Who knew that something so artificial could look so beautiful? Of course we're referring to the slopes (100 percent open, by the way) at Bryce Resort (1982 Fairway Drive, Basye, Va.). The area only averages 30 inches of snowfall each year, but Bryce makes it rain up in here (with snow, of course).
Bryce Resort is known for its proximity to D.C. (two hours), which can only mean one thing: the perfect day trip destination. Pay close attention, jet setters: Bryce is one of the few destination resorts in the Mid-Atlantic with its own airport.
Snowsport newbies are also in luck; the resort is known to have an authentic beginner terrain as well as patient instructors. A three-part package for first-time skiers/snowboarders ($66-$75; ages 8+) includes equipment rental, a 75-minute group lesson, and a lift ticket. Special recognition rates are also given for those in the military, all first responders and to all honor roll students (#jealous).
For all you practiced skiers and boarders, there are five lifts, eight runs and a 500-foot vertical (we can see the pros turn up their noses) at the resort, with 90 percent of the terrain lit for night skiing.
Lift rates are $43 for eight hours, or $30 for four. Bryce also opened the nation's first mountain tubing run.
Are you the gambling kind? Every Wednesday at 7 and 9:30 p.m., you can put on your poker face for Texas Hold'em at the Copper Kettle lounge. The event is free, and winners get prizes and qualitfy for advancement to regional competitions.
And although winter's still a couple months from retirement, Bryce already has the perfect party planned. The Grand Winter Finale (Saturday, March 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.) includes a pancake breakfast at the Fireside Grill, a costume parade (costumed skiers riding the slopes), and a pond-skimming event.
There is no on-site lodging at Bryce, but they do offer a list of private rental agencies that offer mountaintop condos, slope-side town homes and full-size homes.