Skiing or snowboarding is such a great way to get outside and exercise a little during the winter. Snowshoe, West Virginia is the perfect place to visit for anyone in the Southeast United States looking for a ski resort vacation. Snowshoe has it all. The cute village, lots of dining options, terrain for all abilities, and activities for the non-skiers in the family.
The problem with many ski vacations is they can be SO expensive. All the activities, lift tickets, restaurant bills, and shopping adds up quickly. I’ve been going to Snowshoe for two seasons now and have figured out a few tricks for saving money. Tyler and I go on multiple weekend trips to Snowshoe and longer trips to some larger resorts up north and out west. We wouldn’t be able to afford doing all this without these money saving tricks! If you need more help planning your vacation check out this article.
Stay Off the Mountain
Tyler and I have stayed in a few different places on our trips. Yes, ski-in/ski-out is nice, but you definitely pay for it. My recommendation is the Old Clark Inn in Marlinton. The drive is about 40 minutes, but the slopes don’t open until 9 am and after lifts stop running you can head back to Marlinton, take a shower and walk into town for dinner. So the drive hasn’t been that big of a deal for us, but I realize that can be a deal breaker for some.
There are muffins and scones for breakfast in the mornings and the accommodations are clean. The owners, Nelson and Angela are incredibly nice and welcoming. I spoke with Andrea about some of her recommendations for the area. Some of her local favorites are The Dirtbean Cafe, Old Mountain Tavern, and Lucy’s Grocery. For those who aren’t interested in skiing or riding there’s the Cass Scenic Railroad that offers a Polar Express Ride in early December, the Greenbank Telescope, and the Pocohontas County Opera House.
I can’t say enough good things about the Old Clark Inn and Andrea did mention that they are even more popular in the summer! Be sure to visit them and check out the Greenbrier River Trail and the area is heaven for motorcycle enthusiasts.
Another option is Elk River Inn which is about 20 minutes away from Snowshoe. The rooms are very reasonably priced, but we stayed in the Farmhouse and it was definitely budget accommodation. The breakfast is the standout for Elk River.
One we have not tried is the Snowshoe Inn at the base of the mountain. There is a shuttle that runs to this location that will take you up the mountain.
Purchase Lift Tickets Ahead of Time
There are a few different options for lift tickets. If you know you’ll be going more than five days then purchasing an Ikon Base Pass may be the thing for you to do. If you purchase in Spring for the following season then you can ski for the rest of the spring and then get unlimited days at Snowshoe for the next season. The awesome part is that you also get access to multiple other resorts throughout the US and even some globally.
If you don’t plan on skiing that much, then they also offer a 3-for-all which lets you ski any three days that you chose during the season. You can also buy a season pass for Snowshoe individually if you want unlimited days, but know you won’t go to any other resorts. Both of these are cheaper if you buy them during the Spring.
If you weren’t able to plan ahead, then you can still buy multi-day lift tickets online. As long as you purchase 72 hours ahead of time you can still save money, but the earlier you purchase the better. If you are skiing for multiple days be sure to buy a multi-day lift ticket instead of individual passes.
Pack Your Lunch (And Alcohol)
Behind lodging and lift tickets, food will likely be your next largest expense. For Tyler and I to go out to eat on the mountain for lunch it is typically around $50. Granted, we both get our own entree plus a beer or two each. Each entree is going to cost around $12-$15 per person for lunch.
If you plan ahead, my go to lunch option is a sandwich and chips. Stop by a grocery store well before you get to Snowshoe though, because there are no stores once you get within about 40 minutes of the mountain. We pack a cooler with beer for the day and will run back out to the car to take a break every so often.
You’ve got a bit more options if you splurged and are staying slope-side with a kitchen. But if you cut costs on lodging and want to spend a bit more on food, then Snowshoe does have some pretty great options. Don’t miss Sunset Cantina or Cheat Mountain Pizza.
Another option is to go to one of the restaurants off the mountain. There is a limited selection, but I highly recommend Big Spring Fork. The food is great with a great selection of drinks and good atmosphere. Route 66 pizza is also located at the base of the mountain.
Get Rentals From Your Local Ski Shop
Purchasing from your local ski shop will likely save you somewhere between $5 and $10 per day which can add up if you are doing a multi-day trip. This only makes sense though if you can pick them up the afternoon before you leave for your trip and take them back the morning after you return home so you aren’t paying for extra days you don’t use.
This can also be difficult if you don’t live near a city. For example, I live 30 minutes outside of a city with a ski shop so it never made sense for me to drive 30 minutes out of the way to rent.
Do Not Buy Anything in the Shops
You will find some of the most expensive brand name clothes and equipment on top of the mountain. A lot of times people are more willing to spend money when they are on vacation, but just wait and support your local ski shop instead.
If you’re really looking to save money, you shouldn’t buy any skiing/boarding equipment during peak season anyways. Most stores have huge sales right before the beginning of the season and then right at the end of the season. Even the stores at Snowshoe have great sales during the off-season.
Take the Shuttle to Silver Creek
We found out the hard way that it costs to park at Silver Creek. You can pay $30 to park right at the slopes, $20 for the middle lot, and $10 for the very back lot. Even at the back lot you can see the slopes so it is a one or two minute walk. This was a cost that surprised us though.
They offer a free shuttle between Top of the World, the Village, and Silver Creek that you can easily take down there. The shuttles are constantly running so you shouldn’t have to worry about waiting too long. Most bus drivers will only make stops in between if someone is waiting at the stop or if a rider says they are getting off. So it doesn’t take too long to get where you’re going.
Most things are always more expensive on holidays. Slope-side lodging, lift tickets, and rentals all have an up-charge for holiday dates. It’s best to avoid these anyways because it gets so crowded. Holidays during ski season include Christmas, New Years, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and President’s Day.