Winter wonderlands in the Washington region
(Courtesy of Husky Power Dog Sledding/ ) – If you’ve secretly dreamed of running the Iditarod, Husky Power Dog Sledding in Accident, Md., has the activity for you. You can take a ride on a dog sled or, if you’re feeling more assertive, pilot one.
By Nathan Borchelt, Published: November 25
Let’s be honest: Most serious skiers and snowboarders will always see the resorts of the Mid-Atlantic as lesser lights than their counterparts in New England and out West. But even though we lack the sheer verticality of the Rockies, the Sierras or the White Mountains, there’s still fun to be had in the Washington region the moment the first snowflakes hit the ground. What’s more, the National Weather Service is predicting that this winter will be another La Nina season, which means lower temps and higher precipitation in the Northern Hemisphere (read: snow). To get you started planning your seasonal fun, here are our favorite winterized activities within a four-hour radius of the capital.
You don’t need serious vertical to explore the winter wonderland on a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes, and this farm in central West Virginia, at the headwaters of the Elk River, is one of the best backcountry base camps around. More than three miles of trails snake through the 150-acre property, with another 20-plus miles weaving through neighboring Monongahela National Forest, including loops along Highland Scenic Highway. Detailed trail maps, equipment rentals and lodging are all available on-site. (And Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort is about 25 minutes away, if you yearn for a bit of lift-assisted riding.)
Information: Cross-country ski rental is $20 a day, including skis, boots and poles; snowshoes, $20 a day, $25 with boots; $5 area use fee.
U.S. 219, Slatyfork, W.Va., 304-572-3771, www.ertc.com
Pleasant Valley Dream Rides
Grab a blanket and a thermos of hot chocolate and climb aboard the sleigh for a horse-drawn ride through Duntrussen Farm, a working Amish dairy in Maryland. You’ll learn about the Amish way of life while gliding through the pastoral landscape, with the gentle mountains of Pleasant Valley as a backdrop. Tours run every hour, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., so you can opt for a brisk midday or twilight jaunt or get lost in the explosion of stars after the sun drops. And if conditions don’t cooperate, Pleasant Valley can swap in wheeled skids.
Information: Rides run $16 and depart on the hour daily except Sundays.
1689 Pleasant Valley Rd., Oakland, Md., 301-334-1688, www.pleasantvalleydreamrides.com
Husky Power Dog Sledding
Indulge your dream of racing in the Iditarod — the world’s premier dog-sledding event — without going to Alaska by visiting Mountain Maryland Kennels. First take a tour of the kennel to understand the care and responsibility that go into raising sled dogs. Then go on a 30- to 40-minute Mush Hour outing, a winding dog-sled ride through a snow-covered forest along historic logging routes and over expansive pastures. Or go big and sign up for the Musher Experience, which combines a kennel tour with a 1.5-hour outing where you get to pilot the sled. No snow? Wheel-mounted sleds replicate the cold-weather experience without the white stuff.
Information: Mush Hour costs $195 a person for two to four people; the Musher Experience runs $245 a person for a maximum of two riders. Both include the kennel
From the Washington Post.
Find ski, snowshoe, sledding, & sleigh deals with skiing vacations at www.retreatvacations.com .