McGAHEYSVILLE, Va. — A late season winter storm prompted a fairly spontaneous trip to Central Virginia’s Massanutten Resort. Don’t hate winter, use it!
I left Alexandria before 7:30. Three hours later I picked up rentals. I picked up some breakfast in Woodstock.
Late season rates, mid-season conditions
Starting at about 11 a.m., I headed up the Easy Rider nee Lift 3. I took a few runs down ●Easy Street, formerly known as Geronimo (insert Don & Mike being canceled joke). Also, ●Nutten To It over to ■Pacesetter‘s bottom.
Feeling stretched out it was up the Ridge Triple (Lift 5) and over to ■Showtime and ■Mass Transit. Showtime still had some hardpack; Mass Transit was icier. After several rides, I wondered if the Peak Quad (Lift 6) runs had better snow – they did.
♦Diamond Jim and ♦Paradice were a little softer, but not slushy. Both of these were more consistent as customary, not too busy. The is one of favorite views in the Mid-Atlantic.
Paradice is a little bit more of a cruiser than DJ; I probably skied that more. There was a manageable hard patch in the middle of the run. I had plenty of room most of the time and ran laps throughout the day. The breakdown was probably 2/3s Paradice 1/3 DJ. I took the less crowded run most of the time. I spent over 2 hours taking laps on these two slopes.
As my lift ticket expiration neared, I switched back over to Showtime to squeeze in a few quick runs. The slope was showing the effects of a lot of traffic and direct sun. I even caught an edge near the top to my surprise. The RFID card set off a louder alert at the gate as if to say, “GAME OVER.” My day officially concluded on ●Southern Comfort. I took off my skis, headed up to my car parked nearby, broke out a tailgate chair and exchanged my boots for sneakers.
At the suggestion of dcski.com forum, I rented skis at Powder Shack in McGaheysville along US 33. Including $5 for insurance, the skis came out to $26. One of the employees bragged that they had the cheapest rentals in Virginia; story checks out. That were perfectly cromulent for a half-day at Massanutten. The service was good; one staffer suggested they warm up my boots which I accepted. I’d rent from Powder Shack again.
There are a few ways to get to Massanutten – Google Maps suggests I-66 west to US 340 south, but I went the longer way taking I-66 west all the way to I-81 south and then down to US 33 east at Harrisonburg.
Après-ski la mode
Across the parking lot from Powder Shack is Kline’s Dairy Bar. It’s a local chain. I indulged in two-scoops of custard-style vanilla ice cream. It tasted like more. I could almost align the peak of my dessert with that of Massanutten…
Rating and final thoughts
Massanutten was just about ideal for a late-season, half-day trip. It wasn’t crowded and the snow was good. It was a bluebird day.
This was my second trip to the Nut, the first being in 2014. That was right after the pitchers & catchers day storm and I had a very good friend with me. That was one of my favorite days ever on the slopes.
My most recent trip was solo and only half a day. My skills have improved in the last 8 years. In short, Massanutten isn’t as challenging as last time. The short runs and moderate lift speeds were more perceptible this time.
The good news is Massanutten is expanding. Several new trails are being built out for the 2023-2024 season. Several of them after off the Peak Quad. That’s going to be replaced by a high-speed lift too. That is going to improve the experience quite a bit. It’ll be possible to ski down from the top to the lodge on black diamond and blue square trails. There won’t be a base to summit lift though. That’s probably the biggest drawback of Massanutten.
I am eager to see the new trails, but I may wait until then to return.
On my standard rating scale of green circle being the lowest and black diamond being the highest, highest, I rate my day at Massanutten as at ■.
Mid-Atlantic Skier Guide
My Mid-Atlantic Commuter Skier Guide is a resource for anyone looking to take a daytrip. I have compiled ski reports over the last decade from resorts throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
Almost time for kayaking
Last weekend notwithstanding, winter is ending soon. The good news is, other activities like bicycling are coming into season. One of my favorites is kayaking.
Visit my extensive guide to D.C. area kayaking and learn where you can rent a kayak near you. Kayaks can be rented on the Potomac, Anacostia, Occoquan and Patuxent rivers. Area lakes also have kayak rentals.