THE REAL NIGHTMARE of area ski resorts is not spring-like temperatures in January. And it isn't cut-rate air fares to the ski resorts in the Western states. No, the real bugaboo -- the thing that puts aspirin into ski slope managers' medicine cabinets -- is snow.

Hard to believe, but snow can be the worst enemy of ski resorts. "It makes driving dangerous," explains Uel Gardner of Wintergreen, a Blue Ridge Mountain resort west of Charlottesville, Va. "And then the skiers are too scared to come."

Gardner's idea of a dream season would be a winter of clear skies and freezing temperatures, perfect weather for snowmaking. That's why he and other ski operations managers see a silver lining in winter forecasts that most of us would consider very bad news.

"I've heard forecasts that say it's supposed to be the toughest winter in 50 years this side of the Mississippi river," says Gardner.

His comment is echoed by Susan Levy, ski marketing manager for Hidden Valley resort near Somerset, Pa. "The forecasts I've seen are calling for early cold weather, continuing on through the winter," she says.

Their hopeful comments are a response to last year, a mild and wet season when the news was all downhill for mid-Atlantic ski resorts. Lift-ticket prices kept rising, the snow stopped falling, the skiers went elsewhere, and by mid-February many area slopes looked like farm fields in late March: wet, green and empty.

Last season was the slowest ever at Wintergreen, says Gardner. "We started out with the best start ever," he recalls. "We had more base -- 84 inches at the end of the year -- than any other ski area in the United States reported. And then it all just melted away."

Hidden Valley fared a bit better, says Levy. "Last year was down somewhat," she said of the number of skiers at Hidden Valley. "Even with the weather last year it wasn't that bad. We weren't hit as hard as other areas."

While the weather remains an unknown, what is certain this year is that the price of lift tickets has stabilized, with many resorts either keeping last year's rates, or raising their weekend prices only a dollar or two. It's about time. Some lift ticket prices at regional resorts were exceeding those at the larger and more popular resorts out West.

In other news:

Learn to Ski: Many area ski resorts offer sharply discounted weekend packages of lessons, rentals and lift tickets for beginning skiers. For the dates of the packages and the costs, call 800/VISIT-PA for the Pennsylvania resorts, 800/CALL-WVA for the West Virginia slopes and 800/THE-SNOW for Virginia's slopes.

Ski Reports: West Virginia and Virginia have daily taped ski condition reports. For West Virginia, call 800/225-5982 (800/CALL-WVA); for Virginia, call 800/843-7669 (800/THE-SNOW). The Ski Chalet has a local information number, 703/521-7777, for a taped message on conditions at area resorts. Weekend's weekly Ski Report resumes Dec. 21.

Ski Clubs: Area ski clubs are listed in the Skiing category in the "On the Move" section of Weekend. If you would like your club listed, have a club officer send a letter to On the Move, c/o Weekend, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071. Notices are published on a space-available basis.

Disabled Skiers: Special classes for disabled and blind skiers are offered at a number of area resorts, including Canaan Valley, Hidden Valley, Jack Frost, Montage, Silver Creek, Ski Liberty and Timberline Four Seasons. The 52 Association for the Handicapped Inc., a New York-based nonprofit group, sponsors a clinic for amputees and blind skiers at Greek Peak in Cortland, N.Y., Jan. 27 through Feb. 1 and an amputee clinic at Jack Frost in White Haven, Pa., Feb. 25 through March 1. The 52 Association can be contacted in Northern Virginia by calling 703/892-1985 or by writing 350 Fifth Ave., Suite 1829, New York, NY 10118.

Whither Cherokee? The Cherokee ski resort at Linden, Va., promoted with much fanfare last November, failed to open last season, a victim of weather and other problems. Construction is in its final stages at the resort, which is only 65 miles away from Washington, at Exit 3 off I-66 just east of Front Royal. Cherokee officials say they hope to open the resort sometime in December. Stay tuned. If it opens, we will write about it. Its number is 703/635-1242.

THE RESORTS

Here is a quick look at the resorts within a two- to six-hour drive of Washington:

ALPINE LAKE, 190 miles.

TERRA ALTA, W. VA. 304/789-2481. FACILITIES: 400-foot vertical drop; three slopes, all a gentle mix of beginner and intermediate; longest run, 2,200 feet. Two pomas and one tow, with a lift capacity of 1,050 people/hour. Snowmaking only on main and beginner slopes. Ski area open only on weekends and holidays and during Christmas week.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $14, children under 12 $7; half-day and evening, adults $8, $4 children.

SKI SCHOOL: Graduated Length Method (GLM). First lesson is free; group lessons $5; private lessons $15.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Lodging for more than 100 people, hot tubs and sauna, Olympic-size pool. More lodging in cabins and motels within five miles.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-70 west to U.S. 40 west to Route 219 south to Oakland; west on Route 39/7 to Terra Alta, follow signs to area.

BIG BOULDER, 225 miles.

LAKE HARMONY, PA. 717/722-0101. FACILITIES: 475-foot vertical; 11 slopes and trails, 40 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate, 20 percent expert; longest run 2,900 feet. Seven chairs with a lift capacity of 9,500 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area. Three kilometers of cross-country trails, with access to Hickory Run State Park trails.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $25 weekdays, $32 weekends and holidays, $20 Sunday-Thursday nights, $25 Friday-Saturday nights; children 6 to 10 $15 anytime; under 6 free with adult; seniors 62 to 69 $5; 70 and older free. Group, family and package discounts. Cross-country fee $5.

SKI SCHOOL: American Teaching System (ATS), GLM. Group lessons $14 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $32 for 1 1/2 hours, $16 for each additional person. Free lessons for beginners. Special classes for freestyle and children.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: two cafeterias, two bars, free babysitting for skiers, 178 town houses and condos. Nearby: 34 motels, many restaurants, 30 bars. Reciprocal lift tickets with Jack Frost Mountain, six miles away. Ski report: 717/722-0100.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 north to I-695 west to I-83 north to I-81 to I-80, east to Lake Harmony (Exit 43); then Route 115 south to Route 903 and follow signs.

BLACKWATER NORDIC CENTER, 180 miles.

DAVIS, W. VA. 304/259-5511. FACILITIES: Thirty kilometers of cross-country trails with track set as needed. Rentals available. Headlamp night tours upon request. Sledding area with lift. (Lift also available for telemark skiers.)

TRAIL USE FEE: Free, inside Blackwater Falls State Park.

SKI SCHOOL: Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA). Group lessons $10 for 1 1/2 hours. Telemark group lessons $12 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $15 per hour.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Trailside: 55 rooms, 25 cabins, restaurant, bar. Midweek packages. Nearby: 1,000 beds in Davis, 15 miles away.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 to Strasburg and I-81 north to U.S. 50 west to West Virginia Route 93 west to Route 32 south to Davis to Blackwater Falls access road and ski area.

BLUE KNOB, 150 miles.

CLAYSBURG, PA. 814/239-5111. FACILITIES: 1,052-foot vertical; 21 slopes and trails, 20 percent beginner, 60 percent intermediate, 20 percent expert; longest run 9,200 feet. Four chairs, three platter pulls with a lift capacity of 5,600 people/hour. Snowmaking 90 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $20 weekdays, $30 weekends and holidays, $15 nights; children 11 and under $15 weekdays, $20 weekends and $10 nights.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS, GLM. Group lessons $15 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $25 per. Special classes for racing, freestyle, powder and children.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, restaurant, bar, nursery, 196 rental condominiums. Nearby: 3,000 rooms within 20 miles. Ski report: 800/458-3403.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-270 to Breezewood, the Pennsylvania Turnpike west to Bedford (Exit 11), then Route 220 north to Route 869 and follow signs to resort.

BLUE MOUNTAIN, 240 miles

PALMERTON, PA. 215/826-7700. FACILITIES: (Until last season, this resort was called Little Gap.) 923-foot vertical; 16 slopes, 36 percent beginner, 28 percent intermediate, 36 percent expert; longest run 6,400 feet. Four chairs, one T-bar, one rope tow, with a lift capacity of 5,200 people/hour. Snowmaking and lights on 100 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $24 weekdays, $33 weekends and holidays, $19 weeknights, $21 weekend nights; children 10 to 6 $22 weekdays, $31 weekends and holidays, $17 weekday nights, $19 weekend and holiday nights; children 5 and under free; seniors 65 and older get 20 percent discount. Group and other package plans available.

SKI SCHOOL: GLM, PSIA. Adult group lessons $13 for 1 1/2 hours; private $30 per hour. Children 6 to 9 group $11 and for children 4 to 12, $45 for a five-hour program of lessons and lunch. Junior and adult racing classes available.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: ski shop and rental shop, babysitting (free weekdays, $3 an hour weekends), two cafeterias, bar. No slopeside lodging, but 5,000 rooms within 20 minutes. Ski report: 800/235-2226 from the Baltimore and Washington area.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 north to I-695 east near Baltimore, then I-83 north to Harrisburg, then I-81 north to I-78 west to Allentown. Then take the MacArthur Road and Seventh Street exit (Route 145 north) and follow signs to resort.

BRYCE MOUNTAIN, 120 miles.

BASYE, VA. 703/856-2121. FACILITIES: 500-foot vertical; four slopes and trails and three beginner areas, 25 percent beginner, 50 percent intermediate, 25 percent expert; longest run 3,500 feet. Two chairs, two tows, with a lift capacity of 3,500 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $20 weekdays, $32 weekends, $10 Monday through Thursday nights, $12 weekend nights; senior citizens and children under 14, $18 weekdays, $25 weekends, $10 weeknights, $12 weekend nights.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS, GLM. Group lessons $12 per hour; private lessons $32 per hour. Special classes for racing and children.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, restaurant, bar, 150 town houses, chalets and apartments. Ski report: 703/856-2151.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 to I-81 south to Exit 69 to Mount Jackson to Route 263 west; go 11 miles to Basye and ski area.

CAMELBACK, 230 miles.

TANNERSVILLE, PA. 717/629-1661. FACILITIES: 800-foot vertical; 25 slopes and trails, 40 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate, 20 percent expert; longest run one mile. Eleven chairs, with a lift capacity of 15,200 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area. Cross-country trails nearby.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $30 weekdays, $34 weekends; children 6 to 10, $25 weekdays, $29 weekends; night skiing $22; seniors $22 anytime.

SKI SCHOOL: GLM. Group lessons $15 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $35 per hour. Special classes for racing and children.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: New lodge offers four restaurants, three bars, nursery. No lodging at slope, but 5,000 beds, many restaurants and bars are nearby. Ski report: 800/233-8100.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 north to I-695 to I-83 north to I-81 to I-80; east on I-80 to Tannersville (Exit 45) and follow signs.

CANAAN VALLEY, 180 miles.

DAVIS, W. VA. 304/866-4121, 800/225-5982. FACILITIES: 850-foot vertical; 21 slopes and trails, 30 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate, 30 percent expert; longest run 6,500 feet. Three chairs, one poma, with a lift capacity of 6,000 people/hour. Snowmaking 80 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $20 weekdays, $29 weekends and holidays, $13 weekday nights, $17 weekend nights; children under 12 $15 weekdays, $20 weekends and holidays, $10 weekday nights, $12 weekend nights.

SCHOOL: ATS, PSIA. Group lessons $11 per hour; private lessons $30 per hour. Special classes for children. Certified instruction for blind and disabled skiers.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, bar, nursery. Free shuttle bus to 250 rooms, indoor pool, fitness center.

DIRECTIONS: I-270 to Cumberland, then U.S. 220 at U.S. 50 west to Route 93 south to Davis, then Route 32 south to ski resort; or take I-66 west to Strasburg to Route 55 west to Harman, W. Va., then Route 32 north.

CRANBERRY NORDIC CENTER, 225 miles.

MARLINTON, W. VA. 304/572-3771. FACILITIES: Open only on weekends and holidays. Cross-country ski area, with 100 kilometers of trials in nearby Cranberry Glades Back Country and Wilderness Area.

TRAIL USE FEE: None.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Visitors center serves as warming hut and ski shop. Lodging for 4,000 10 miles away at Snowshoe and in Marlinton. Ski report: 800/225-5982.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 west to I-81 to Bridgewater to Route 42, south to Goshen, west on West Virginia Route 39 west to Marlinton, south on U.S. 219 to Mill Point, then west on Route 39 six miles to the center.

DOE MOUNTAIN, 155 miles.

MACUNGIE, PA. 215/682-7108. FACILITIES: 500-foot vertical; 10 slopes and trails, 40 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate, 20 percent expert; longest run 4,700 feet. Four chairs, two tows, one T-bar, with a lift capacity of 3,600 people/hour. Snowmaking and lighting on 100 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $23 weekdays, $28 weekends and holidays, $17 nights; senior citizens and children 6 to 10 $13 anytime; children under 5 $3. Group discounts.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $12 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $30 per hour. Organized groups $8.50 per person; children's group lessons, ages 5 to 10, $11.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, bar, restaurant. Snack bar on mountain top. Motel with 14 rooms. Ski report: 215/682-7107, 215/682-7207.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 north to Wilmington, then Route 202 north to Route 100 north to Hereford, at the junction of Route 29. At junction of Routes 29 and 100, turn left onto country road and go five miles to resort entrance.

ELK MOUNTAIN, 260 miles.

UNIONDALE, PA. 717/679-2611. FACILITIES: 1,000-foot vertical; 19 slopes and trails, 25 percent beginner, 30 percent intermediate, 45 percent expert; longest run 8,800 feet. Five chairs, with a lift capacity of 5,200 people/hour. Snowmaking 95 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults and children 6 and older, $26 weekdays, $33 weekends, $18 weekday nights, $20 weekend nights; children 5 and under free with paid adult. Half-day rates $25 weekends, $20 weekdays. Group and first-time skier discount packages.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $15 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $32 for 1 1/2 hours; group lessons for children $12. Special classes for freestyle, racing and children.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: restaurant, bar, babysitting, but no lodging. Nearby: 50 motels and a variety of restaurants and bars. Ski report: 800/233-4131.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 north to I-695 west to I-83 north to I-81 to Lenoxville (Exit 63) to Route 374 and follow signs.

ELK RIVER TOURING CENTER, 225 miles.

SLATYFORK, W. VA. 304/572-3771. FACILITIES: Nordic ski area, with 50 kilometers of trails for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers in the Monongahela National Forest. Thirty kilometers of machine-groomed trails and two kilometers of lighted paths for night skiing. Fifteen kilometers groomed for "skating," the unusual skiing style favored by competition skiers. Guided tours and "moonlight madness" tours available.

TRAIL USE FEE: $3 weekdays, $5 weekends; $2 nights. Ski rentals $10 per day adults, $7.50 children.

SKI SCHOOL: PSIA. Cross-country group lessons $10 for 1 1/2 hours; private $25 for 1 1/4 hours. Semi-private (two to three skiers) telemark lessons $15 per hour per person; private $30 per hour. Snowboard rentals and lessons $20 a day.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: new restaurant, pub, Nordic specialty shop, hot tub. Lodging for 40 in bed and breakfast and 15 in new inn over the ski shop and restaurant. Lodging for 4,000 10 miles away at Snowshoe and in Marlinton. Ski report: 800/225-5982.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 west to I-81 to Bridgewater to Route 42, south to Goshen, west on West Virginia Highway 39 west to Marlinton and north on U.S. 219 to ski area.

HIDDEN VALLEY, 191 miles.

SOMERSET, PA. 814/443-6454 or 800/458-0175. FACILITIES: 610-foot vertical; 17 slopes and trails, 35 percent beginner, 35 percent intermediate, 30 percent advanced; longest run 5,200 feet. Six chairs, two pony lifts, with a lift capacity of 12,000 people/hour. Snowmaking and lighting 98 percent of area. 50 kilometers of groomed and patrolled cross-country trails.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $25 Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, $15 Tuesdays and Thursdays; $30 weekends and holidays, including Christmas week; $15 Monday nights, $20 Tuesday through Sunday nights. Children 6 to 12 and seniors 65 and over, $15 Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, $10 Tuesdays and Thursdays, $25 weekends, $8 Monday nights, $13 every other night. Children 5 and younger and seniors 70 and older ski free. Weekend, season, group, twilight and other packages available. Cross-country trail fee $8.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $15 for 1 1/2 hour; private $30 per hour. First-time skiers can get lessons, equipment and lift tickets for $20 weekdays, $30 weekends. During January, the resort offers $5 discounts on the package for first-time skiers. Cross-country group lessons available. Lessons for children, racing, blind and disabled skiers.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, restaurant, lounge, ski shop, rental center, theater, under-21 night club, medical clinic, nursery and children's center, ski school, deck and grill area, shuttle bus to other facilities, lodging. Other facilities include indoor pool, sauna, racquetball, cross-country shop and rental center, cafe, shops, lounge, conference center, deli, 500 rooms, condominiums and houses available for rent. Lodging for 3,000 in Somerset. Packages available; call 800/458-0175. Ski report: 800/443-SKII.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-270 to Breezewood, to Pennsylvania Turnpike to Somerset (Exit 10) and Route 31, west 12 miles.

THE HOMESTEAD, 200 miles.

HOT SPRINGS, VA. 703/839-7721. FACILITIES: 700-foot vertical; nine slopes and one trail, 34 percent beginner, 33 percent intermediate, 33 percent expert; longest run 4,200 feet. One chair, two bars, one tow, with a lift capacity of 2,200 people/hour. Snowmaking and lighting 100 percent of area. Cross-country skiing on the golf course, when snow permits. Snowboarding allowed on slopes. Curling offered on ice rink.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $18 weekdays, $28 weekends and holidays, $12 nights Tuesday-Friday, $14 Saturday nights; no night skiing Sundays and Mondays. Children 12 and under $8 weekdays, $14 weekends and holidays, $7 weeknights, $10 Saturday nights; children 4 and younger ski free. Resort has ski packages.

SKI SCHOOL: GLM, ATS and Austrian. Group ski, snowboarding and cross-country lessons $12 per hour; private $35 per hour. Group lessons for children 12 and under $10.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: restaurant, 1,100-bed hotel at resort. Facilities include an indoor pool, movie theater, nightclub, bowling alley, health spa and shops. Near the slope is an Olympic-size skating rink. Skating lessons $6 group, $20 private; tickets $4.50 weekdays, $5.50 weekends and holidays. Motels, inns and restaurants nearby.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 to I-81 to Route 257, west to Bridgewater to Route 42 into Route 39, south on Route 220.

JACK FROST MOUNTAIN, 225 miles.

WHITE HAVEN, PA. 717/443-8425. FACILITIES: 600-foot vertical; 19 slopes and trails, 20 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate, 40 percent expert; longest run 2,700 feet. Seven chairs, with a lift capacity of 8,800 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area. 15 kilometers of cross-country trails.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $25 weekdays, $32 weekends and holidays; children 6 to 10 $15, under 6 free; seniors 62 to 69 $5, 70 and older free. Group, family and other packages. Cross-country trail fee $5.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS, GLM. Group lessons $14 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $32 for 1 1/2 hours, $16 each additional person. Nordic group lessons $12 (includes trail fee). Special classes for racing, freestyle, children.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, restaurant, bar, free babysitter service for skiers, ice skating rink, children's center, 150 rental units. Nearby: 16 motels and 12 bars. Reciprocal lift ticket with Big Boulder, six miles away. Special programs for disabled and blind skiers.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 north to I-695 west to I-83 north to I-81 east to I-80 east and then exit on Route 940 and drive east 3 1/2 miles.

MASSANUTTEN, 125 miles.

HARRISONBURG, VA. 703/289-9441. FACILITIES: 1,110-foot vertical; 11 slopes and trails, 38 percent beginner, 38 percent intermediate, 24 percent advanced; longest run 4,000 feet. Four chairs, one J-bar, with a lift capacity of 6,500 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $20 weekdays, $32 weekends, $15 nights; active military, children 5 to 12 and adults 65 and over, $15 weekdays, $27 weekends, $13 nights; children 4 and younger free with paying adult. SKI SCHOOL: PSIA, ATS. Group lessons $12 for 1 1/4 hours; private lessons $30 per hour. Children's programs and National Standard Recreation Ski Racing (NASTAR) racing classes available.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, restaurant, bar. Indoor sports complex, pool, saunas, hot tubs, entertainment. Rental condominiums available. Other lodging in Harrisonburg, with some chain motels offering ski packages. DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 to U.S. 29 south to U.S. 33 west to Route 644 and entrance; or take I-66 to I-81 south to Exit 64-E to Route 33 east for about 10 miles to Route 644 and entrance.

MONTAGE, 210 miles.

SCRANTON, PA. 717/969-7669. FACILITIES: 1,000-foot vertical; 18 slopes and trails, 34 percent beginner, 33 percent intermediate, 33 percent expert; longest run 4,000 feet. Five chairs, with a lift capacity of 8,100 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $26 weekdays, $33 weekends and holidays, $18 nights; children 5 and under free; ages 65 and older 50 percent discount anytime.

SKI SCHOOL: PSIA, ATS. Group lessons $10 for 1 1/2 hours; private $30 per hour. Classes for disabled, racing, freestyle and children.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, bar, nursery, ski shop, rentals, school. No lodging. Nearby: 20 hotels and motels with 2,200 rooms within three miles. Equipped for slalom and downhill racing. No cross-country. Ski report: 800/847-7669.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 to I-83 north to I-81 north and exit right on Davis Street (north on Exit 51) and on to Montage Mountain Road three miles to ski area.

MOUNTAIN LAKE, 270 Miles.

MOUNTAIN LAKE, VA. 703/626-7121 or 800/346-3334. FACILITIES: 20 kilometers of cross-country trails, 15 kilometers machine-groomed and patrolled. Ice skating on a mountain lake, horse-drawn sleigh rides.

TRAIL FEE: $5; hotel guests ski free. Equipment rentals $10 adults, $6 children weekdays, $15 and $10 respectively weekends and holidays.

SKI SCHOOL: PSIA instructors. Nordic group lessons $10 for 1 1/2 hours; private $20 for 1 1/2 hours.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Organized activities, shops, game rooms, movies and live entertainment at the resort, used as the set in the movie "Dirty Dancing." Accommodations: 78 rooms in the hotel and lodges.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-81 south to Blacksburg, then Route 460 west to Route 700. Turn right on Route 700 and drive seven miles up the mountain to the resort.

SEVEN SPRINGS, 190 miles.

CHAMPION, PA. 814/352-7777 or 800/452-2223. FACILITIES: 750-foot vertical; 30 slopes and trails, 40 percent beginner, 45 percent intermediate, 15 percent expert; longest run 5,280 feet. Nine regular and two quad chair, six tows, one pony, with a lift capacity of 24,000 people/hour. Night skiing on front and north face ski slopes. Snowmaking 95 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $30 days, $20 nights; children under 12 $25, $15 nights.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $15 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $35 for 1 1/2 hours. Special classes for racing, freestyle, juniors and children.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: 11 restaurants/bars, babysitter service, lodging for 3,500 people. Indoor swimming pool, health spa, racquetball/handball courts, shops, roller-skating and more. No credit cards honored. Nearby: Lodging in Somerset and Donegal. Slopes equipped for slalom and downhill racing.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-270 to Breezewood, then Pennsylvania Turnpike west to Somerset (Exit 10), Route 31 west 17 miles and follow signs.

SHAWNEE MOUNTAIN, 210 miles.

SHAWNEE-ON-DELAWARE, PA. 717/421-7231. FACILITIES: 700-foot vertical; 23 slopes and trails, 39 percent beginner, 39 percent intermediate, 22 percent expert; longest run 5,100 feet. Eight double, one triple chairs, with a lift capacity of 9,600 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area, lighting on 95 percent. Three kilometers of cross-country skiing with one kilometer of snowmaking area. Snowboarding allowed on slopes and on half-pipe.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $30 weekdays, $33 weekends and holidays, $21 nights; children 7 and under free. Multi-day and other rates available. Cross-country ski trail fee $5.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $15 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $36 per hour.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: two cafeterias, deli, pizza restaurant, three bars. Nearby: dorm-type and other lodging; indoor pool. Ski report: 800/233-4218 outside of Pennsylvania.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-83 to Harrisburg, Route 22 east to Route 33 north into I-80 to Marshalls Creek (Exit 52) and follow Shawnee Mountain signs.

SILVER CREEK, 245 miles.

SLATYFORK, W. VA. 304/572-4000 or 800/523-6329. FACILITIES: 663-foot vertical; 14 slopes; 20 percent beginner, 60 percent intermediate, 20 percent advanced; longest run 4,700 feet. Four chairs, with a lift capacity of 6,700 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area. No night skiing.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $19 weekdays, $30 weekends and holidays; ages 8 through 12 $13 weekdays, $17 weekends; ages 7 and under ski free. Seniors who join the free Executive Club get a 25 percent discount on skiing and lodging anytime. Half-day discounts and group rates. Packages available.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $15 for a two-hour session; private lessons $30 per hour. Programs for ages 4 to 12 are $40 for an all-day lesson and lunch. Special classes in NASTAR racing and for disabled skiers.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: deli, restaurant, bar, babysitting, ski shop, laundry service, indoor/outdoor heated pool, 240 condominiums. Motels and restaurants nearby.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 west to I-81 south to Bridgewater to Route 42, south to Goshen, west on West Virginia Route 39 to Marlinton and 26 miles north on U.S. 219 to area.

SKI LIBERTY, 65 miles

FAIRFIELD, PA. 717/642-8282. FACILITIES: 600-foot vertical; 13 slopes and trails, 30 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate, 30 percent expert; longest run 5,200 feet. Three chairs, two quads, one pony and one J-bar, with a lift capacity of 9,120 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area. Snowboarding permitted on slopes and half-pipe.

LIFT TICKETS: $23 weekdays, $30 weekends and holidays, $19 weekday nights, $21 weekend nights for all ages.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $15 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $28 per hour. Videotaping of your efforts available. Special classes for children in a new learning center for beginner skiers. NASTAR slalom competition Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends at 2. Other discounts on lessons and rentals. Special clinics for mentally disabled available.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: ski rental shop, children's learning center, nursery, cafeteria, restaurant, bar, 42 rooms. Nearby: lodging referral service (717/642-8288). Ski report: 800/829-4766.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-270 to Frederick, then U.S. 15 to Route 140 west to Route 16 and 116 east.

SKI ROUNDTOP, 121 miles.

LEWISBERRY, PA. 717/432-9631. FACILITIES: 600-foot vertical; 13 slopes and trails, 40 percent beginner, 30 percent intermediate, 30 percent expert; longest run 4,100 feet. Five double, one triple chairs, two J-bars and one pony, with a lift capacity of 8,000 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Ages 6 and older $23 weekdays, $30 weekends, $19 weekday nights, $21 weekend nights; children 5 and under ski free with ticketed adult. Ages 70 and older half-price weekdays, full price weekends.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $15 per hour; private lessons $28 per hour. NASTAR slalom competition Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, nursery, no lodging. Nearby: more than 20 hotels and motels, restaurants and lounges. Group and package rates available. Ski report: 800/767-4766.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-95 north to I-695 to I-83 and Exit 13 at Newberrytown, take Route 382 west to Route 177 south. Turn right at next crossroad and follow signs.

SNOWSHOE, 245 miles.

SLATYFORK, W. VA. 304/572-1000. FACILITIES: 1,500-foot vertical; 33 slopes and trails; 32 percent beginner, 33 percent intermediate, 35 percent expert; longest run 7,500 feet. Seven chairs, with a lift capacity of 10,700 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent of area.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $27 weekdays, $32 weekends and holidays; children 8 to 12, $15 weekdays, $18 weekends; children 7 and under free. Multi-day and other packages available.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $18 for two hours, private $36 per hour. Special classes for racing, freestyle and children.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, eight restaurants, four bars, nursery, 1,000 rental condos, 200 rooms, additional rental apartments. Motels and restaurants nearby. Ski report: 304/572-INFO.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 west to I-81 south to Bridgewater to Route 42, south to Goshen, west on West Virginia Route 39 to Marlinton and 26 miles north on U.S. 219 to area.

TIMBERLINE FOUR SEASONS RESORT, 185 miles.

DAVIS, W. VA. 304/866-4801 or 800/843-1751. FACILITIES: 1,000-foot vertical; 22 slopes and trails; 50 percent beginner, 30 percent intermediate, 20 percent expert; longest run 10,640 feet. One triple chair; one T-bar; two surface lifts, one handle tow, with a lift capacity of 1,800 people/hour. Snowmaking 95 percent of area. Twenty-five kilometers of cross-country trails in nearby Dolly Sods Wilderness Area. Night skiing on weekends, snowboarding allowed on slopes and half-pipe.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $18 weekdays, $28 weekends and holidays; children 6 to 12, $14 weekdays, $19 weekends; children 5 and under free.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $12 per hour; private lessons and lessons for disabled skiers available on request.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: two restaurants, with a ski-on deck, bar, day-care center, mountaintop snack bar. 75 condominiums available. Eight restaurants and 600 motel room within 15 minutes. Ski report: 304/866-4828.

DIRECTIONS: I-270 to Cumberland, then U.S. 220 at U.S. 50 west to Route 93 south to Davis, then Route 32 south to ski resort; or take I-66 west to Strasburg, to Route 55 west to Harman, W. Va., then Route 32 north.

TUSSEY MOUNTAIN SKI AREA, 180 miles.

BOALSBURG, PA. 814/466-6810. FACILITIES: 500-foot vertical; seven slopes and trails; 25 percent beginner, 50 percent intermediate, 25 percent advanced; longest run 5,200 feet. One quad chair, two T-bars, one poma, with a lift capacity of 5,400 people/hour. 100 percent snowmaking. Snowboards allowed anytime.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $15 weekdays, $19 weekends and holidays; children 7 to 10 $10 weekdays, $18 weekends and holidays; children 6 and younger free; seniors 65 to 70 half-price; over 70 free. College students with ID get a $2 discount.

SKI SCHOOL: Group lessons $12 per hour; private lessons $22 per hour.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: restaurant, two bars, cafeteria and nursery. Nearby: 2,000 rooms within five miles at State College.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-83 north to U.S. 322 and follow signs to Tussey Mountain.

WHITE GRASS TOURING CENTER, 188 miles.

CANAAN VALLEY, W. VA. 304/866-4114. FACILITIES: 1,100-foot vertical; 50 kilometers of maintained cross-country ski trails, 10 kilometers machine-groomed. Night touring using headlamps and moonlight. "Trees-on-Skis," "Stars on Skis," inn-to-inn trips and other educational programs by reservation.

TRAIL USE FEE: $5; night tour upon request $10.

SKI SCHOOL: PSIA. Group lessons $10 for 1 1/2 hours; private $25 per hour. Telemark lessons $12 group for 1 1/2 hours; private $25 per hour.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Trailside: day lodge, natural foods cafe with live music, ski shop, beer bar. Nearby: 1,000 beds within 15 miles, restaurants and bars. Ski report: 800/CALL-WVA.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 to I-81 north at Strasburg to U.S. 50 west to West Virginia Route 93 west to Route 32 south past Davis into Canaan Valley. Take Freeland Road east to ski area.

WINTERGREEN, 168 miles.

WINTERGREEN, VA. 800/325-2200. FACILITIES: 1,003-foot vertical; 10 trails, 20 percent beginner, 42 percent intermediate, 21 percent advanced, 17 percent expert; longest run 4,200 feet. Five chairs, with a lift capacity of 8,200 people/hour. Limits on the sale of lift tickets strictly enforced. Weekends from mid-January to the end of February, property owners, renters and registered guests get priority on lift tickets. A few words of caution: Only a few day skiers not staying at the resort are admitted after 8 a.m. on Saturdays, but it is easier to get in on Sundays and weekdays. Snowmaking 100 percent of area. Overnight guests can ski, go horseback riding and play golf at the resort's new 18-hole Stoney Creek course in the valley below for the price of a lift ticket.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $26 weekdays, $34 weekends and holidays, $15 nights Sunday-Thursday, $18 nights Friday-Saturday; children 6 to 12 $22 weekdays, $29 weekends, $13 weeknights, $16 weekend nights; children 5 and under $6 days, $5 nights.

SKI SCHOOL: PSIA, ATS. Group lessons $15 for 1 1/2 hours; private $42 per hour, $30 per additional skier.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: rental shop, ski school, shops, restaurants, lounges, first aid and other services. The Treehouse, another new facility, will house all children's ski programs. Other facilities: cafeteria, five restaurants, three bars, nursery, 400 rental homes and condominiums, indoor pool, outdoor hot tubs and exercise room. Nature programs for children. Lodging also available in Trillium House, a country inn located in the middle of the resort. Inn guests can use all facilities of resort; call 804/325-9126. Ski report: 804/325-2100.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 west to U.S. 29 south to Charlottesville, then I-64 west to U.S. 250 (Crozet exit); then west to Route 6 east and turn left. Go 8.7 miles and turn right on Route 151; head 5.4 miles to Route 664, turn right and drive 4.5 miles to entrance.

WINTERPLACE, 275 miles.

GHENT, W. VA. 304/787-3221. FACILITIES: 603-foot vertical; 21 slopes and trails, 25 percent beginner, 50 percent intermediate, 25 percent expert; longest run 6,500 feet. Three chairs, one tow, with a lift capacity of 5,500 people/hour. Snowmaking 100 percent.

LIFT TICKETS: All 7 and older $23 weekdays, $31 weekends and holidays, $16 weekday nights, $23 weekend nights; children 6 and under free. Multi-day, package, group rates and combination tickets available.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $12 for 1 1/2 hours; private lessons $25 per hour. SKIwee program for children.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: restaurant, cafeteria, bar and 36 condominiums. Hotels, motels and restaurants within 15 miles.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-66 west to I-81 south to I-64 west; Route 12 south to Alderson then Route 3 west to Shady Spring to U.S. 19 south. Follow U.S. 19 10 miles, resort on right side a half-mile past I-77.

WISP RESORT, 185 miles.

OAKLAND, MD. 301/387-4911. FACILITIES: 610-foot vertical; 23 slopes and trails, 20 percent beginner, 50 percent intermediate, 30 percent expert; longest run two miles. Five chairs, two tows, one poma, with a lift capacity of 9,120 people/hour. Snowmaking 90 percent of area. Snowboarding allowed on slopes and half-pipe.

LIFT TICKETS: Adults $27 weekdays, $32 weekends and holidays, $17 weeknights, $21 Saturday nights; children 12 and under $16 weekdays, $19 weekends and holidays, $13 weeknights, $14 weekend nights. Ages 65 to 69 half-price anytime, over 70 free anytime.

SKI SCHOOL: ATS. Group lessons $10 per hour; private lessons $32 per hour. Racing lessons available.

SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Slopeside: cafeteria, two restaurants, two bars, 169-room lodge, indoor pool and children's center. 14 motels nearby. Ski report: 301/387-4000.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-270 and I-70 to Hancock, then west on U.S. 40 to U.S. 48 to U.S. 219 south to Deep Creek Lake and follow signs.