West Virginia Family Ski Vacation

West Virginia Family Ski Vacation

Today’s blog post recaps our family’s ski weekend in Canaan Valley, West Virginia. We immersed ourselves in tons of wintery fun (sledding! tubing!) and owe a big thank you to West Virginia Department of Tourism and Tucker County Conventions & Visitors Bureau for sponsoring this trip and blog post! 

blackwater falls west virginia

One of the beauties of writing this blog is reliving our memories and having an online scrapbook of sorts to look back on over the years. Documenting the day-to-day happenings in my life will always be at the core of this blog but sharing our family’s travel adventures is something I absolutely love to do because I get to go through our photos and spend time reflecting on our special vacations. When sharing these experiences allows me to connect with those of you who may live in the areas we visit or those who may have an interest in traveling to these places, it feels like the ultimate icing on the cake!

West Virginia Ski Vacation

Last weekend, Ryan and I loaded up our crew of boys and made the 6-hour drive to Canaan Valley, West Virginia for a long weekend of wintery fun. Having just returned from Breckenridge, Colorado the prior weekend, Ryan and I were all amped up about skiing and timed this trip intentionally close to our Colorado trip so we would feel comfortable on our skis and direct our focus to the boys’ skiing more so than our own. Though skiing was our initial focus of the trip, we ended up filling our days with a lot of snowy activities and I figured breaking up today’s post into a few categories would be the most helpful way to share our vacation just in case a trip to Canaan Valley, West Virginia might be on your radar!

canaan valley west virginia

Where We Stayed

Mountain View Retreat Canaan Valley West Virginia

I could go on and on for days about our Best of Canaan accommodations because they were a SLAM DUNK for our family of five. We’ve traveled with the boys enough times to know that sleeping arrangements can make or break a trip and having separate sleeping spaces for everyone was crucial for ensuring everyone was well-rested and energetic going into each day.

We stayed in Best of Canaan‘s Mountain View Retreat rental home and it was the perfect spot for our family. It had bunk beds for the big kids, a toy closet (Rhett could not get enough of the large-size Legos!), a play loft stocked with books, puzzles and games and a hot tub that the big kids treated as their own personal mini pool every day. Whenever we were at the cabin, Ryan had a fire blazing in the fireplace (the deck off the back was loaded with firewood) and we all loved the fireplace both for warmth and for ample s’mores-making opportunities.

canaan valley west virginia

The location was also fantastic especially for accessing the nearby ski slopes and we talked to a few families in nearby houses who said they book homes in this specific area of Canaan Valley annually because the location is so great. We would book this place for our family again in a heartbeat!

What We Did

timberline mountain skiing

We planned our visit to Canaan Valley around our desire to take the boys skiing for the first time. They were both so excited about the idea and we arrived at the base of Timberline Mountain early Friday morning with all the enthusiasm in the world! After renting gear for our family, we walked to the First Flurries slope and did our best to show Ryder and Chase the ropes. (I left my skis off for this and wore Rhett which worked really well. He was happy and contained and also very entertained watching all of the skiers around us.)

Ryan and I very quickly realized we were not at all equipped to teach out boys how to ski. It was… comical. We lasted a little over an hour on the mountain and I’m pretty sure the boys walked away with zero skills but loads of excitement. They loved the magic carpet that took them to the top of the slope and thought skiing down the hill (with a LOT of help from me and Ryan) was a blast!

timberline mountain ski lessons

We were very, very thankful we had a lesson booked for Chase for that afternoon because he could not have had a better experience! (Lessons are available for adults and children ages four and up.) I took Chase back to the mountain for his lesson while Ryan hung out at the cabin with Rhett and Ryder during their naps. Chase’s progress after his time with Mr. Zach absolutely blew me away. It was night-and-day different from learning with me and Ryan and we truly had to drag him off the mountain both days after he had the hang of it! (He even did the Salamander green slope with Ryan on our last day!! He definitely needed help from Ryan to get the whole way down but we were still so impressed!)

I also managed to get a few runs in myself while Chase was with Mr. Zach and appreciated the fast lift and the long length of the runs! The fact that they have a 2-mile green run was awesome, especially for new skiers or those looking to build their skills without having to do a million short green runs. The blue runs I did also felt manageable and not too steep (I do NOT like steep runs).

In terms of skiing logistics, since Ryan and I came with our kids, we unfortunately did not do any runs together and just alternated ski time/days. We’re definitely looking forward to the days our whole family can hit the slopes together!

blackwater falls sled run

Since our boys’ ages range from one to six, finding activities all of the kids can do and enjoy can be tricky but sledding ended up being a huge highlight for our entire family! Rhett (age 1) LOVED it and Ryder (age 3) said it was his favorite thing we did during the entire vacation!

blackwater falls sled run west virginia julie rhett

We arrived soon after they opened at 10 a.m. which we quickly learned was a good decision since the sled run frequently sells out. There’s a reason it’s so popular — It’s the longest run on the east coast and the magic carpet you ride to get to the top took us through a winter wonderland! The snow-covered trees and falling snow flurries were truly breathtaking.

(I spy a Ryder eye!) 

(I snapped this pic on our way into Blackwater Falls State Park. It was truly stunning!) 

Ryan and I each took turns riding with Rhett and Ryder while Chase insisted he was going to sled solo the whole time.

He loved being in control of his own sled and we had a blast racing down the run over and over again. We lasted about an hour and left on a total high!

canaan resort snow tubing

No one in our family has ever visited a tube park before so this activity was new to all of us. The snow tube run at Canaan Resort includes multiple lanes for tubes and is 1,200 feet long!

snow tube run canaan resort

Chase was the only kid in our crew old enough to participate but one of the men who worked at the tube park gave me, Rhett and Ryder free rein of the tubes so I could pull the little guys all over the place while Ryan and Chase did a few runs.

This worked REALLY well for our family and Rhett and Ryder could not get enough of the snow tube spins and runs I did with them!

Chase and Ryan had the best time on the run and lasted about an hour. They flew down both together (Ryan held onto Chase’s tube) and separately and raved about it! One tip: If you have ski goggles, definitely bring them if you go snow tubing! It was snowing during Chase and Ryan’s runs and they wished they would’ve had something to protect their eyes.

Where We Ate

When we weren’t eating meals back at the house, we got some amazing food from a few local hotspots. Some of our favorites:

canaan valley bbq

We picked up BBQ to-go on Friday night and after a day of so many cold-weather activities a hot BBQ pulled pork sandwich sounded AMAZING. The BBQ from this spot was wonderful and it was ready for us to pick up super fast! Also worth highlighting: The service! We did not dine in but my call disconnected when I was calling in our to-go order and they called me right back and were so kind to us when we picked up our food.

julie rhett

We drove into the nearby town of Davis for breakfast before sledding and popped into Milo’s Café. This place is oozing with small town charm and offers hearty, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast fare. We ordered enough pancakes to feed a small army, breakfast sandwiches, eggs and toast and loved every dish!

hellbender burritos west virginia

This spot came highly recommended by a handful of you who DMed me on Instagram to offer up restaurant recommendations during our vacation! This place was a gem of a find, especially if you’re starving! The burritos were the size of my face (The Admiral burrito was unreal), the tacos were delicious and the boys loved the cheese quesadillas. Our entire family gave this spot two thumbs up!

riverfront pizza

This was another recommendation from you guys and as a pizza-loving family, I knew we had to give it a try! We popped into this pizza place located in Thomas, West Virginia and grabbed pizza to bring back to the condo after sledding on Saturday morning. It was SO good and we flew through them. The boys said this was their favorite meal of the trip!

And that was our trip in a nutshell! If you have any questions about the activities, logistics, drive, restaurants, etc. definitely let me know! It was truly such a fun weekend and were were all bummed to leave on Sunday!

And that was our trip in a nutshell! Until next time, West Virginia! Thank you for the wonderful, snowy memories!  If you have any questions about the activities, logistics, drive, restaurants, etc. definitely let me know! And if you are hoping to plan a getaway to this area, WV Tourism and Ski The Valley are great resources to check out to begin your planning!

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