When old man winter waves his hand like a wand, families flock to the snow-capped mountains of Canaan Valley Resort in West Virginia. This retreat offers both cascading slopes for beginners and rugged terrain for the experienced sportsman.
Where To Sleep: Select Canaan Valley Lodge for standard rooms with lovely wooden furniture. Rates start at $79 a night.
What’s Cool: Canaan Valley Resort is only the fifth place in the U.S. to offer airboarding―a high-adrenaline, easy-to-learn attraction ($37 for two hours). After an hour of training, riders lie belly-flat on an air tube (a sort of mattress) and fly down head first the mountain slope. I left the experience happy, sore, and with my airboarding certification (good until next winter). Renting ski bibs (jumpsuits) is a great bargain for $15 a day. Ski rentals are $28.
When To Visit: Middle to late December through February for the best snowfall; the resort is open through mid-March.
Closest Towns: Davis (home to Blackwater Brewing Company) and Thomas (home to MountainMade Gallery and The Purple Fiddle, which serves up music and hot meals on weekends).
Good To Know: Friendly deer will eat from your hand if you let them―but don’t. There’s a $500 fine for sharing your breakfast with Bambi.
Get a Good Workout: Cross-country skiing isn’t for beginners like me. But it’s great for the well toned. Think of hiking through the woods along marked trails on skis. You’ll get to see a side of the resort not often viewed ($18 a day).
Timberline Four Seasons Resort sits close to Canaan Valley Resort and offers more advanced terrain for extreme fun. Both locations feature night skiing too. For more information:www.timberlineresort.com or 1-800-766-9464.