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west virginia I matthew graham

Whiteout brings 4 feet of powder to the Canaan Valley

Canaan Valley Resort

New powder means great skiing at Canaan Valley Resort.

It snowed. It snowed and snowed and snowed. In a winter when it was 70 degrees over Christmas and New Year’s Day, I didn’t expect much in the way of great snow. Nonetheless, I journeyed out to West Virginia at the end of January to get in at least a few turns on the wide open slopes at Canaan Valley Resort. Canaan has 47 slopes, a vertical drop of 850 feet, and four lifts. I finally got the chance to stay in the new hotel built there in 2014. The 160-room lodge is a huge step up from the old motel-like building. The new lodge has a gift shop, an indoor swimming pool and fitness center, a large dining room, and a small café. The finely appointed rooms include large flat-screen televisions, refrigerators, microwave ovens, and coffee makers. Suites feature fireplaces and balconies. After checking in, I drove the couple of miles from the lodge to the ski mountain and hit the slopes for the last two hours of lift operations. The warm weather had caused the closure of some of the slopes. The main slopes of Valley Vista and Timber Trail had a decent base of more than a foot. While not exactly powder, the snow kicked off the edges of my skis as I easily glided down the mountain — I cranked out almost 20 runs on an uncrowded Thursday afternoon.

As the lifts closed down and I headed back to the lodge, I could see storm clouds coming in from the west. A large snowstorm was predicted. But after years of being disappointed by the local meteorologists hyping even a single flake of snow, I didn’t get my hopes up. After grabbing a bite to eat, I turned in early. A light snow had begun to fall.

And it snowed When I woke up, it was as though the world had fallen into an ice age. The previously clear roads and green lawns were covered in a foot of powder. It was a sea of white. In D.C., everything would have been shut down. But out here in the mountains of West Virginia, it was business as usual. I wasted little time on breakfast and took one of the shuttle buses over to the ski lodge. The groomers were still working to open up new terrain as I arrived and boarded the lift. I skied down the Valley Vista blue trail to warm up. My skis disappeared in the powder as it rose up to the middle of my boots. Ah … heaven. I cut clean serpentine tracks into the snow. continued on page 28

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ADVENTURE WILD, WONDERFUL WEST VIRGINIA

YOU’LL FIND IT HERE. Winter excitement goes beyond the slopes, even in the Mountain State. Cross-country ski the backcountry, snowshoe, RZR and more. Discover the best of winter at GoToWV.com/winter.

White Grass, Davis, WV

14 recreation news I december 2016 I recreationnews.com

Recreation News, December 2016  

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Recreation News, December 2016  

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