Massanutten is Raising the Bar for Winter 2015-2016

massanutten resort's new umbrella bar

Massanutten Resort Adds a New Umbrella Bar and Deck on the Slopes!

The countdown is on. As Kenny Hess, Director of Sports and Risk Management noted, “Last year we were making snow on November 14th. With a little luck, we can do the same this year.”

Improving the guest experience is an important focus at every successful resort. At Massanutten, 2015 has seen key investments made in the ski area, both in the Learning Center and in the snowmaking equipment to improve snow surfaces and guest amenities. Matthias Smith, General Manager and Vice President, shared, “This is going to be a really fun and exciting winter for everyone at Massanutten.  We can’t wait to reveal the updates to our neighbors who have been watching the construction and development over the past few months.”
The biggest changes are found at the base of the ski area.

You can’t miss the new 13,000 square-foot Snow Sports Learning Center which will serve as the new home base for the popular Mountain Cruiser Children’s Snow Sports program. The Learning Center provides space for check-ins, kids’ rental equipment, and a lunch/snack area for those enrolled in the Mountain Cruiser program. The Learning Center will also handle private lesson reservations for adults. There is additional lodge seating and a snack bar that will be open primarily during weekend and holiday periods.  Approximately 175 additional seats will be available, and food options will include grab-and-go sandwiches and salads. Cable television, Wi-Fi and multi-port charging stations will be included in the renovated space for those taking a break from the slopes.

Outside the lodge, a massive 5000 square foot deck expansion has been built, which includes a new umbrella bar where guests can enjoy outdoor lunch and libations. Umbrella bars are gaining popularity at ski areas because they provide enclosed, heated seating for roughly 100 guests on cold or snowy days.

what's new at massanutten resort

When the weather is nice, the roof can retract and the walls come down, providing outdoor bar service to patrons on the deck.

massanutten's new umbrella barThis will be a terrific place to enjoy a warm beverage or an after-ski meal. The food & beverage team is excited to share this with residents and will be offering 10% off any food item on a daily basis, as well as excellent resident-only promotions and discounts. Editor’s Note: For those who are not great at envisioning things from the sketches above, the umbrella bar will seemingly look a lot like the one pictured to the right that is at Beech Mountain Resort in North Carolina.

This will add a great view spot on the slopes at Massanutten!


Look for improvements on the mountain too, thanks to the purchase of a powerful new Pisten Bully “Park Pro” snow grooming tractor. In addition to providing plenty of power to groom the steepest trails, the machine features control of forward and rear attachments. This gives grooming operators unmatched flexibility in shaping Terrain Park and other features.

Given Massanutten’s climate, snowmakers must be able to take advantage of every window of favorable weather.  An additional 25 high-output, fan-style snowmaking guns are being partially automated to enable operators to remotely turn on and shut off the guns in response to weather conditions. Additionally, two new state-of-the-art, fully automated fan guns have been added to the fleet. The newly-automated guns will be on the lower Showtime, Southern Comfort, Geronimo, and Easy Street trails, and in the Teaching Area.

Over at the Family Adventure Park, additional lanes are planned and a second snow tubing lift has been installed to improve the guest experience. The old portable climbing wall has been replaced with a permanent installment, which features six climbing stations ranging from 16 to 30 feet in height. The new wall also features a “Quick Jump” free-fall attraction. Located at the top of the climbing wall, the Quick Jump uses a self-regulating braking system. The initial sensation is one of free fall, though within a few feet of the top the braking system begins gently slowing the rider to facilitate a gentle landing.

The General Store has also been remodeled for a more pleasant shopping experience. New product and snow gear is arriving every week. An expanded deck with a fire pit is also on the way.
“Many of these features will provide additional options for resort guests in other seasons,” said Kenny Hess, Director of Sports and Risk Management. “But our winter guests and residents will get to enjoy them first.”

Hess said that discounted season passes for the 2015-2016 ski seasons are still available through November 30th by calling the ski office at 540.289.4954.

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of, and Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.