Moving back to the east coast wasn’t an easy decision for us. Leaving friends behind was naturally a factor, but really, it was the beautiful scenery and mountains we would miss most of all. As we headed into winter in Maryland, my family was hesitant to hit the nearby slopes at Massanutten Resort in Virginia.
How could it ever compare to the mountains of Whistler, BC or even the nearby Cascades just outside of Seattle. We would have to dive in at some point. Friends told us Massanutten Resort in the Shenandoah Valley would be the easiest spot to dip our toes into the east coast skiing scene.
They weren’t wrong.
Table of Contents
Massanutten Resort Vibe
At 1750-feet base elevation (2925-feet peak elevation), Massanutten Resort is definitely an easy mountain to tackle. Their ski school makes the slopes accessible for young and old to pick up a new sport too.
In fact, Massanutten reminded us a lot of The Summit at Snoqualmie, a ski area about 45 minutes outside of Seattle.
The Summit was definitely a locals mountain and so was Massanutten. We saw more than one D.C. church group getting in line for the lifts. People were day tripping to the resort or spending a week or a weekend to get their snow fix.
Learn more about all of the Ski Resorts in Virginia.
Weekend Ski Trips
The only problem with local mountains on the weekend is that the lines can get extremely long.
The green runs could take you less than 5 minutes to swoosh down if you are moderately good at skiing or snowboarding. You may have to stand in line for at least 20 minutes to get back on the lift though.
You need to ride two gondolas to get to the top of the blue and black runs. This could take you an additional 20 minutes to do thanks to the lines.
How to avoid long lift lines
Massanutten Resort is a small mountain, but we knew that going in. One way we found to combat the lines was to get to the lifts first thing in the morning. Alternately, we could enjoy a little night skiing.
By then, the daytrippers are gone.
Keep an eye on weather and snow conditions if you ski at night though. That fluffy powder you experienced during the day can turn to ice, just like on any other mountain in winter.
Ask the guys at the sales desk or the rental office how it’s looking. They always know how the snow is at any given moment.
Massanutten may draw in the crowds thanks to its easily accessible snow from Washington, D.C., but there is much more to this four-season resort destination than just the ski hills.
Condo Options at Massanutten Resort
One-and two-bedroom condos are the easiest lodging option at Massanutten Resort if you are bringing the family along. You get a full kitchen, bathroom(s) and a living room to stretch out in after the kids go to bed.
Our two-bedroom condo (Unit 83U) boasted one room with two twin beds that was perfect for our boys. The second bedroom had a king bed for my husband and I plus an en suite bathroom.
Although we were excited to have a kitchen for our one night stay so the boys could have breakfast when they woke up at the crack of dawn, it was the giant Jacuzzi bathtub that won the family over.
We couldn’t get to the pool our first night, but that was OK. I simply filled up the tub and let the boys dive in with their goggles on. My husband tucked our exhausted boys into bed, before snuggling up with me with some popcorn and a movie in front of the fire in the living room.
We were comfy, warm and ready to collapse after a day on the mountain.
Check for the best rates and availability at Massanutten Resort!
Hotel Accommodations at Massanutten Resort
The Massanutten Resort Hotels offered hotel-room style accommodations that can fit a couple or small family. Rooms options include one-king bed with a sleeper sofa or two-queen beds.
All rooms coffee makers, refrigerators, color TV, cable, telephone, balcony and sitting area. If you need a microwave, it is available in the shared “snack room” in the building.
Condo and hotel accommodations can be booked HERE.
Massanutten Resort Dining
Not going to lie, great dining is a bit sparse at the resort. You’ll find good burgers at the Basecamp, along with soups, salads, flat breads, nachos and giant pretzels.
The Campfire Grill is a great spot for indoor and outdoor dining. It offers hand-crafted pizza, camp stove chili, chicken dumplings, steakhouse burgers, skillets and even s’mores to bring that campfire experience at the resort. While dinner has the most options, they also serve breakfast and lunch.
The Virginia BBQ and Pizzeria offers pizza, sandwiches, fried pickles and of course, house-smoked chicken, pulled pork, ribs and all of your favoritesides.
The Snack Shack at Massanutten WaterPark® offered your basic waterpark food, hamburgers, personal pizzas, desserts, and deli sandwiches.
The Massanutten Resort Slopes
Having only skied and snowboarded on the west coast, we really didn’t know what to expect at a mountain in Virginia. We knew that Massanutten would be smaller than say, Keystone, CO, but we didn’t really mind.
We wanted to get our oldest son back on the slopes so he wouldn’t forget all he had learned over the past 3 years he had been skiing in Seattle. My husband just wanted to get on his board again.
Although the base felt like it might be nothing but ice, my husband was able to do two great runs down the mountain in perfect powder. He was pleasantly surprised by the experience.
The only problem was that it took him about 5 minutes to shred down the mountain, but then he had to wait in line for 20 minutes just to get back on the lift to do another run.
Night skiing (or first thing in the morning) is a great option if you want to avoid the crowds, but you need to be mindful of the ice that can develop as the sun goes down and the slopes get slicker. These are not conditions for newbies.
Skiing in PA? Check out Liberty Mountain Resort
Massanutten Resort Ski lessons
We arrived in the afternoon. Unfortunately, we were not able to get Dek, my oldest, into ski school. This is when planning is important. You have to book weekend ski school and lessons ahead of time or they will sell out.
Thankfully, I was able to sign my son up for a one-hour private lesson. His instructor Lauren was phenomenal. She knew just how to handle a curious and chatty 5-year-old boy.
Dek had never been on a ski lift before, but she deemed him ready after a few practice runs in the lesson area, which was packed with students, and decided to bring him up.
He loved it! His confidence soared. She gave me excellent feedback when we picked Dek up after an hour and told me to remind him to keep his weight balanced.
I told her my husband and I were snowboarders, so she walked me through how I could help him practice on the slopes when he wasn’t in lessons. If you are wavering on lessons for your kids, just do it. You will never regret that specialized attention and training your kids will receive.
Massanutten Indoor & Outdoor Waterparks
If you asked my boys, what their favorite part of the weekend was they would unanimously say the waterpark. They loved the acres of mountain fun we experienced in the snow, but let’s be real; this waterpark has every kid begging to go back.
My youngest son Ty (who was a toddler at the time) loved swimming in the pool, floating down the lazy river with me, warming up in the hot tub, and crawling around the baby pool (he can walk just fine, but he chose to crab walk his way through the foot of water).
He was too small to go down the big waterslides in the play structure by himself. He was just fine with that though. As long as he could swim around with me he was happy.
My oldest son Dek declared that the waterslides both inside the play structure (there were three- green, blue and orange) and the tube runs that he could ride in tandem with his dad and I, were the coolest thing in the entire universe.
He went on the smaller waterslides all by himself. Then he went with his dad or I going before him so we could help him out of the slide shoot. Dek probably could have gotten out on his own just fine, but this sped things up so we could go again.
We didn’t let Dek do the really big water slides that he would have to ride alone. His dad went down all of them (even the one in the dark!) and declared them spectacular.
NOTE: The waterpark has free life vests for families to borrow and there were plenty to go around. Children cannot wear life vests on the waterslides, but they can and should wear them in the pools, especially if you won’t be in arms reach of them and they are not strong swimmers.
The Spa at Massanutten Resort
The highlight of my trip to Massanutten Resort was the almost three hours I spent in the spa. I decided to indulge in a salt scrub and deep tissue massage with 15 minutes extra hand and feet work built into my experience. It was decadent. Luke, my massage therapist, was friendly and professional.
Warning: No Shuttle System
The greatest hindrance to our trip was the fact that the resort doesn’t have a shuttle service. Families are forced to either bring two cars or do everything together all of the time. When I had a 5:45pm spa service, this meant my husband had to be back at the condo with the kids instead of enjoying the slopes for a little longer.
This also meant we had to get take out from the pizza place so he could feed the kids before bed since I would be home after bedtime from the spa.
If we had been traveling with more family or a few friends this wouldn’t have been an issue, but as a family traveling as a single unit, it was inconvenient.
Massanutten Family Adventure Park
Massanutten has one of the best snow tubing runs in the state. Sadly, we were not able to try it out. I bought tickets the day before (it books up fast, so you want to buy tickets as soon as possible), but when we arrived the tube runs were shut down due to ice. This made the tube runs much too slick and way too dangerous.
I was very happy to see that Massanutten put safety first. They also refunded us our money since we would not be able to pop by later in the day to give it a go. However, Massanutten does have summer tubing, which we will definitely have to go back to check out. I’ve never heard of summer tubing, so it will be an experience for sure.
Massanutten Family Adventure Park, where the snowtubing takes place, also has zip lining, a Canopy Tour, Ridge Rappel and Climbing Excursions, Kids’ Playland, a climbing wall and the Kids’ Adventure course. Basically, if you are an adrenaline junkie this is the part of the resort made for you.
Ice Skating at Massanutten Resort
While there are a lot of things to do at Massanutten with kids, ice skating is definitely something you will want to squeeze in during your visit.
Grab tickets ahead of time to make sure you have a time slot.
You can also book Parent & Tot Learn to Skate lessons and private ice skating lessons and kid’s ice skating clinic. Skate rentals are available for an additional fee. College kids get 50% off on Thursdays.
Our first foray into east coast skiing was a success. The kids got to play in the snow together. My husband had a chance to ride his board.
Best of all, we had fun together as a family… and I got a little quiet time in the spa. Bliss. Heavenly bliss.
- Custom Log Cabin – 1 Mi to Massanutten Resort
- Woodstone Luxury at Massanutten
- Tree House
- Massanutten Woodstone Meadows
- Mountain Haven
- Peaceful Oak Cottage
- Woodstone at Massanutten 2BR Suite