Snowshoe Mountain is a ski resort in West Virginia. Snowshoe Mountain bills itself as an all-year destination, with skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and golf, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities the rest of the year.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Cheat Mountain was logged from 1901 to 1960, transporting timber and men on the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River and on steam locomotives. The nearby company town of Cass housed workers in dozens of nearly-identical houses. After the mill closed in 1960, the area was somewhat forgotten, and later re-discovered by Thomas "Doc" Brigham (who had previously opened Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain in Boone, North Carolina) as a site for a new ski resort, with Snowshoe opening in 1974 and Silver Creek (originally a separate resort) in 1983. The area's history of logging is preserved in the names of many of the ski trails and lifts. In the 1990s and 2000s Snowshoe merged with Silver Creek to form one large resort, and constructed the Village to provide on-mountain lodging, food, and shopping.
Snowshoe is accessible by car from WV-66, which is itself accessible from US-219 or WV-92. From there, the drive to the top of the mountain is 6 miles, and takes about 15 minutes (maybe a little more if there's a lot of snow). Roads are generally plowed and reasonably well-traveled, and the mountain is drivable in an ordinary passenger car — as long as you prepare your car for winter driving and are comfortable driving on snowy roads, 4-wheel-drive won't be required (but would certainly be nice).
If you're staying at Snowshoe Mountain, check in to your lodging before driving up the mountain. Check in for all Snowshoe Mountain rentals is at the Inn at Snowshoe at the bottom of the mountain. You can pick up your lift passes at the same time if you preordered them.
Each lodging complex has its own designated parking. General parking is free at Top of the World, or $5-25/day at Silver Creek.
Amtrak at one point offered a "Ski Train" program that combined a train ticket from Washington, D.C., and a shuttle ride; it's not clear if this program still runs, but the train certainly does. The Amtrak Cardinal (connecting eastward to Charlottesville and Washington, and westward to Charleston all the way to Chicago) stops at White Sulphur Springs Station (WSS) near Lewisburg 3 times/week. From there you can rent a car or arrange a ride the remaining 70 miles to Snowshoe.
During summer and fall, you can ride the Cass Scenic Railroad (see § See and Do below) from Elkins into Cass, which is 10 miles (16 km) away from Snowshoe. However, the day-long trip is meant for sightseeing, not travel; a one-way is available, but you would then have to find another way out of town.
Snowshoe is not close to any major airports. The closest commercial airports are Lewisburg (LWB IATA, 1½ hours' drive, service on United to Chicago and Washington) and Clarksburg (CKB IATA, 2½ hours' drive, service on United to Chicago and Washington, on Allegiant to Orlando and seasonal to Myrtle Beach). The closest larger airports are Charleston (CRW IATA) and Roanoke (ROA IATA), both about 3 hours' drive away, both with service from American, Delta, and United.
Options for general aviation aren't any better. The closest public airfields include Elkins-Randolph County Airport (EKN IATA, 29 nm N, 1 hour's drive), Ingalls Field Airport (HSP IATA, 29 nm S, 2 hours' drive), Braxton County Airport (FAA LID: 48I, 35 nm NW, 2 hours' drive), and the aforementioned Lewisburg's Greenbriar Valley Airport (LWB IATA, 38 nm SW, 1½ hours' drive).
Lift tickets at Snowshoe are priced by demand. The price goes up as more tickets are sold for a given day, or the closer it is to the day of the ticket.
This means the best way to buy is on their website, as soon as you decide on your travel dates.
All lift tickets are valid for all 3 slopes (Snowshoe Basin, Silver Creek, and Western Territory) for the entire day (including night skiing at Silver Creek).
At the door, single day lift tickets (2015-2016 prices) are: weekends F-Su and holidays adult $89/day, student 13-17 $78, children 7-12 $74, midweek $79/$70/$66, value season (opening–Dec 17, Mar 13–closing) $59/$52/$49; children 6 and under and seniors 75 and over are always $10; military discount weekend 20%, midweek 40%. A 3-day ticket saves 20%. Proof of age is required for all non-adult tickets, including child tickets.
A season pass is available. Snowshoe Mountain is also part of the Ikon Pass, a multi-resort pass valid at more than two dozen U.S. ski destinations.
Summer activities passes, which includes climbing, lake activities, and lifts are: free for anyone lodging with Snowshow and for children 6 and under; 1-day $25, family (2 adults 2 children) $59 (extra family members $10/each), à-la-carte activities $10/each.
Bike park tickets (2014 prices) are: 1-day $40, 2-day $75, 3-day $99; Basin only (available M-W June 30–Aug 27) $25.
For golfing, greens fees (2014 prices) are listed online in a chart. To summarize: 18 holes $40-72, replay $30; 9 holes $29-45, replay $18.87. Prices after noon can be substantially cheaper ($40 versus $72 during the high season).
The Mountain Adventure Pass for $249/person (2014 price) gives you 3 days unlimited use of all summer activities, plus 1 day of "Bike Park 101" class or 1-day or bike rental.
Snowshoe Mountain is oriented north-to-south, but displayed left-to-right or right-to-left on maps depending on which side of the mountain is being shown. Snowshoe Drive, the main road that takes you up the mountain, runs the length of the resort, and all parking lots are accessible from it.
|Silver Creek |
Smaller than the main basin, Silver Creek is the only area open for night skiing, and features several terrain parks. During the day there are 6 lifts and 18 trails; at night this is reduced to 3 lifts and 12 trails.
|Snowshoe Basin |
The main ski area, with 6 lifts and 38 trails ranging from bunny slopes to black diamond. At the top of the mountain, this is divided into the Village, where most of the restaurants and shops are located, and Powderidge, a separate concentration of lodgings closer to the Powderidge lift.
|Western Territory |
Located on the opposite face of the mountain, Western Territory comprises just two main trails, all black diamond or double black diamond.
|Top of the World |
Although connected to Snowshoe Basin by 2 trails, its location further up the mountain means getting to/from the Village takes longer.
The easiest way to get around is walking. The Village is a shopping and dining area in the center of the resort, set up as a pedestrian walkway; you can easily walk from one end of it to the other in a minute or two. Walking to the Village from most of the lodgings takes just 5-10 minutes.
There are also free shuttle buses that run up and down Snowshoe Drive. They run on about a 20-minute loop. There are a few different routes (not all buses go to Silver Creek, for example, since it's further out of the way) so check the sign on the bus to see where it's going next.
See and do
There are events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and competitions. Check the event calendar online.
- 20 Below Teen Center (Village, Shavers Center). A hangout zone with activities and nightly programming for kids 13-20. Pool tables, video café, music, snacks, Wi-Fi, and charging stations.
- The Big Top. Indoor playground with inflatable castles, climbing wall, bungee trampoline, and more.
- Kids Night Out. For 5-12 year olds. Activities in The Big Top, pizza party, arts and crafts. Reservations required 24 hours in advance.
- Comedy Cellar (Village, Mountain Lodge).
- The Spa at Snowshoe.
- 1 Cass Scenic Railroad, 242 Main St, Cass. End of May to end of October. What was built as a railroad for transporting lumber is now a scenic ride through the mountains. Cars are open-air, so dress appropriately for the summer or fall weather. Available trips are a 2-hour round trip to Whittaker Station, a 5-hour round trip to Bald Knob (the third highest point in the state), and an overnight round trip to Elkins; another trip to the ghost town of Spruce no longer runs. Adult prices: Whittaker $41, Bald Knob $61, Elkins $151.
- 1 Green Bank Observatory, 155 Observatory Rd, Green Bank (From the main entrance to Snowshoe Dr, turn left to drive east on WV-66 15.3 miles, or from the back entrance 11 miles. Turn left on WV-28/WV-92 and drive 3 miles. The observatory is on the left.), ☏ (visitors), (reception). Summer 8:30AM-7PM (Memorial Day–Labor Day daily, Labor Day-October Th-M), tours every hour 9AM-6PM; winter Th-M 10AM-6PM, tours at 11AM, 1PM, 3PM. These radio astronomy telescopes are one of the main reasons the National Radio Quiet Zone was created and continues to be enforced. The largest is the 100-meter (328 ft) Green Bank Telescope, which is so sensitive that it can detect the electromagnetic equivalent of a single snowflake hitting the ground. Digital cameras and cell phones are not allowed near the telescopes, but film cameras are permitted anywhere. (The gift shop sells disposable film cameras.) It used to be part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, but in October 2016 the site was defunded by the National Science Foundation. It continues to operate under a new private organization. Museum: free. Tours: adults $6, seniors $5, children 10 and under free. Special tours (reservations required): $5-40/person.
Equipment rental and purchase
Snowshoe Mountain has 3 rental locations for basic equipment, and 1 for pro equipment. They do not rent jackets or pants, for hygienic reasons.
- When purchased in advance: basic package adult $40/day, children 12 and under $30 plus free helmet; value season $35/$25. Unclear whether you can pick up rentals the night before.
- Expedition Rentals (Village), ☏ .
- Top of the World Rentals (Top of the World), ☏ .
- Silver Creek Rentals (Silver Creek), ☏ .
- High performance package $65/day, without boots $55/day. Boots alone $20/day. Optional $10/day insurance.
- Mountain Adventure Center (Village), ☏ . Also has items for purchase.
Other rental shops not affiliated with Snowshoe Mountain include:
- Elk River. 10% off for reserving online.
- Elk River at Soaring Eagle Lodge (Top of the World), ☏ . 8AM-10PM, busy days until midnight. Basic package adult $30-33/weekday, $34-37/weekend, children $26-27/$30. Pro package $59/day, ski-/board-only $49/day. Helmet $7/day.
- 1 Elk River in the Valley, 50 Cass Rd, Slatyfork (corner of US-219 & WV-66), ☏ . Basic package adult $27-28/weekday, $30-32/weekend, children $22-25/$26-29. Pro board-only $45/day. Helmet $7/day.
- 2 Route 66 Snowboard & Ski Shop, 598 Cass Rd, Slatyfork (WV-66, off the mountain, across from Inn at Snowshoe), ☏ . Basic package adult $25-30/weekday, $33-34/weekend, children $17-25/$26-30. Bib $6/day, helmet $6.
- Snow Creek Mountain Sports. Basic package adult $30/weekday, $32/weekend, children 12 and under $25/$27. Sport/pro packages $34-40/weekday, $36-42/weekend. Bib $10/day, jacket $15, helmet $8. 10% off for reserving 24 hours in advanced. Free pickup the evening before your rental period begins. 25% discount for using your own boots.
A few ATMs are available on the mountain:
- Citizens Bank of WV ATM (Village, Shaver's Center).
- Citizens Bank of WV ATM (Village, next to Mountain Adventure Center).
- ATM (Village, Shavers Centre). Unverified.
Off the mountain, you can get full-service banking at 5 Citizens Bank of WV, 1 Citizens Plaza, PO Box 129, Slatyfork (WV-66, across from the Exxon gas station), ☏ . M-Th 9AM-3PM, F 9AM-5PM; drive-thru M-Th 9AM-4PM, F 9AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-noon.
Plan to purchase groceries and liquor elsewhere to bring with you. However, if your supplies run short, you can find some essentials at a price:
- 6 Wildcat Provisions (between Village and Top of the World, next to St. Bernard Chapel), ☏ . Groceries and other essential items (such as over-the-counter drugs, cleaning supplies, etc.), plus other supplies like movie rentals.
- 7 Par Mar Exxon, 1 Big Spring Plaza, Slatyfork (WV-66 next to US-219/WV-55), ☏ . Daily 5AM-10PM. Gas station convenience store.
- Cass Company Store, WV-66, Cass (WV-66, 6 miles east from the back entrance to Snowshoe Dr), ☏ . (Unverified) Once the only store that timber loggers paid in company scrip could shop at, today the Company Store sells mainly tourist merchandise, including some locally homemade food stuffs. It also serves as a small general store.
- 4848' (Village). Outer wear, casual wear, and accessories
- Full Tilt (Village). Outer wear, casual wear, and accessories
- Mountain Kids (Village). Outer wear, casual wear, and accessories
- Pocahontas Supply Company (Village). Clothing, outerwear, footwear, accessories, and supplies
- The Tool Shed (Top of the World). Ski and snowboard needs: outerwear, accessories, helmets, and hard goods.
- Signatures of Snowshoe (Village). Gifts and souvenirs
- WV Market (Village). Artisan products made in West Virginia, including pottery, glassware, jewelry, and gourmet foods.
Eat and drink
The lunch rush is roughly noon-1:30PM, and the dinner rush more spread out around 5PM (lifts stop running at 4:30PM). During these times, restaurants will be very crowded.
- Appalachia Kitchen (Corduroy Inn, across the street from Western Territory), ☏ . F-Su 5-9PM. Upscale American. Mains $24-32.
- [dead link] AK Market (Corduroy Inn, across the street from Western Territory), ☏ . Breakfast sandwiches; lunch soups and sandwiches.
- 1 Arbuckles Cabin (bottom of Western Territory), ☏ .
- Basin Supper Club (Village, Mountain Lodge), ☏ . Family style food.
- 2 Black Run Sugar Shack (bottom of Silver Creek slopes near Mountaineer and Cascade lifts), ☏ . Barbecue sandwiches and ribs
- 3 The Boathouse (bottom of Snowshoe Basin near Ballhooter lift), ☏ .
- The Connection Nightclub, ☏ .
- 4 Cheat Mountain Pizza (Village), ☏ . -9PM. Very good pizzas, and cheap beers to match. Take-out orders accepted. 16" cheese pizza $21 + $3/topping; 16" signature pizza $26; draft beer $3.50/glass, $12/pitcher.
- 5 [dead link] Foxfire Grille (Village), ☏ . 11AM-10PM, later on weekends; happy hour 4:30-6:30PM. Fairly good burgers and sandwiches. Barbecue is pretty good as well, and is served with multiple styles of sauce at the table. Live music sometimes.
- Hoot's Bar & Grill (Top of the World), ☏ . Food by day, DJs by night.
- 6 The Junction Restaurant & Saloon (Village), ☏ . Daily.
- The Locker Room Sports Bar (Silver Creek), ☏ . M-F 5-11PM, Sa Su noon-11PM. Bar food. Lots of TVs, billiards, foosball. Sometimes live music or karaoke.
- Moonshine (Village, Shavers Center), ☏ .
- 7 Old Spruce Tavern (Village), ☏ . 11AM-close; happy hour starts daily 4:30PM. Excellent sandwiches and salads, and no fried foods; everything is served with daily sides such as pasta salad. Great selection of craft beers in bottle, and a few local beers on tap. Smaller than most of the other restaurants, with just a few tables and a bar. Seating is self-serve, so if there isn't any available when you arrive, it's anyone's guess how long you could be waiting before someone leaves to make room. Sandwiches $8.95.
- 8 South Mountain Grille (Top of the World, Soaring Eagle Lodge), ☏ . Dinner W-M 5-10PM; brunch Su 10AM-3PM; Tap Room W-Sa 11AM-6PM.
- Starbucks (Village), ☏ .
- Sunset Cantina (Village), ☏ . Good but overpriced Tex-Mex food and drinks. Sandwiches $11-15; burritos or fajitas $18-24; sangria $29/pitcher.
- Tuque's (Corduroy Inn, across the street from Western Territory, upstairs from Appalachia Kitchen), ☏ . Th-Su 4PM-close. Lunch soups, sandwiches, and poutine, the French-Canadian dish of French fries with brown gravy and cheese curds. Dinner same as Appalachia Kitchen. Live music F Sa 4:30-6:30PM.
- Waffle Cabin. Daily 9AM-4:30PM. Shacks offering Belgian sugar waffles, just big enough for a snack. Stand around and eat them while they're hot and crispy. Even plain they may be the best waffles you've had in a long time, but powdered sugar is free or you can add chocolate syrup if you crave a bit more flavor. (In the summer they offer ice cream waffle sandwiches.) Waffle $4.75, chocolate syrup $1. Hot and cold drinks $1.50-4.50.
Off the mountain
- Brandi's (Inn at Snowshoe), ☏ .
- 11 Elk River Inn & Restaurant, 34037 Seneca Trail, Slatyfork, ☏ , toll-free: . Fine dining made with local produce. Salads and appetizers $7-13, mains $17-32.
- 12 The Fiddlehead, 50 Cass Rd, Slatyfork (corner of US-219 & WV-66), ☏ . W-Sa 4-10PM. A surprisingly good restaurant, good enough to get away with calling itself a "gastropub" despite the rural location. Burgers, excellent hand-cut fries, and artisan pizzas, as well as some good vegetarian options, and a good selection of local beers on tap. Live music some nights. There's also a telescope on the back patio.
- 13 The Last Run Restaurant, 242 Main St, WV-66, Cass (WV-66, 6 miles east from the back entrance to Snowshoe Dr), ☏ . Daily 8AM-8PM. Reportedly good homestyle American meals, including some gluten-free items and farm-to-table foods.
- Route 66 Subs & Pizza Shop, 598 Cass Rd (WV-66, HC 69 Box 24E), ☏ . Pizza, sandwiches, and breakfast all day. Delivery, and carry-out beer. 16-inch specialty pizza $15-19, sandwiches $5-7.
On the mountain
Almost all of the lodgings on the mountain are privately owned and maintained, but rented by the resort. As a result, search and booking are blissfully simple: just use Snowshoe Mountain's website to search for the type and quality of lodging you want. (You can also request a specific unit when you book [probably only by phone], so if you return to Snowshoe and like a unit you stayed at previously, you can stay at the exact same place again if it's available.)
However, because units are maintained by their individual owners, it's difficult to give recommendations, since even adjacent rooms may be of totally different quality. The good news is, it appears that even "Economy" quality lodgings are in excellent condition: good quality furnishing, "full" kitchens that really are full (dishes, pots and pans, and utensils), etc. Higher-ranked units may include niceties such as granite kitchen countertops.
Most lodgings that advertise ski-in ski-out aren't ski-in ski-out. They're still close, but you'll have a few minutes walk. Check the "Policies" at the bottom of each location's webpage. They all start with "Approximate distance to slopes", which varies from "adjacent" (which will only be true for certain units) to "short walk" (it will specify how many yards) to "take the shuttle".
Off the mountain
- 1 Inn at Snowshoe, 10 Snowshoe Dr (adjacent to the entrance to Snowshoe Dr up the mountain), ☏ . Managed and booked through Snowshoe Mountain. Standard hotel rooms and one-bedroom condos. Shuttles take you up and down the mountain.
- 2 Bear Creek Lodge, Route 66, Cass (WV-66, 6.5 miles east from the back entrance to Snowshoe Dr).
- 3 Brazenhead Inn, 29096 Seneca Trail, Mingo (US-219, 7 miles north from WV-66), ☏ . Quaint wooden building with homey entryway and wrap-around patios to enjoy when the weather's suitable. All rooms have queen beds; upstairs rooms add a full bed in a loft reachable by a precariously steep and slippery ladder. Rooms are small, but adequate if all you want is a place to sleep. Meal package available, with dinner W-Su and breakfast and lunch Sa-Su. There's also a bar where you can have a pint with your friends or fellow travelers. Winter $99-119/night, summer $79-99/night.
- 4 Cass Inn, 100 1st Ave, Cass (WV-66, 6 miles east from the back entrance to Snowshoe Dr).
- 5 Elk River Inn & Restaurant, 34037 Seneca Trail, Slatyfork, ☏ , toll-free: .
- 6 Morning Glory Inn, 71 Spring Rd, Slatyfork (US-219, 2 miles southeast from WV-66), ☏ .
- 7 Nakiska Chalet Bed & Breakfast, HC 73, Box 24, Dry Branch Rd, Valley Head, ☏ .
- 8 Sharp's Historical B&B (US-219, 1.5 miles north from WV-66).
Snowshoe is inside the National Radio Quiet Zone, a huge area of land where radio transmissions are strongly restricted. Snowshoe Mountain cooperates closely with the nearby Green Bank Observatory (see § See and Do) to make sure they don't cause any unwanted radio interference.
The result is that cell phone service is extremely limited. As of 2020, AT&T is the only network with coverage on the mountain. (Virtual networks that use AT&T like Cricket also work.) Because they must use low-power, highly-directional antennas, reception is fair in the Village, near Shaver's Lake at the bottom of the slopes, and at the Inn at Snowshoe, but even most of the lodgings have little or no signal.
(If your phone doesn't have service, you might as well turn it off or enable airplane mode. Otherwise it will simply drain its battery searching in vain for coverage that doesn't exist, creating interference for the nearby telescopes at the same time.)
Many modern cell phones can be configured to send and receive calls through Wi-Fi, but this will only help you in lodgings or the Village, not on the slopes; see § By Internet.
Landline phones are available in all lodgings. For local calls, dial 10 digits with the 304 area code. Many lodgings on the mountain now offer free long distance; in lodgings that don't, you need to use a calling card, which you can buy at all front desks, retail stores, Wildcat Provisions, and The Locker Room at Silver Creek.
Walkie-talkies are excellent for keeping in touch with your mates while on the slopes or exploring the Village. To obey the law of the Quiet Zone and the Family Radio Service, if you're using high-power radios (ones which typically claim ranges of 20 miles or more) and don't have a GMRS license, you must set your radios to channels 8-14, or channels 1-7 or 9-22 in "medium power" or "low power" mode. In this mode, walkie-talkies will generally reach from the top of the slopes to the bottom in a straight line, but not much farther if you're horizontally separated; they will also easily reach from one end of the Village to the other end, and as far as some adjacent lodgings.
Most of the lodgings on the mountain offer free Wi-Fi. Whistlepunk also has wired Internet access.
Public Wi-Fi spots:
- The Big Top
- Shavers Center
- 5Bars Connectivity Center (Village, Seneca). 10AM-8PM. Wi-Fi, wired Internet, and decent cell coverage, with desks and chairs so you can get some work done. Printer coming soon (as of 2015).
- 1 St. Bernard Chapel (between Village and Top of the World, next to Wildcat Provisions), ☏ . Catholic masses May-Oct Sa 6:30PM, Nov-Apr Sa 5:30PM; Christmas Eve 9PM; Easter at sunrise. Protestant services Su 10AM (except Apr-May, Oct-Nov); Christmas Eve 5PM.