you’re into your skiing and don't want to waste time, then the Shenandoah Center is probably a better bet. The slope-side indoor grill offers quick breakfast and lunch dishes during the skiing day.
Off the Slopes
There is no on-resort accommodation at Bryce Resort but there are several rental companies listed on the website that can offer a range of accommodation nearby.
Properties include chalets, cottages, and condos for all configurations of friends and family.
Many properties are fully equipped with fireplaces or wood stoves, and a full kitchen as well as being pet friendly, for that home-from-home experience. While others have the luxury of features like hot tubs, jacuzzis, saunas, and steam showers.
What we love about Bryce Resort
- A good spread of runs across abilities
- Extensive snowmaking and night skiing across the resort
- Introductory ski packages for first-time youngsters
- Snow tubing and ice skating for family fun
Bryce Resort Stats
|1750 ft / 533.4 metres
1. Massanutten Ski Resort
Massnutten Resort is located 10 miles from Harrisonburg the closest town and approximately 120 miles from Washington DC and 100 miles from Richmond. It is a very picturesque part of the Shenandoah Valley. From the top of the hill, you can get memorable views across the valley and to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.
Fun for Kids
Private lessons are available for all ages although youngsters under six years need their own dedicated instructor. The resort’s instructors use the Terrain Based Learning system, where specially shaped snow features help students to control speed and body position.
This builds confidence and removes the traditional fears and anxieties
The skiable terrain extends over 70 acres of mostly lightly wooded terrain on one face of the hillside. To access the hill there are four chairlifts and three magic carpets, which are situated lower down in beginner areas.
There are currently 14 different runs, with a selection of greens lower down for beginners and a mix of blues and blacks higher up in equal proportion. All the trails are now lit with LED lighting to extend the skiing day into darker evenings
There are plans underway to expand the beginner terrain and make the snowmaking facilities more extensive to ensure better coverage during the season from December to March. The resort is a year-round business with golf and other activities during the summer.
Massanutten also has three terrain parks and a snow tubing park. To have a rest from the slopes and grab a bite you can head to Base Camp, where you can choose between sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, pasta, and salads.
The restaurant recommends diners check for seating availability via Yelp or the resort app, as the restaurant is very busy at peak times.
Alternatively, you can try the casual dining of the Campfire Grill where you can choose from hand-crafted pizza, camp stove chili, chicken dumplings, steakhouse burgers, and skillets among others.
Off the Slopes
There is plenty of choice for accommodation at Massanutten Resort both on and off the mountain.
At the resort, you can choose between the hotel rooms of Massanutten Resort Hotel or a selection of townhouse condos with all the amenities you’d expect. Alternatively, there is Woodstone Meadows with its selection of larger four-bedroom condos which are off the mountain but still nearby.
What we love about Massanutten Resort
- Within easy reach from Washington DC and Richmond
- Good choice of runs to satisfy all abilities
- Accommodation is available on and off the mountain
- Family fun at the snow tubing park
Massanutten Resort Stats
|2925 ft / 891.54 metres
Why Choose Virginia for Skiing?
The two resorts we have highlighted are similar in many ways, with smaller ski areas and a good spread of difficulty across them.
This makes them ideal for families, where the limited range of the terrain enables parents to safely give their kids a bit more freedom and freedom for themselves at the same time. While the Rockies have a lot more grandeur the hills around the Allegheny Mountains have a beauty of their own.