Beginner-friendly ski slopes, an indoor waterpark, and cabins for families make this spot a winner
If you’re eager to get your kids on skis, Massanutten Resort is the place to start. Over the past 50 years, this family-friendly mountain has grown from a six-trail destination to a four-season entertainment center featuring 14 ski trails, snow tubing, an indoor/outdoor water park, ice skating, an e-sports center, and more. Just two hours from both Washington DC and Richmond, VA, Massanutten Resort offers some of the best ski conditions in the region thanks to its high-tech snowmaking and grooming capabilities. With over 50 new snowmaking guns, this mountain makes more snow in a day “than Mother Nature.”
Not only are the ski conditions top-notch, but there are plenty of activities beyond the trails for family fun and memory-making. Spend an afternoon zipping down what The Washingtonian has praised as the best snow tubing park in the region, enjoy the indoor waterpark on a rainy day, or challenge the family to air hockey or bowling at the resort’s onsite arcade. Massanutten Resort delivers an action-packed, family-oriented winter getaway for both novice and expert skiers with plenty of après-ski things to do.
The Ski Experience at Massanutten ResortMeghan Yudes Meyers
New skiers should make a beeline for the Magic Carpet conveyor lift for an itty bitty bunny hill that is so gentle you rarely see new skiers topple. Once new skiers master the snow plow, it’s on to Paula’s Way, a longer run down a gradual hill where new skiers (and snowboarders) get a better sense of balancing on skis. Once your kiddo becomes confident on this hill, you can introduce them to Creekside’s quad chairs and hit Southern Comfort, a hill that mirrors Paula’s Way in steepness but offers a much longer run.
One of the biggest expenses at any mountain is ski lessons. Costing almost as much as a lift ticket, it’s a spendy investment we think is worth it. Help you or your child get comfortable on the mountain fast by building confidence-boosting skills quickly. You’ll find teachers—all of whom are registered members of PSIA or Professional Ski Instructors of America—that work with any range of abilities and are also experienced in adaptive instruction for those who might do better with a different learning style.
While your child is enrolled in class, take advantage of the babysitting (wink, wink) and explore the more advanced trails. Massanutten Resort boasts the highest vertical of any ski mountain in VA, MD, or PA—rewarding those that make it to the peak with impressive views.
Where to Fuel Up on the SlopesMassanutten Resort
The General Store
A day of skiing can work up an appetite. Whether you want to kick start your day with a cup of coffee or grab trail mix for the slopes, The General Store has a wide variety of sundries for a day of skiing. You’ll also find must-have staples for your rental, like cooking oil, condiments, and marshmallows for roasting. Forgot ski gloves or need to size up on some ski pants? You’ll find everything from socks to ski coats to help you suit up for the mountain.
Ski Lodge Cafeteria
Spend more time on the trails and less time in the lodge with a quick meal. The cafeteria’s menu is loaded with hot comfort foods, like chicken fingers, pizza, and chili, but you’ll also find lighter options like salads, yogurts, fresh fruits, and sandwiches in the refrigerated section. This quick service option offers a fresh fixings bar with large slices of tomato, fresh lettuce, and other sandwich toppers.
Virginia BBQ & Pizza Co.
At the end of a day of skiing, make a pit stop at this onsite-smoked BBQ and pizza joint at the foot of Massanutten (located in the Visitor Center). For picky eaters, this dine-in and carry-out restaurant also has a kids’ menu featuring chicken fingers, hot dogs, and grilled cheese. Virginia BBQ & Pizza Co. is also a great place to start your day with breakfast sandwiches, French toast sticks, or egg-based breakfast bowls.
More Mountain Fun: Snow Tubing
Skiing isn’t the only way to enjoy Massanutten’s mountain. If you’ve got a beginner on skis, chances are they’ll spy the saucer-like tubes flying down the mountain just a short distance from Paula’s Way (you can’t miss the screams!). Praised as the best snow tubing by The Washingtonian, these 90-minute snow tube sessions whisk tubers down one of 16 lanes for fast thrills (and a few high-pitched shrieks). You must be 36′ tall to participate and tubes are single-rider only, but you can attach up to four tubes to pick up some extra speed.
Family Fun After SkiingMassanutten Resort
A trip to Massanutten Resort would be incomplete without a visit to its famed Indoor waterpark. The indoors are always heated to a toasty 84° so your littles can climb and explore without ever feeling cold. There is a lazy river, numerous (gigantic!) dump buckets, a kid-friendly hot tub, a kiddie pool, giant tube slides, body slides, and more. Not to be missed is the wave pool where experienced surfers will teach you how to zig left and right through the waves, kneel on your board and if you’re one of the nimble few, pop up to surf!Meghan Yudes Meyers
Above Massanutten’s WaterPark is a full floor of arcade fun. If you’ve rented a locker at the water park, you’ll get a $15 “refund” to use in the arcade. Beyond grabber machines and arcade games, this entertainment center features pin bowling and ride-on games. When you’re done playing, take your card loaded with your ticket winnings to the shop (yes, there is an entire shop!) to choose from a massive range of prizes.
Luxury Lodging at Massanutten ResortMeghan Yudes Meyers
From hotels to townhouses to home rentals, there are a number of lodging options both on the mountain and in the valley at Massanutten Resort. King among them is Regal Vistas, a condo-style housing community surrounded by mountain views.
We love these two-bedroom homes not only for their convenience to all of the Resort’s amenities (the water park is at the base of the complex and the ski trails are a quick drive away) but each house is meticulously designed for an optimal family vacation. With a king-bed master, a queen bed, and a pull-out sofa, these homes can comfortably accommodate up to six guests. There is a full kitchen, a washer/dryer, and a single-car garage (which comes in handy as a makeshift play area). You’ll appreciate the master suite’s hot tub after a long day of skiing (and we bet the kids will find it the most epic bubble bath ever with changing colored lights).
Editor’s Note: This trip was paid for by Massanutten Resort but all opinions belong to the writer.