Route 66 Cities Beaches





Canaan Valley is the best kept secret in West Virginia, but it's a great ski area with the added advantage that it can be combined with Timberline and White Grass to make a four day weekend. You could even add Snowshoe and spend a week up there. Canaan, Timberline and White Grass are within one five mile stretch. Snowshoe is outside the immediate valley but only an hour away over well plowed and salted roads. The first three are worth one day each and Snowshoe is easily worth two days. Allow a day to get there and a day to get home and you've got a weeklong ski vacation without driving all the way to New England or the Rockies.

Canaan Valley is a state park, not a private enterprise. This has advantages and disadvan-tages. The lodge is much more modern than Timberline or White Grass and very well designed. West Virginia takes tourism and skiing very seriously. Not being run for profit Canaan has not fallen prey to the "Four Season Resort" thinking of its rivals, so slopes are not lined with luxury houses. However, Canaan's does not have the luxury of heavy cash flows, so chairlifts are updated gradually and new slopes are not developed as often.

One caution. As far as Mid Atlantic skiing goes, you're on the edge here. You're on the top of the Appalachians, at the precise point where weather fronts from the Atlantic, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and Gulf of Mexico collide. You're guaranteed to have plenty of snow, but you're also likely to have various other weather conditions along with it : ice, fog, high wind, ominous clouds often hanging low, deep cold and sleet. And you may have them all on the same day. On a clear day Canaan looks beautiful, as seen in the photos above and below. But more than half its days look like the photo at left. The important thing to remember is it doesn't matter. Your lodging is nearby, the road crews are very efficient, and there are plenty of good restaurants to choose from. The weather lends a sense of adventure to a skiing weekend. So let the weather go wild, enjoy the slopes, and look forward to the heated swimming pool, hot tub and good dinner.
Canaan is a great place for beginners and intermediates. There are plenty of greens and blues. What they label as blacks are really high blues. But there's plenty of variety and the snow is usually in pretty good condition. Saturdays get pretty crowded, but Sundays are less so and weekdays you can ski right up to the lift chair.

One of the perks of staying at the Canaan Valley Lodge is that a shuttle bus continually cycles between its front door and the front door of the ski lodge. Admittedly, it's only a mile, so you could drive or even walk over yourself, but riding the bus relieves you of the need to find a parking space, and clean off your windshield and warm up your car going and coming.

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