Plenty of terrain for an East coast resort; family friendly
So-so food options
I took my family to Snowshoe in mid-March, and we had a great time. Snowshoe does not compare to Colorado or Utah, but nothing on the East coast does. Snowshoe had enough to keep me occupied for 3 days, and if: (1) you live within driving distance; (2) you’re looking to take your kids somewhere to help them learn how to ski; and (3) you don’t want to spend a fortune, then look no further than Snowshoe.
The Western Territory runs have 1,500 feet in vertical, are very wide and have great views. Even on Sunday, those runs were never crowded; I skied right onto the lift every time. The 3 black runs on the Soaring Eagle side are also fun—especially Camp 99—although they are shorter than Western Territory and would only be blues out West. I never had any wait for the lift there either. The Ballhooter lift gets a long line after about 10:30 or so, but the line is only unreasonably long if you’re coming in from the Whiffletree side of the lift. If you come in from the Lower Ballhooter side, you typically only wait a minute or so. Silver Creek was never crowded.
As for the snow, on the first day we were there, it was so-so—you could tell it had been warm for a few days. But on St. Patrick’s Day, we got 10 inches of snow, and the rest of the time we were there, conditions were awesome. This mirrored my experiences out West in March.
As for the kids – the ski school area was perfectly fine. Its magic carpet is covered by a large tube, so as to keep the kids out of the wind. Once the kids can move beyond ski school, there are a couple of wide cruising greens on the Powder Ridge side of the mountain that are an ideal place to learn. On the weekdays, those greens really weren’t that crowded, which also helps with teaching kids how to ski.
As for the village – Intrawest has spent a ton of money in the last decade creating a village that is aesthetically pleasing.
The cost/benefit is what sold me on the place, at least at the stage where you’re teaching your kids how to ski. We stayed at Soaring Eagle, which is relatively new (2006), slope-side, and very nice. We got a 3 bedroom, 1,400 sq. ft., top floor condo overlooking the Soaring Eagle lift, at $325/night. Soaring Eagle has a huge hearth room, with a wine bar on weekends, a relatively nice restaurant, and a locker room 100 feet from the lift. The place is very quiet (a plus when you have kids that you are trying to get to sleep). I’ve stayed at comparable places out West that cost $1,000 to $1,400 / night. While ski school does not seem any cheaper at Snowshoe than in Colorado, we saved a fortune on accommodations.
There are things about Snowshoe that some may not like. Choose your restaurants carefully; quite a few of them are not good. Give careful thought to your grocery list ahead of time and pack up your cooler, because the closest grocery store of any size is 40 minutes away (and don’t forget to bring things like whatever spices you want to cook with or necessities for cooking like olive oil). It is in the middle of nowhere and your cell phone will not work (attributes I find to be a great positive, but some might not). The Powder Monkey and Powder Ridge lifts are antiques.
That said, I really like Snowshoe, especially when you factor in the significant savings on accommodations. If you’re not going to be happy unless there’s 2,000 acres of skiable terrain and 3,000 feet of vertical, then you shouldn’t come here. But if you want good skiing at a family-friendly resort that does not break the bank, then Snowshoe is a perfect fit.