Powder Time! The Best Slopes for Every Type of Skier

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When the forecast calls for snow, we can’t think of a better way to spend the day than planning a trip to learn to ski. From day trips to worth-the-drive weekend getaways, we’ve found the best mountains for every skill level. Enroll your budding skier in one of these ski schools (one is over 75 years old!) and soon they will be yelling “Pizza pie and French fries!” as they fly down the bunny hill. Read on to find the right mountain for you and your family.

Beginner Slopes

photo: Mary Martha Aubry

Bryce Resort

About two hours from Washington, D.C., Bryce Resort in Bayse, VA is the perfect day-trip destination to teach the littles how to ski or to learn as an adult. Everything at Bryce is family-friendly, from their ski rental shop which opens directly to the Little Nip to the biergarten at the bottom of the mountain where mom and dad can take a load off in the Adirondack chairs while watching the littles take the magic carpet up the Bunny Hill and ski down. For a fun family run, take the whole crew up the quad lift and down Revenuer's Run and remember what you loved about skiing as a kid as you watch your littles make a pizza wedge and begin their own skiing journey! Speaking of pizza, enjoy a delicious pizza at the Copper Kettle for dinner before you take your final run down the hill.
 
Insider Tip: If you're skiing for the day, pack a bag with the kids pajamas for the ride home. It makes the transfer from car to bed that much easier, and after all that skiing, they'll be exhausted!
 
Bryce Resort 
1982 Fairway Dr., Bayse, VA
540-856-2121

The Omni Homestead Resort

About four hours outside DC, the Omni Homestead has something for everybody, even the non-skiers in your crew. Luxurious accommodations, gourmet food, and a world-class spa combined with excellent beginner terrain make for a ski weekend that's heavenly and still driving distance from the city. The Omni Homestead has uncrowded skiing terrain that is ideal for beginners, and their Sepp Kober Ski School maintains an experienced team of ski and snowboard instructors who offer private lessons for all levels.
 
Insider Tip: Enroll the kids in the resort's Adventure Kids program and enjoy a romantic date night! 
 
The Omni Homestead Resort
7696 Sam Snead Hwy, Hot Springs, VA
540-839-1766
 

Intermediate Skiers

 

photo: Wisp Resort

Wisp Resort

For those of us who really want to get our tykes outdoors, Wisp is the place to be. There are full and half-day programs for the little ones that include lift tickets, instruction and equipment (which let’s face it is half the battle). At about 180 miles from the District and near Deep Creek Lake Wisp offers more than just bunny slopes and black diamonds. Swoosh down hills in snow tubes, take to the ice on skates and explore snowshoeing or just sight see with a sleigh ride.

Wisp Resort
296 Marsh Hill Rd., McHenry, MD
301-859-3159
Online: wispresort.com

Blue Knob All Seasons Resort

Blue Knob is the highest skiable mountain with the most challenging slopes in PA. Clocking in at just three hours from Washington, DC, you may want to spend the night. The mountain boasts the longest and sweetest rides for skiers and snowboarders. If you're not sure about downhill skiing, Blue Knob also offers groomed Nordic or cross-country skiing as well as snowshoeing and snow tubing.
 
Insider Tip: Their New Generation Academy offers children a full day or half day lesson while enjoying lunch with their parents.
 
Blue Knob All Seasons Resort
1424 Overland Pass, Claysburg, PA
814-239-5111
Online: blueknob.com
 

Worth-The-Drive Expert Slopes

photo: Kenneth Aubry

Mount Sunapee Resort

If you're ready to expand your horizons and experience more challenging terrain, consider New Hampshire's Mount Sunapee. It's an 8 hour drive or a 3 hour flight. With over 1,500 feet of vertical drop, and views that make you feel like you're in heaven, Mount Sunapee is a spectacular spot for East Coast skiing. Mid-week skiing is the best of all, with wide open spaces, fresh snow, and loads of great runs to explore.
 
Insider Tip: Locals in-the-know go to Bob Skinner's for their rentals and gear. This place is chock-a-block with great skiing and snowboarding equipment.
 
Mount Sunapee Resort
1398 Route 103, Newbury, NH
603-763-3500

photo: Andrea Lacross-Dickerson

Stowe Mountain Resort

Stowe is a 9 hour drive from the city or a 3 hour flight.

Insider Tip: The New England experience is complete when you arrive at this Stowe, Vermont resort. With 75 years of experience their ski school has the tiny tot instruction thing down pat. When the slopes have worn you out families can nestle in for a sleigh ride, catch a big one while ice fishing or whiz around on skates. Daily tea with cookies for the littles is also offered and parentals can warm up with hot cider and appetizers. 

Stowe Mountain Resort
5781 Mountain Rd., Stowe, VT
802-253-7355
Online: stowe.com

—Mary Martha Aubry

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