Tips for Winterplace (or maybe Wintergreen?)

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jpaterni
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I'm planning a quick day trip for next Friday, probably to Winterplace (maybe Wintergreen?), driving from Durham. This will be my first time at either mountain; I'd love some help / suggestions.

1) Winterplace and Wintergreen are about the same drive time for me, give or take 30 minutes. Wintergreen is significantly more expensive and seems to have less accumulation and fewer open runs. Are there compelling reasons to go to Wintergreen over Winterplace at this point in the season?

2) This will be my son's (7 y.o.) third time on skis this year. He's a beginner that thinks he knows everything. At this point he's had 3 hours worth of private lessons. Anyone have experience with the ski school at either area? Any thoughts on the skiwee / snow explorer program at Winterplace?

3) Should we anticipate massive crowds at these mountains on a Friday? I'm a bit skittish after seeing some pictures of weekend lift lines from around the region.

My wife and I are both rusty intermediate + skiers if that matters when weighing the pros and cons of these two places.

Thanks for your help!
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marzski
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Hello there! (waving from northwest Wake County)

Winterplace and Wintergreen are very different. For people who can ski the black runs off the Highlands lift at Wintergreen, it's worth the extra money. Especially midweek because it's a high speed lift. WV has had more snowmaking opportunities and natural snow so far this season, which is typical.

I had a very good time with my daughter and her friend back a dozen years ago at Winterplace. Her friend was an advanced beginner. We also took her to Wintergreen, but that really wasn't as good a fit in terms of terrain. My daughter and her friends learned to ski at Massanutten, which became our home mountain back in 2005.

Driving from Durham to Winterplace is easy, essentially all Interstate highway. Getting to Wintergreen isn't bad, but do have to drive up the mountain since the base is actually at the summit. Another reason I haven't gone that much with kids is that the kids I happened to be taking tended to get car sick. So US29 and the 2-lane road after that was a bit more of a challenge for them.

If you can get going really early, in order to arrive about 30 min before the lifts open, I doubt there will be many people in the morning. Will get busier after 3:00 or so. At least that's what happened at Massanutten last week on Friday.

If snow tubing is of any interest, Winterplace has better tubing in my opinion. Don't know if it's still the case, but back when we went it was weird to see people tubing with ski boots on.
2020-21: JH/GT and Alta in Dec; Massanutten, *Cataloochee, Timberline, *CV, *Bryce; Monarch, Wolf Creek, Copper, Loveland, ABasin, Taos; Alta/Snowbird in April. * Indy Pass
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brigand
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Winterplace is mostly open right now; Wintergreen has yet to open the Highlands. That alone would inform my decision to Winterplace, but if both were fully open - Wintergreen. I like Wintergreen's layout and general vibe better than Winterplace. That being said, Winterplace has probably more varied terrain when that get Snow Bowl, Woods Run, and Turkey Chute open.
jpaterni
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Thanks guys. The forecast was looking promising for next Friday, but now it's starting to look like rain at Winterplace. I might push back another week or two in hopes of colder temps at WG and/or maybe some additional terrain opening at Wintergreen.
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marzski
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jpaterni wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:41 am Thanks guys. The forecast was looking promising for next Friday, but now it's starting to look like rain at Winterplace. I might push back another week or two in hopes of colder temps at WG and/or maybe some additional terrain opening at Wintergreen.
Looking at a forecast that is a week in advance doesn't really tell you much. There certainly should be more terrain open at Wintergreen in a week or two, assuming the next cold front makes it to VA.

Are you going to split time skiing with your son?

Winterplace has a lift that serves green, blue, and black trails. So possible to go different ways and meet up at the lift.

Getting from Highlands to the Acorn area that has blue trails takes a little while. Not that big a deal midweek. But can take 20+ min on a normal busy weekend because of lift lines for Highlands and the other 6-pack.

There are many reasons I've been driving a little longer to ski at Massanutten for 15 years instead of making the turn to go to Wintergreen.
2020-21: JH/GT and Alta in Dec; Massanutten, *Cataloochee, Timberline, *CV, *Bryce; Monarch, Wolf Creek, Copper, Loveland, ABasin, Taos; Alta/Snowbird in April. * Indy Pass
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