Looking for a quick President’s Day Weekend Getaway? Pack up the kids and enjoy the snow and chilly weather at a nearby ski resort. These are great slopes to introduce your kids to skiing and are less than a 2 hour drive away.
Ski Liberty (90 Minute Drive)
Ski Liberty is a great place for the kids to discover skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. Just a few miles away from the historic town of Gettysburg, this local ski resort is packed with lots of packages and amenities for parents and kids including: Playcare (an indoor day care available for infants 6 months to children 10 years old). Ski Liberty offers 2-hour lessons and a variety of half- and full-day camp options that include supervised ski instruction, full day ski pass, ski rentals and snacks/lunch. My favorite choice for beginners is “Ski with Me” for kids ages three and up including a private lesson with an instructor accompanied by one or both parents. First Time Skier packages for kids ages 8 and over are available at a reasonable price. Season passes are also available. For more information:
Ski Liberty 78 Country Club Trail (Fairfield, Pa) 717-642-8282 Website: libertymountainresort.com
Whitetail (90 Minute Drive)
With 400 more vertical feet than Liberty, Whitetail offers one of the steepest slopes close to D.C. It’s programs for new skiers and snowboarders have been recognized as some of the best in the country. Whitetail Resort offers center-based daycare for the little ones (6 months to 12 years) who aren’t interested in skiing. The Whitetail Children’s Program offers a Kids Mountain Camp that includes supervised instruction, breaks (and snacks), rental equipment and full day lift tickets for skiers ages 4 through 12 and snowboarders ages 6 through 12. Full day camp programs also offer campers lunch. Two-hour ski school classes are also available a la carte. For smaller ones aged 3-5, the new “Ollie Alley” at Whitetail helps them get ready for skiing or boarding by learning about balance while having fun out in the snow like the big kids. Kiddos work with skilled instructors using a mini snowboard called a “riglet” and get to experience mini-terrain park features just sized for them. Ollie Alley lessons are available Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 am to 3 pm. Whitetail also has a nice snow tubing area.
Whitetail Resort 13805 Blairs Valley Rd. (Mercersburg, Pa) 717-328-9400 Website: skiwhitetail.com
Massanutten is a full service resort that offers ski and snow boarding lessons, night skiing, snow tubing on a “massive 900-foot long hill,” ice skating, a spa, resort activities, go-carting, horseback trail rides, pony rides, serious arts and crafts, as well as onsite condominiums and hotel accommodations. With a vertical drop of 1,110 feet, it is also the steepest of any other ski hill in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and has a solid reputation for its snowboarding area. The Mountain Cruiser’s program offering skiing lessons for kids four to 12 and snowboarding for kids ages seven to 12. Packages include supervised group instruction 9:30 am to 2 pm., 8-hour slope-use ticket, equipment rental and even lunch. Massanutten’s Kid’s Club children’s activity center, which has programs most days and some evenings in blocks ranging from three to six hours. One of the best features about Massanutten is the indoor water park.
Massanutten Resort,1822 Resort Dr. (McGaheysville, Va) 540-289-9441 Website: massresort.com
Nestled within the Allegany Mountains, this historic ski resort offers more than 45 acres of well-maintained trails on slopes that are perfect for beginners. Omni Homestead Resort & Spas features warm mineral water indoor and outdoor pools, spa kids packages (ages 5-13), ice-skating at the new Allegheny Springs rink, snowmobiling, snow tubing and tons of winter activities to keep your family happy. There’s delectable s’mores and a firepit on the Casino Lawn, a Theatre offering classic and family movies nightly, and DownTime, a family game area that includes: mini bowling, a pool table, shuffleboard, air hockey, Wii, Xbox and arcade games. Full and half day childcare is available at the KidsClub for ages 3 through 12. On site, babysitting services are also available for resort guests.
The Homestead 7696 Sam Snead Hwy. (Hot Springs, Va) 540-839-1766 Website: thehomestead.com
A refined resort, Wintergreen provides a comprehensive winter vacation experience that offers more serious skiers a bit more “hill” action and luxury facilities including an indoor Aquatics & Fitness Center with full spa services. Wintergreen offers plenty of family-focused fun, including snow tubing at The Plunge, a ski school for toddlers (ages 3 & up) and childcare options at the Tree House starting at age 2 1/2 that includes snow play, games, arts & crafts, snacks and hot cocoa. Wintergreen’s Ridgley’s Winter Fun Park is open during holidays and weekends, offering one-hour blocks of pre-scheduled snowy fun for the whole family which includes: a mini-tubing carousel, bear paw snow shoes, tunnels, plus a gentle hill for tubing and sledding. Ridgeley the Bear, Wintergreen’s mascot, also frequently stops by and provides some giggles for kids and parents. The Discovery Ridge Center also offers outdoor and indoor activities including a climbing wall, bungee trampoline, mechanical bull, and theatre and game center, providing plenty of activities to keep the little brood happily busy.
Wintergreen Resort Route 664 (Wintergreen, Va) 434-325-2200 Website: wintergreenresort.com