Skiers make tracks for Snowshoe Mountain

Resort: Improvements to the tune of $100 million have been made on the popular West Virginia site, including a new expert-level trail

Short Hop

February 21, 1999|By Thomas R. Fletcher | Thomas R. Fletcher,Special to the Sun

Located in the heart of the mountainous wilderness of West Virginia's Pocahontas County, Snowshoe Mountain is on its way to becoming an even better ski destination.

Since the fall of 1995, its new owner, Intrawest Corporation, has invested nearly $100 million in improvements, more than a third of which was spent last summer.

A high-profile addition to the 25-year-old resort is Shay's Revenge, an expert-level trail cut down the same mountainside as the perennial favorite of return skiers, Cupp Run. The area containing these two black-diamond slopes is now referred to as the Western Territory and is serviced by a freshly installed high-speed lift that will move guests from the bottom to the top of these 1.5-mile runs in six minutes. Snowmaking capabilities along the entire new run, which has a vertical drop of 1,500 feet, have also been added.

Night skiing is another area of expansion. Twelve trails in the Silver Creek portion will be lighted for night skiing and snowboarding.

Although snowboarding is permitted on all 56 of the resort's slopes and trails, its main focus is Ruckus Ridge Adventure Park, which opened last season. The 300-foot halfpipe created for snowboarders is the longest in the region.

If sliding down packed snow on a modified surfboard with no poles for support is too radical for you, other activities can keep you busy. A popular attraction with families is the tubing park. The tubing park was such a hit last year, with four tubing lanes, that another two lanes have been added.

A single lift ticket covers both the Silver Creek Area area with its 18 trails and Snowshoe with its three dozen. A free shuttle runs between the areas. Nearly a dozen lifts are now in operation, with a tube tow in the tubing park.

Don't ski? Don't snowboard? Don't worry. Lessons for either are available for nearly any age group.

Snowshoe Mountain's altitude of 4,848 feet and 10-year annual average snowfall of 180 feet help ensure great skiing conditions. Last year's snowfall was nearly 20 percent above the average.

More than 300 rooms and 1,250 condominium units are available for rental. Add 11 restaurants (five full service and six fast-food) and you have, at the very least, a weekend getaway.

When you go ...

Getting there: The simplest route begins on I-70 west and continues to I-81 south. Follow I-81 toward Strasburg, Va. Pick up Highway 55 and follow west into West Virginia. Follow Highway 55 to U.S. Route 33 west and continue to Elkins, where you will take U.S. Route 219 south 48 miles to Snowshoe.

Hours: Slopes open at 8:30 a.m., and most lifts close at 4:30 p.m. Night skiing at Silver Creek ends at 10 p.m.

Single day lift tickets: $44 adult, student and senior, and $29 junior on weekends; on weekdays, rates are $38 adult, $30 student and senior, and $26 junior.

Night lift tickets: (4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for the Silver Creek area) $24 adult and $17 junior, student and senior if purchased separately. When purchased with a day lift ticket, they are $18 adult and $15 junior, student and senior.

Room rates: Snowshoe offers a variety of accommodations, beginning with a basic slope-side room that sleeps two, at a cost of $86 a night, and ranging up to a six-bedroom house, sleeping 12, costing $617 a night. Summer rates begin at $65.

Off-season: It is now a four-season resort destination with golf, horseback riding, tennis, fly fishing, hiking and mountain biking.

Information: Call 304-572-4636, fax 304-572-5664 or go online at http://www.snowshoemtn.com.

Pub Date: 02/21/99

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