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Downhill From Here
Locally, Six Snowless Slopes That Soar

By John Briley
The Washington Post
Sunday, July 12, 1998; Page E10

In summer, local ski resorts offer the same virtues (drive-to locations) and flaws (less spectacular terrain) as they do in winter. But some of them make excellent summer recreation values, particularly for the type of traveler who seeks outdoor activity but prefers not to dig his or her own privvy (and you know who you are). Here we highlight six local resorts within a five-hour drive of the Beltway; we've focused only on those that have substantial skiing constituencies in wintertime. Note that not all of them offer the sub-$100-per-night accommodations that most national ski resorts on our chart boast--suggesting that, locally at least, a lot of people have already caught on to the summer-ski thing.

Canaan Valley Where It's At: Davis, W.Va., in central West Virginia's Allegheny Mountains. Three- to four-hour drive from D.C.: I-66 west to 55 west to 32 north to resort.

What to do: Golf, hiking, mountain biking, swimming and tennis. For children: miniature golf, chairlift rides, volleyball, softball.

Must see/do: Blackwater Falls State Park, 10 miles from resort.

Special events: Three Rivers Avian Center Live Birds of Prey show, July 15; Appalachian Festival, July 17-Aug. 2; Poetry From the Mountain, Aug. 1; Crafts workshop and demo, Aug. 2; Bluegrass Festival, Aug. 14-15.

Lodging: Canaan Valley Lodge, plus 23 cabins and cottages, starting at $81 a night (1-800-622-4121). Camping nearby.

Nightlife: Entertainment on weekends in resort lounge, during busiest season only.

Contact: 304-866-4121,


Where It's At: In east-central West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest. Five-hour drive from D.C.: I-66 west to I-81 south to U.S. 250 west (at Staunton, Va.) to U.S. 42 south to U.S. 39 west to Marlinton and 219 north for 26 miles to resort.

What to do: Mountain biking, golf (Hawthorne Valley, ranked by Golf & Travel magazine as one of nation's 40 best public courses); canoeing on Greenbrier River; fly fishing; backpacking/hiking in Monongahela National Forest.

Must do: Cass Scenic Railroad

Special events: National Public Radio Mountain Stage performance, July 17; chili cook-off, July 18; symphony weekend, Aug. 22-23.

Nightlife: Some bars, but summer is low-key.

Lodging: Hotel and condo rates from $65 to $180 a night. Area can sleep up to 8,000 people. Some on-mountain construction this summer; ask about proximity to lodging when making reservations.

Contact: 304-572-5252

Wintergreen Where It's At: In central Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Three-hour drive from D.C.: I-66 west to U.S. 29 south to 250 east to 151 south.

What to do: Golf; tennis; family activities and children's programs; mountain biking; nature programs; horseback riding; swimming; hiking (Appalachian Trail runs through resort). Side trip: Waltons Museum, with old schoolhouse and sets from the 1970s TV show.

Must see/do: Hike George Washington National Forest.

Special events: Summer Music Festival, through July 19; Festival of Virginia Wines, July 25-26.

Lodging: Studio to four-bedroom villas and larger homes (from $155 a night). Reservations, 1-800-266-2444. Camping nearby.

Nightlife: Some live entertainment and dancing.

Contact: 804-325-2200,

Seven Springs Mountain Resort

Where It's At: Champion, Pa., in western Pennsylvania's Laurel Mountains. Three-hour drive from D.C.: I-270 west to I-70 west to Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76) west.

What to do: Golf; alpine slide; kids' camp; horseback riding; mountain biking. Side trip: Rafting the nearby Youghiogheny River, or visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.

Must see/do: Alpine slide.

Special events: Christmas in July, July 25; Bavarian Beach Party, Aug. 2; Laurel Highlands Wine and Food Festival, Aug. 15-16.

Nightlife: Two lounges and one beach bar, with nightly entertainment.

Lodging: Rooms in resort hotel are $155 a night and range from $330 to $680 for two nights in a condo, same as in winter. Also, chalets and cabins; call 1-800-452-2223.

Contact: 1-800-452-2223 The Homestead Where It's At: Hot Springs, Va., in western Virginia's Allegheny Mountains. Four-hour drive from D.C.: I-66 west to I-81 South to Rt. 257 (Bridgewater Exit). West to Rt. 42 South to Rt. 39 West to U.S. 220 South to Hot Springs.

What to do: Golf (three courses); spa; mountain biking; hiking (100 miles of trails).

Must see/do: Spa.

Special events: Sporting Clays Golf Championship, pro tournament, Aug. 13-16.

Lodging: Homestead Resort, 521 rooms, starting at $285 a night; 1-800-838-1766.

Contact: 1-800-838-1766,

White Tail

Where It's At: Mercersburg, Pa., in south-central Pennsylvania near Maryland line. 75-minute drive from D.C.: I-270 north to I-70 west, Exit 18.

What to do: Partial-service resort, no restaurants but a weekend barbecue. Mountain biking daily, except Tuesdays, with lift service on weekends and holidays; children's camps.

Must see/do: Fly-fishing clinic.

Lodging: Condos on mountain, from $60 a night per person. Camping on-site.

Contact: 717-328-9400,

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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