Top 5 Best Ski Resorts Near DC

Washington DC is a major metropolitan area famous for being the home of the United States Government. But there are many ski resorts nearby that locals and visitors alike can take advantage of during the winter months. 

I’ve been an avid skier my entire life. I’ve traveled near and far in search of fresh snow and have skied at a few of the ski resorts near DC. I’ve researched some other great options and know what to look for in a top-notch ski resort. 

This post will highlight some of the best ski resorts near DC. I’ll tell you what each resort is known for and how far it is from the city. This information can help you plan a ski trip or explore what’s out there. 

Let’s get to it. 

1. Liberty Mountain

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 21 (Average)
  • Closing Day:  March 20 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Close proximity to DC, good snowmaking coverage

Liberty Mountain is one of the closest resorts to the DC area. It’s located in Pennsylvania but is only about a 90-minute drive away from the DC city center, making it a good day trip for skiers who live there. 

Liberty has a vertical drop of over 600 feet and 100 acres of skiable terrain. This isn’t huge, but it’s plenty of room to explore and take advantage of when the snow is good. The resort also offers extensive snowmaking to keep a decent base all season. 

There is a variety of terrain here, making it suitable for skiers of all abilities. Beginners can stick to the greens, while advanced skiers can head to the top and tackle a double black diamond. There is also a full terrain park to practice your freestyle skiing skills. 

You won’t find many lodging options here, but there are plenty of restaurants and shops to keep you busy after you are done skiing. And Liberty Mountain also has night skiing, which is a lot of fun and can extend your adventure beyond twilight. 

2. Wintergreen

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 15 (Average)
  • Closing Day: March 20 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Long vertical drop, extensive snowmaking, tubing hill

Another solid resort close to DC is Wintergreen. This one is located in Virginia and offers excellent skiing for all ability levels. It has a vertical drop of over 1000 feet, which is one of the longest in the area. 

Wintergreen has a good variety of terrain, making it suitable for skiers of all abilities. There are super-easy greens for complete beginners and more advanced terrain for skiers with experience. The terrain park is also well-maintained and a lot of fun. 

This is another East Coast resort that relies heavily on snowmaking to keep a decent base going all season long. Wintergreen only averages 40 inches of natural snow a year, but this is heavily supplemented with man-made flakes

Wintergreen has a great lesson program with instructors available to teach private and group lessons for all ability levels. There are also many on-slope dining options to keep you fueled up while you are carving up the snow. 

This resort isn’t the closest option to DC, but you can still get to the bottom of the lifts in a few hours’ drive from the city. 

3. Whitetail

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 20 (Average)
  • Closing Day: March 20 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Close proximity to DC, lots of intermediate and advanced terrain

Whitetail is another one of the closest ski resorts to DC, and you can be on the slopes in about an hour and a half drive if the traffic out of the city isn’t too bad. Once you arrive, you’ll have access to a lot of quality terrain and fairly reliable snow conditions. 

This resort is pretty large for East Coast standards and is well known for having some solid blue, black, and double black runs that are great for experienced skiers who live or visit the area. There is also plenty of beginner terrain for people learning how to ski

Whitetail also has a great base area with many convenient amenities right next to the bottom of the lifts. You can set up a ski lesson or rent equipment here, and there is also a food court with plenty of options to keep you fueled up and cozy for a full day on the mountain. 

There is one lodge at the base area for skiers to stay in when they visit. It has a typical ski-lodge vibe, including a large fireplace in the main reception area you can warm up at before you check-in or during your stay. 

Whitetail can get pretty crowded, so you’ll want to arrive early to secure a decent parking spot. And be sure to reserve a room well ahead of time if you’re going to stay at the lodge. 

4. Wisp

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 10 (Average)
  • Closing Day: March 25 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Large skiable area, ski-in/ski-out lodging

Wisp is the largest ski resort near DC, and it offers 172 acres of skiable terrain. The resort is about a 3-hour drive from the city, and while that’s not the shortest, it’s still doable for a day trip if you are ambitious. 

But Wisp makes for a great weekend getaway or ski trip destination because of the many amenities it offers. There are many rental houses that offer ski-in/ski-out convenience, which is always nice when you want to get as many runs in as possible. 

Another reason why Wisp makes the list is that the resort will usually have better ski conditions than other ones nearby. If you are a snow snob or used to skiing out west, this is excellent news, especially if you are searching for fresh snow. 

There is a full-service lodge and hotel right off the mountain, so you won’t have to go far once you get here. It has comfortable rooms that are a great option for families looking to stay together. 

Wisp doesn’t offer a ton of technical terrain, so experienced skiers may be left wanting more. But any day in the snow is better than staying in the city!

5. Blue Knob

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 20 (Average)
  • Closing Day: March 20 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Technical terrain, the highest ski resort in PA

If you are an experienced skier looking for more challenging and technical terrain near DC, check out Blue Knob. This is the highest ski resort in Pennsylvania and is about a 3-hour drive from the city. 

Blue Knob is relatively small in skiable acreage terms, but the long lifts give you access to a decent amount of terrain. There are beginner runs up top near the Summit Lodge but plenty of blues, blacks, and double blacks to explore as well. 

If you want to grab a quick bite to eat on the mountain, there is a BBQ hut midway down the hill that serves up some delicious comfort food that is sure to keep you fueled up and ready for action all day long. 

Blue Knob also offers a ski school, so you can take lessons to improve your skills if those technical runs are still out of reach. There aren’t many other amenities or accommodations here, which is good to know before planning a trip. 

Additional Tips for Skiing Near DC

Traffic will be a constant concern for skiers living in the DC area. If you want to beat the crowds and avoid being stuck in traffic rather than on the ski slopes, leave as early in the morning as you can or consider planning a multi-day trip. 

And even though most of the resorts mentioned here do a good job of making their own snow, you always want to keep an eye out for obstacles that could damage your skis or cause you to fall. Ski within control and always remain aware of your surroundings.

Final Thoughts

Most people don’t consider DC a ski town, but there are many ski resorts within a few hours’ drive from the city. If you want to get out of the rat race and explore the mountains in the area, all of the resorts here are worth checking out.

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