I've been in Northern Virginia the past week for the holidays and made it down to Massanutten today. I've never been there before so I was pretty stoked to finally make it there for once. Going somewhere new is always fun.
I couldn't have asked for a better day. Good snow, bluebird skies, and surprisingly minimal lift lines up until about 2-ish when we left. I think I waited a max of 3 minutes for a lift. My girlfriend's stepmom and I were able to ride right on the lift at the top of the mountain and lap Diamond Jim and Paradice for almost two hours.
The drive along 81 really is beautiful.
First lift ride up. I was pretty stoked.
Showtime. I really liked this trail.
The top of the mountain has some amazing scenic views.
A photosphere from the top. It's not perfect, but you get the jist.
The bottom of Diamond Jim. This run was really fun. Had lots of side hits, good snow, and a pretty big roller near the end.
I went to CMB terrain park for a little bit. It had a corrugated tube and 2 jumps. The snow was getting mushy by the time I got over there and the grade wasn't that steep, so you had to skip the first jump and charge the second to even clear it. Still fun though.
Not pictured is the beginner terrain park which had a box, rainbow box, and a sweet mini hip jump.
Overall, I really liked Massanutten...more than I thought I would to be honest. I like how the two main black diamonds and the terrain parks are separated from the rest of the mountain so gapers don't end up going down them. The resort had more vert than I thought it would and it is run very professionally and efficiently. I was amazed at how quickly we were able to get ski rentals for Betsy's stepmom. I like it, I want to go back sometime for sure.
Thanks for the report Ken, I hope to hit Mass this year finally, probably as a half day on my way into CV, if they ever get a natural base
It's pretty fun man. I was pleasantly surprised. I bet it would be really fun with some pow. The only complaint I have is the main bunny slope is ridiculously flat. The hardest time I had all day was trying to get from the bottom of Paradice to the lodge. Unbelievably slow.
Gee, that view looks familiar. Nice pics. Looks like you had a great day considering what things were like just a few days ago. Glad you had a good time!
Mnut vertical is 1100', with about 825' for DJ & Paradice off Lift 6 alone. For comparison, Beech is 830' vert overall and most of Snowshoe is 700-800', with the Western Territories just under 1500'. More importantly, as you discovered, riding Lift 6 means no lift line even on holidays. Usually a lap takes me about 10 min, including the time on the lift.
Better way to get to the lodge is to leave time for a last run from the top of Showtime.
The beginner snowboarders usually stay on Geronimo or Lower Showtime because Southern Comfort is so flat. The flip side is that beginner skiers, ages 4 to 60+, have a nice long easy green. Never-evers who do the beginner package spend the second hour riding up Lift 4 and taking a couple runs on Southern Comfort. I think it works much better than Dobie at Wintergreen.
Almost busted my *** the first time. Was fine after that. Does it really speed up things think?
Before the conveyor loading was added to Lift 4 for Southern Comfort, that lift probably stopped at least 2-3 times an hour on busy days because of beginners who were having trouble loading. Now it rarely stops. Beginners who mess up unloading usually are far enough out of the way so the lift op only need to slows it down, but does not have do a complete stop.
A lot easier to teach a beginner how to handle the conveyor than to teach them how to get into place fast enough, especially if under age 7. Of course, teaching an "old dog new tricks" . . .
When Lift 3 replaced the old double a few years ago, that made a huge difference. Not just the conveyor loading since it's a quad. Mnut reworked the top of Geronimo to make it easier to cut over to Southern Comfort and the base of Lift 5 (Showtime). The original double started near where the start of the longer magic carpet is and ran up the other side of Geronimo.
Lift 5 is a relatively new triple. Replaced an original double that was in the same place. Runs a little faster, plus has padded seats. But I miss the footrests.
It's good at night too David. 100% open with lights on ALL trails. Unlike another place that close their 3 short diamonds when the sun goes down
Cheap hotels in Harrisonburg too. Then get an early start to CV the next day. Long dark roads are best saved for a little daylight
With the 8-hour flex ticket, don't have to start at 9:00 to get in a full day of skiing. Can just ski into the lights. Of course, starting at 4pm for the twilight rate is a good deal. In Jan and Feb, there is a deal on Monday nights for $18. Also a fundraiser for local charity.
The basic place that I've stayed at a couple times is called the Come On Inn, off I-81 Exit 243. That's closer to JMU than the collection of motels at US33 and I-81 at Exit 247. It's an older place where you can park in front of the door of the room and includes frig and microwave, with cold cereal and milk for breakfast.
Thanks for the good info. This sounds more and more like a nice layout up there. I am not a black diamond skier and probably never will be so this type of seperation of runs looks good .
For those who want to gain more confidence before trying a southeast black, the very top of Upper Showtime is a very short section that ski school uses to teach the kids how to handle turns on something steeper. Or can unload at the mid-station of Lift 5 to stick with Pacesetter and Lower Showtime. I expect Lower MAKAttack will be open soon too. Staying on Pacesetter and Lower MAKAttack is another way to feel like you have the place to yourself.
The 90-min lesson for $35 for intermediates is a great deal. Offered at 10:00, 1:30, 5:30. Can often end up with a private at 5:30. Mnut has more very experienced instructors than you might expect. My teen daughter still learns stuff at a clinic, and she is Level 8 in Alta ski school. She hasn't had an instructor she hasn't liked since she started in 2004.
I've been taking advantage of the Silver Clinic (over 50) on Sun afternoons. Two hours with a very experienced instructor for $30. For those who know PSIA, Walter is Level III. Great for any boomer skier at any ability level.
The weekend of Jan. 11-12 would be a good time to check out Mnut. Freestyle of Charlottesville is doing a free demo tent from 9:00-3:00 at the base of Lift 6, so easy to lap DJ or Paradice.
Last season there was a good selection of all-mountain skis from Blizzard, Rossi, K2, Scott, Nordica, Dynastar, Volkl and Head. Heard they will have the Volkl RTM81 and RTM84. Most were skis that would be good out west or in the northeast as well as in the Mid-Atlantic, meaning 80-100cm underfoot. Freestyle also has a shop at Wintergreen and does demo days there too.
The Massanutten ski school is offering special 2-hour clinics on Jan. 12. A great deal at $30. Those are for intermediates and up. The usual 1.5 hour group lessons cost $35.
Sunday, Jan. 12, 9:30-11:30: Women's Clinic, ages 12 and up
Sunday, Jan. 12, 1:00-3:00: Intermediate Clinic, ages 12 and up
I'll be at Mnut Jan. 8-12. Hope to see a few new SkiSE faces on the weekend. My white helmet has stickers for Alta, EpicSki, and SkiSE.
Marzski- Your unofficial guide is outstanding.Loved the detail, the pictures, and addressing all levels of skiers. I hate to read reviews where you only hear about the the black diamonds and steeps. I really liked the part where you give advice on how to work your way up to Lift 6.
Have you done any other detailed reviews like this for any other ski resorts/areas. If not you really should. You do a great job.