[R407R, Snowshoe Mountain] in West Virginia combines massive snowmaking with smart marketing and proximity to skiers and riders.

Snowshoe was one of the first resorts to turn on its snowmaking equipment this season, beginning efforts Oct. 27, one of the earliest start dates for snowmaking in the Southeast over the past several years.

An early season winter storm then blanketed the Pocahontas County resort in nearly a foot of natural snow and, while temps warmed over the following weeks, the region is headed back to seasonal cold.

Snowshoe operators suggest the area's 60 slopes and 244 acres of skiable terrain offer skiers and riders a big mountain experience without the hassles and high costs of airline travel.

The resort has announced three Smart Ski Escape Packages, with budget-conscious travelers in mind, offering winter enthusiasts great deals including a relaxed 72-hour cancellation policy and free lift tickets for juniors. Prices on three-day  packages start at $69 per person per night.

Snowshoe annually receives 180 inches of natural snow and an average of 130 days of skiing and riding a season.

On top of natural snow, Snowshoe has 100 percent snowmaking coverage in Snowshoe Basin, Western Territory, and Silver Creek areas, thanks to more than 400 snow guns, including 15 tower-mounted, fully automated, Techno Alpine guns added this season.

More than 40 miles of pipeline provide water and air to every slope. Snowshoe Mountain recycles water from the resort's 40 acre, 101 million gallon Shavers Lake to produce snow.