This page offers suggestions as to things you might want to consider. If you have a suggestion that you think should be added please email me and put Tips in the subject line. Keep in mind that I live and love to ski and this page is for those who think like me. I use the term ski, snowboarder interchangeably.
What to bring:
For your car:
- Don’t forget the windshield fluid. Big mistake.
- Don’t forget the ice scrapper.
- A snow shovel (just in case).
- Fill up with gas before you get to the top.
Types of clothing:
- Layers are best.
- Windproof and water proof is a must for skiers and boarders.
- Gloves that cover your wrist or strap over or under your jacket. You fall and snow gets on your wrist, your hands will feel like they are freezing. The waterproof gortex gloves that you can buy for $15/ $20 are great. Buy 2 pairs if you can. Rotate each pair to allow for drying.
- Cover your head.
- The wind at the top of the mountain can make it feel significantly colder that the temperature reads. In my experience the wind is worse than the cold. Dress in layers that are windproof. If you have too many layers you can always take one off.
- Buy toe / hand warmers at Wal-Mart or at Costco.
- Don’t wear jeans unless you have nothing else or you never fall and you are spring skiing. Jeans get wet and will freeze your derrière.
- Keep in mind you can buy everything you need at the mountain…. at a higher price.
- Bring a swim suit. It is fun to swim outside in the heated Split Rock pools in the winter. The Hot tubs are a nice way to soak sore muscles.
Food / supplies:
- Wild Cat Provisions is the only mountain top store. It has Beer, bread, chips and cokes. They also rent DVD’s and have a deli. Similar to your basic 7-11. The closest “real store” is in Marlington. If you come up and forget the steak, forget steak, or go out.
- Beer! Beer prices are relatively the same on the mountain however the selection is limited to the major brands and maybe a few others.
- Wine. Not much of a selection to choose from. There is a place at the bottom of the mountain that sells (some) wine. Best advice I can give is to BYOB, drink beer or purchase your drinks at the bars.
- The closest liquor store / ABC is 45 minutes away (one way) in Marlington. Kind of a party spoiler if you run out. You do not want to drive to Marlington after skiing, drinking or whatever for booze. It is a hard drive during the day, so plan your drive wisely.
Restaurants / Bars: A busy weekend at the mountain can result in up to a 2 hour wait to be seated at most of the restaurants if you try to eat at the peak times. A lot of people don’t mind (or don’t know), I am the type that brings my own steak. Even if you don’t rent one of my places, find a place with a full kitchen. Most of Snowshoe’s rental properties in the village have no kitchen and a refrigerator that you have to struggle with to get a 12 pack in (no way for a gallon of milk for the kids and a 12 pack to fit). Snowshoe (understandably) wants you to go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the village properties are designed for just that, no way to cook a meal (I don’t consider microwave popcorn a meal). At our Mountain lodge home, you make the choice on whether to cook dinner and to have desert at Starbucks. All of our appliances are full size, including stove, refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot and dishwasher.
Here is the “dope” on the places competing for your money.
- Cheat’s pizza. Decent “gourmet” pizza, but don’t go in thinking that you will get the “3 for” that Domino’s offers.
- The Bistro. Our favorite place in the village. Be aware that their $25.00 bottle of wine will have a screw off top!
- The Junction. Good all around food. Serves great omelets for breakfast and the rack of ribs is one of our favorites. Nice bar and social party area.
- Auntie’s Pasta. Not as crowded and good food. Downstairs at Mountain Lodge. Decent price and a $25 bottle of wine has a cork!
- Embers. The newest addition to the mountain. Great food, nice presentation, good service and will put a dent in your wallet. Make reservations before you come to the mountain if you want an 7:30 – 8:30pm reservation (304) 572-1111 on a Saturday. Embers does have a gourmet carry out and they call it by another name. I will add some info once I have it.
- Rimfire. Great sunsets. Similar to the Junction in type of food. Nice place for “Happy Hour”.
- Shavers Center. Cafeteria style; breakfast and lunch.
- Wild Cat provision. Sandwiches, pizza, all carry out.
- The Connection. Over 18 and looking for the party? You will eventually find the Connection.
- Please walk home. Everything is close, walking distance in the village and to Mountain Lodge. Walking distance does not mean leave your jacket, gloves or hat at home. Snowshoe is at the top of the mountain and frostbite takes seconds when it is -20 degrees. Your skin will freeze and your trip will not be as fun if you don’t take this advice. The mountain and the roads can be vicious and there is limited parking. Use the free shuttle for any reason, especially if you go to Brandi’s, night ski or party at the Creek. Snowshoe police are a friendly group of very nice and helpful people, but get paid to keep all guest safe (drivers too). They are the real deal. Don’t think that drunk driver laws are not enforced or that traps are not set to catch the drivers too lazy to walk or smart enough to take the shuttle. They want you to have fun. They want you to party. If needed they will call the shuttle for you or give you directions. They have been known to give people rides, jump cars, push stuck cars and bend over backwards to help you be safe. So unless you do really stupid stuff or drive when you shouldn’t, you probably won’t get a chance to meet them.
Going out to dinner vs. ski lessons: –> Ski Lesson pricing
- I am not a patient person so the thought of going out to dinner and having to wait for hours to be seated, with small kids, and then another hour and a half to be served is not my idea of fun.
- So if you are choosing lessons over dinner consider this.
- Lessons give you the advantage of improving your skills at an accelerated rate.
- Instead of waiting in line, you get to cut to the front of the line.
- The cost of going out to dinner is about the same as lessons. See the ski lesson below.
Cell phone coverage:
- Five years ago, people didn’t need a cell attached to their ear 12 hours a day. So for those who can’t live without, here is the skinny!
- Verizon – Nothing, nada, zip as in zero coverage.
- Sprint. If you find a spot you need to stand in that spot and don’t move to make a call. No digital text messages. My kids feel so deprived!
- ATT / Cingular: A little better than Sprint. Text messages work.
- The Locals use Cellular One. I think Cellular One was bought out, but no one ever told the folks up on the mountain! Keep in mind that because of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Snowshoe is considered a quiet area and the cell phone service is marginal at best. Get a calling card from Wal-Mart and use one of those old fashion phones that have a wire attached to it.
- Satellite phones; only seen them used in Iraq on the news. You can be the cool one at Starbucks if you have one.
- The rest.. no idea. I think Alltel might work. Let me know if you have something other than above that works.
Lift line psychology:
- Have a plan if you want to avoid lift lines (or keep them to a minimum).
- Be one of the first on the mountain. The party crowd and teenagers sleep until 11:00 ish (at least mine do) and the folks out drinking the night before will be in recovery mode at Starbucks drinking the triple shot espresso mixed with red bull.
- Ski during lunch hour. People are programmed and we hear it all the time. “Kids, lets meet for lunch at 12:00”. I have seen Ballhooter on Saturday’s with small lines between 12:00-1:00. For those that haven’t taken this advice or read this page will find the crowd (and long wait times) at Shavers center waiting for their slice of pizza.
- Ride Grab Hammer lift. It is right next to Ballhooter but without the line.
- Ride Soaring Eagle Express (formerly Widowmaker). Very seldom is there a line here. Will see if that applies with the 3 new runs they have just added.
- If you are a new skier or a “green” run skier, find your way to Powder Ridge lift. There are some fun, long runs that are wide open and a blast to play on for the novice and expert skier alike.
- Skiers / Boarders in lessons go to the front of the line. Split the cost with 2-5 of your buddies in a private lesson. I can give you names of instructors who are the best of the best.
- It is better in my opinion to rent at the top of the mountain, from Snowshoe. I like and support the Ski Barn but if you have a problem with your equipment, you have to drive to where you got the skis / board to get it fixed. Major bummer if you are the Dad and your kid is waiting for you to get the equipment fixed.
- If you have a problem or don’t like your equipment and you rented from Snowshoe, they will exchange or fix your stuff quickly and you will be back on the mountain quickly.
- Forget the Jean Claude 70’s and 80’s style of ski. You will ski much better on the “new stuff”. Short and fat is where it’s at! The fatter the better. People think my skis can double as water skis! I had Rossi 210’s and tried to sell them on eBay. Couldn’t give them away. I am 6′ and ski on 162’s. Anything larger than 172 is too big unless you are 6′ 4″ or taller.
- Consider buying used demo’s from the MAC (Mountain Adventure) Center. The cost of the ski and boot will pay for itself in 1 to 2 ski trips. Demos are better than the stuff they rent to everyone else and the rentals do cost more, but I think it is worth it. They will deduct the price of the rental if you decide to buy. And they will negotiate! Cash is king.
- If you get to Snowshoe in the evening, call to see if you can get your rentals the night before you ski. It is not extra and you won’t have to wait with the crowds the next morning. I do not know what time they are open to, but it is worthwhile finding out and trying to get to the mountain before they close and getting your rentals knocked out. Rentals are at the bottom of Expedition Station (walking distance, 4 minutes from Mountain Lodge) and Top of the World (probably smart to drive there). The main number for Snowshoe is 304.572.1000. Operators are standing by and will direct your question or they will know the person that can help.
The best place to buy gear.
- We love the Ski Barn just outside the entrance to Silver Creek. You have to drive to get there.
- The Why Knot Shop is pretty cool. This is a furniture shop, souvenir shop or fresh fudge shop. It is a neat place to check out if you have the time.
- In the village your kids (big and small) will find and love Full Tilt. All of the stores on top are fun.
- Bring a camera and batteries. The village has that magical feel and look and the pictures you take will look great on your computer screensaver for months to come.
Ski Lesson Pricing
- Group Lessons: Adt (over 13 years old) $49.00 for 1.5 hours Under 13 is $69.00 for 3 hours.
- Private Lessons: 1st hour= $109, 2 hours=$179, 3 hours $249, 4 hours $329, 5 hours $399. Each additional person is $39.00
- Prices need to be confirmed. I think they are right but make no promises!
West Virginia Driving rules
- If you do not want to, or are not comfortable driving faster than the WV driver behind you, let him pass. There is no shame in letting a guy / lady who knows the road and drives it daily letting them pass you regardless of the double yellow line. Put your right turn signal on and slow down and let them pass! Don’t do this on a curve or blind spot and don’t be a Picker (out of state bone head) just because you are not comfortable driving on mountain roads. You will find that it is less stressful and you will enjoy the drive more!