- Overall Rating 4
- Family Friendly 4
- All-Mtn. Terrain 3
- Terrain Park 3
- Nightlife 2
Pros: Great views from the top of the mountain. Mostly friendly staff.
Cons: Limited terrain choices.
Recommended For: Singles, Family Friendly, Empty Nesters
I spent Friday night 1/3/14 and Saturday morning 1/4/14 skiing Massanutten. My overall experience was good. This is not the most challenging mountain around, but it fit my ski level just fine. I'm a reasonably competent intermediate level skier and was able to ski the whole mountain without falling the two days I was there. If you go to the top of the mountain the view is spectacular and while the two slopes leading there are black diamonds, they are not that much more challenging than the blue intermediate slopes and are generally less crowded. If you are a beginner to lower intermediate, I wouldn't recommend them, but if you are a competent intermediate or better then they are worth a try.
The vertical drop is around 1100' which is decent for the Mid-Atlantic but for the hardcore advanced skier, this does not compare to the West or even the Northeast. But if you just want to slip in a day of skiing and are in the nearby area, this mountain is worth a look.
My primary complaint (which probably couldn't be helped) is that they did, while I was there, do a lot of snowmaking during the week and even on the weekend, and I found myself covered with snow from riding some of the lifts, but especially on Friday night as they prepared for the weekend. But IMO they need to make snow when they can, as this is Virginia and not a particularly snowy area, so I could live with it. Snow brushes off easily, but you might want to wear a pair of goggles if you wear glasses, as I do. There were a few icy patches here and there, but it wasn't bad. And, as I mentioned before, this isn't the West. I am originally from California and have skied mostly in California and some in Colorado and Maine, so I have some experience with other conditions. I currently ski a few times a year, mostly in PA, but this mountain compares favorably to some of the PA mountains. Better views, for sure. But it is about a 41/2 to 5 hour drive for me, so I don't go here that often. Most PA mountains are closer.
On the plus side I found the lodge staff, including the waitresses, the food staff and the ski shop staff that I dealt with to be friendly and in some cases very helpful, which I really appreciated. And ditto to the ski instructors (I took a beginning of the season brush up lesson which I do every year and highly recommend to get the kinks out). Anyway, kudos to the resort staff and whoever hired them. (Management, please keep this a focus as good customer service is IMO one of the main draws when people go to a resort. It is certainly for me. And please reward them, as they deserve it.) And the food at the lodge, while a little expensive, was moderately priced compared to some other resorts that I have been to.
So my overall experience was quite positive. I usually stop off at Massanutten once a year on my way back from visiting my brother who lives near Roanoke,(I currently live on the Eastern Shore of MD - the biggest hills there are highway overpasses!) and as my experience has been good every time I have visited Massanutten, I plan to return next year if I get in the area.
So to recap, the great view from the top of the mountain, the relatively short lift lines that I encountered on the intermediate/advanced slopes, the friendly lodge staff et al, and the somewhat reasonable lift ticket prices (skiing, in general, is not inexpensive and Massanutten does offer 4 hour flex and night skiing lift tickets) made this an enjoyable experience. Also lodging in nearby Harrisonburg is decently priced. I'm not sure about the Massanutten resort lodging, as,being on a budget, I haven't tried it, but I think the resort management is decent from my own overall experience. And there is an indoor waterpark and other things to do including live music and dancing at the lodge at least some nights. I think especially for families, but also for others, this is a good destination resort. If you are a hard core skier wanting lots of terrain variety, you may be disappointed, but overall I found Massanutten to be a good place to spend a day or two skiing. I liked the overall atmosphere of the place.