Canaan Valley Resort’s ski area, the site of the first commercial ski development in West Virginia and any state south of the Mason-Dixon line, is celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2021-2022 ski season.

Situated in the highest mountain valley east of the Rockies, Canaan Valley Resort invested significantly in the property’s ski operations in the offseason, doubling the size of the tube park, adding a new RFID lift ticket and online ski/snowboard rental ordering system, a new rental shop, and other enhancements that will greatly improve the guest experience.

“In celebration of our 50th anniversary and as the birthplace of commercial skiing in West Virginia and the southern United States, we are very proud to celebrate and carry on the legacy of outdoor winter adventure in West Virginia,” said Sam England, general manager for Canaan Valley Resort. “The multi-million-dollar investment into ski area operations over the past several months demonstrates the West Virginia Division of Natural Resource’s commitment to improving our facilities and making sure all our visitors experience the ‘Wild & Wonderful’ attractions and “Almost Heaven” scenery offered at Canaan Valley Resort.”

England noted that Canaan Valley Resort is owned by the State of West Virginia and one hundred percent of profits are reinvested into the property to maintain, improve, and preserve Canaan Valley Resort State Park.

The ski area is tentatively slated to open for the 2021-2022 season, weather permitting, December 18.

Ski Area Updates & Improvements:

  • The resort tube park has been expanded to more than twice its previous size and offers some of the longest tubing lanes in the Mid-Atlantic. With more than 17 lanes and the addition of a newly constructed second magic carpet lift, guests will spend less time in lines and more time zipping down the mountain.
  • A new RFID (Radio Frequency ID) lift ticket and lift gate system has been added to speed a guests’ trip to the mountain and reduce time in lift lines. Replacing the paper lift tickets, guests will be able to purchase passes online and receive a plastic RFID card that allows them to reload lift tickets or season passes via their mobile phone or computer. Passes can be purchased online at
  • With a newly remodeled and significantly enlarged ski and snowboard rental facility and with the addition of advance, online ski, boot, and snowboard ordering, the resort has streamlined and enhanced the rentals process, saving guests time in line. Guests can pre-order their rentals online at
  • An expansive outdoor deck has been added to the second floor of the Bear Paw Ski Lodge. Guests will be able to dine or enjoy a beverage while watching their children or other guests learn to ski on the Critters Crawl beginner trail.

Canaan Valley Resort boasts 47 trails featuring a mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain. The mountain offers a vertical drop of 850 feet accessed by three lifts (one quad and two triples) and a magic carpet at the beginner’s area.


While Canaan Valley Resort is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its ski area, the 2021-2022 ski season also marks the 70th anniversary of commercial skiing in West Virginia and the southern Mid-Atlantic states.

The first commercial ski development in West Virginia (and any state south of West Virginia) occurred on Cabin Mountain, the site of Canaan Valley Resort’s ski area, in 1951.

Members of the Washington DC Ski Club identified the Canaan Valley area of Cabin Mountain as an opportune place for ski development based on airline pilot reports of large drifts of snow remaining into late spring.

Cabin Mountain Ski Area, as it was known and established in 1951, featured two rope tows on 40-acres of terrain stretching from Route 32 in Canaan Valley to a height of 3,600 feet. Runs extended a quarter mile down a slope with a vertical drop of 300 feet. It was the first commercial ski establishment south of the Mason–Dixon line. The ski area closed in 1962.

In 1955-1956, Robert Barton established Weiss Knob Ski Area, which encompassed the Cabin Mountain Ski Area terrain but ascended higher up the mountain, climbing to a height of 3,900 feet. It featured 60-acres of terrain serviced by a T-bar lift, as well as three rope tows.

This site was acquired by the State of West Virginia in 1959, so Barton reopened Weiss Knob Ski Area at a new location on Cabin Mountain's Bald Knob. Opening in fall 1958, the new site featured four rope tows and the first snowmaking equipment in West Virginia. The operation remained open until 1970, when the impending opening of Canaan Valley Resort prompted its closure. This new ski area was actually a redevelopment of the original Weiss Knob site.

Canaan Valley Resort State Park opened its ski area on Cabin Mountain in 1971.

Resort Detail:

Canaan Valley Resort is a four-seasons destination with a wide array of adventures and a variety of guest rooms and cabins. Canaan Valley Resort Ski Area is in the highest mountain valley to the east of the Rocky Mountains and is known for breathtaking views of the mountainous region. The ski resort has a summit elevation of 4,280 feet above sea level, 91 skiable acres, four lifts – one quad, two triples and two magic carpets – a terrain park and ski school. With 47 trails and slopes, the Critters Crawl beginner and ski school for private and group lessons – including adaptive skiing – Canaan Valley Resort Ski Area offers a memorable winter adventure for every skier and snowboarder. The resort also offers a tube park, ice skating rink and cross-country skiing.

Canaan Valley Resort is situated in northeast West Virginia approximately 2½ hours from Washington, D.C., three hours from Pittsburgh and 2¾ hours from Charleston, W.Va.

For more information, contact the resort at 1-800-622-4121 or visit the website at

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Canaan Valley Resort is owned by the state of West Virginia and managed by Sioux Falls, S.D.-based U.S. Hotels and Resort Management, Inc., which operates hotels, resorts, state park lodges, golf courses and restaurants in 13 states throughout the West and Midwest.

For more information, visit the website or call 1-800-622-4121. Travelers can connect with Canaan Valley Resort on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and by signing up for special email offers and a blog.

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Media Contact:
Mark Moody