High Speed Lifts, Great Snowmaking
Very Crowded, Unvaried Terrain
This is an assessment of Wintergreen that caters more to the advanced skier. I went to Wintergreen for the first time Saturday, Feb. 21st, a week after the Mid-Atlantic region saw a huge thaw. The week leading up to was cold and the northern areas saw about 4 days of good snow. But much was lost before this happened. As with most Mid-Atlantic resorts, icy hard-pack conditions exist. They are just a fact of life in the East so I'm not going to say that resort is bad just because the conditions are not light fluffy powder because that just doesn't happen much here. Now this resort is located pretty far South of most of the Mid-Atlantic ski-able area. That means that they generally get less snow than most places in WV or PA.
I wasn't really expecting them to have a lot after the thaw. But I was shocked to see that they had every trail open. And not only open, but they all had plenty of snow. And if you get there early enough, the snow is actually quite nice and soft. They have 100% snowmaking ability and they do a great job with it. As normal, around early afternoon, some of the soft stuff in the middle of the runs is displaced and the ice shows through. But the edges were really soft for most of the day. As for the steeps, they do have some good steep stuff, but I wish they wouldn't groom ALL of it. I always appreciate the bumps, but there was only a single small segment of bumps on Upper Wild Turkey, which did get very icy by 2pm. So as an advanced skier, if there isn't variable terrain and there aren't any bumps, it does get a little boring after about half a day. But I would argue that this place is just as variable as any that I've seen in the region. And the best thing is that everything was open. So, again, if you're looking for fluffy stuff and things to wreck your knees on, this probably isn't the place you're looking to go. But if you're looking for consistently good East coast conditions, this place will do the trick. I didn't ski much down the blues, I pretty much stayed away from the HUGE crowds in the middle of the mountain and to the left. The lift lines there are just too long to enjoy a good Saturday.
This is a huge benefit to advanced skiers who are looking to get a lot of runs in. Wintergreen operates two 6-person high speed lifts. One is dedicated to the advanced-only side of the mountain. I really really appreciated this. You basically don't have to wait in line or get hung up behind beginners. And the chair is really fast. I only skied half a day there and I put in a ton of runs. All this on a Saturday too, the busiest of any resort. I skied over to the other express lift only once to see the terrain over there but that lift was a 15 minute wait to get to chair. So I didn't waste any more time over there. My argument is that if you're already sacrificing conditions and terrain to ski in the Mid-Atlantic, the one thing that a resort can do really well is get you back to the top as fast as possible. Wintergreen is all about this! I'm sure I would have been very frustrated with this place were it not for the high speed lifts. Also for those of you who are into the terrain park, they do have one. It's not the best but I've seen worse. If you like rails, they don't have much for you. If you prefer the big jumps, like me, they do have plenty of those. But you will have to be willing to ride the part of the mountain that has all the beginners and crowds.
I didn't stay the night there but it is very obvious when you drive in that this place is like resort heaven. They have a spectacular view from the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And loads and loads of condo/resort property. I didn't see much indication of a town center or restaurants but the property looked great. If you're looking for a family getaway, this would be a great pick!
Yea, I think I'll go there again. I'll probably head back there maybe once or twice next year for a half-day.