White Grass Ski Touring Center
White Grass Ski Touring Center is the epicenter of cross-country and backcountry skiing in Canaan Valley. Situated adjacent to the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, White Grass is the gateway to some of the region’s most pristine land. Visitors—many of whom have made White Grass an annual destination for 40 years—are beckoned by the 48 trails that wind over and across the “snow farm.” Here snow fencing is used to capture snow for its nearly 40 miles of trail. Slightly less than half of the touring center’s trails are groomed while the powder remains untouched on others, the preferred conditions for telemark skiing. White Grass boasts an impressive 1,196 foot vertical. Thanks to a summit elevation of 4,463 on Weiss Knob and the relatively light snowpack necessary for cross country skiing, White Grass Ski Touring Center is often the first destination open each season.
History of Whitegrass
As legend has it, the development of Canaan Valley into a sanctuary for ski lover’s all began with snowless winter in Washington D.C. Members of a ski club there went in search of a fabled basin of snow tucked in the nearby mountains of West Virginia. Long story short, they found it. Fast forward a couple years from that “discovery” to 1959 and there begins the story of Weiss Knob Ski Area founded by Bob and Anita Barton. The area would operate as a bare bones ski club with a rope tow system into the 60s before it fell into disuse.
Fast forward again to 1979 to a mountain top in the Shenandoah Valley on the border of Virginia and West Virginia where Chip Chase operated the short-lived White Grass Touring Center. Disappointed by the short snow season, Chip went in search of another site for his touring center. He found it in the former Weiss Knob slopes. As you can guess, Chip brought little more than the name White Grass with him on his move to Canaan Valley, but it stuck. Today the center continues to operate, honing their business year after year. Chip may be the most famous character in all of Canaan Valley.
Operated by Chip Chase, his wife Laurie Little and their staff, White Grass Ski Touring Center knows how to deliver the best on-snow experience anywhere. And while everyone agrees the snow is wonderful, they’ll tell you they come back for the people.
Rentals & Lessons
White Grass offers an experience unlike any of the downhill ski resorts in the valley. It would follow that the rental equipment available here is equally unparalleled. Guests who arrive empty handed can rent skis for backcountry or telemark skiing. There are also skating skis and snowshoes, and pulk sleds, too. Because it’s likely you’ll be trying a style of skiing you’ve never tried before, the staff offers quick mini lessons as well as more advanced lessons to hone skating, telemarking or downhill control skills.
Food & Beverage
The wholesome food coming out of the White Grass Café is as popular as the skiing. Laurie Little, a legend in her own right, has been churning out the heartiest, downright best food since she and Chip set up shop in the early 80s. With a focus on natural ingredients, the menu features hot soups, paninis and fresh baked desserts.