This past weekend we tried cross-country skiing with a couple of friends for the first time at Whitegrass Resort in Davis, West Virginia. Overall, we all had a great time at Whitegrass. The resort has a nice cafe with excellent wrap sandwiches. The cost of cross-country skiing is much less than renting and lift tickets are at downhill resorts. Cross country skiing is great exercise and perhaps the greatest advantage is that the cross country ski boots you wear are 10 times more comfortable than downhill ski boots.
While driving out to Whitegrass, I was skeptical that there would be enough snow for skiing since cross country ski areas generally do not make their own snow. Even once we entered Canaan Valley, which receives more snow than areas to the east, snow coverage still looked spotty.
However, Whitegrass uses a technique called snow farming to build up snow on their exposed trails. They manage snow drifts by placing fencing to build up blowing snow to cover their trails.
Before arriving at Whitegrass, I was not aware that it is at the site of an old downhill skiing area. Aside from the snowfarm area, many of their trails go up the sides of mountains without the towropes and hi-tech ski lifts we were accustomed to. However, climbing up the mountains was easier than I thought it would be. The skis have fish scale-like traction areas carved into the bottoms to minimize sliding backwards.
I am sure having alpine ski experience helped with balance; however, going downhill proved difficult on the long, narrow cross country skis. They were much harder to control than the parabolic shaped skis I had rented at downhill resorts. We all used the snowplow method to control speed and turn, but we all spent some time falling down. I look forward to learning some more advanced techniques and developing my skills
I would highly recommend Whitegrass Resort to anyone interested in cross-country skiing. Click here for additional pictures.