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It’s snow time at Canaan Valley! - Big changes create better outdoor recreation

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DAVIS, W.Va. – Canaan Valley Resort State Park is located within a high mountain valley that is actually carved from a plateau. Its base elevation – what visitors recognize as Canaan Valley – is 3,430 feet and the area as a whole includes a wildlife refuge, vacation homes and other private rental properties and the state park, Canaan Valley. The highest elevation at the resort is 4,280 feet.

“When you have the terrain, the elevations and accommodations, winter sports are the result,” says Lisa Ratliff with Canaan Valley Resort. “When it snows in West Virginia, it’s time to visit Canaan Valley to play in the snow, to ski, and this year, to tube.”

Canaan Valley Resort is undergoing massive renovations. From the replacement of the 1970s-era lodge and current construction of a new complex, to the downhill ski area improvements and the construction of a mega-tubing park that will open December 2012, Canaan Valley is changing. “The tubing park is going to be awesome,” says Ratliff. The tubing park will have up to 10 lanes and will be the longest run in the mid-Atlantic at 1,200 feet.

Carolyn Mansberger, construction projects manager with the state park system, agrees. “The replacement, updates and new outdoor sport opportunities began in May 2012, and are in different phases currently. When the various projects are completed, Tucker County and state tourism as a whole will recognize the positive impact of a state park of this magnitude. It is a beautiful area year-round.”

Three main features that the general public will notice immediately are the new Canaan Valley Tubing Park, opening for its first season in December 2012; a wobble clay shooting range, which is a non-winter sport and will open in the spring of 2013; and the new lodge complex projected for completion in August 2013. One hundred fifty of the original rooms at Canaan Valley Lodge remain open as well as the park restaurant, gift shop and meeting rooms during the new construction phases.

Construction for installing a new snow tubing park and wobble clay range at Canaan Valley has been in full speed throughout the summer of 2012. “We are very excited about the new facility and the expansion at the ski area,” Ratliff says. Ratliff lists the fire ring at Bear Paw Lodge, the new ski school and beginners area with a magic carpet and warming hut as some of the amenities that visitors to the park will be happy to find.   

Improvements or additions on the snow side of improvements include a new snowmaking system, greatly expanded snowmaking, lift improvements, and a “magic carpet” for the new tubing park. A magic carpet is a surface lift much like an escalator or people movers found in airports, except outside. Like the song lyrics say, “Long way to go and a short time to get there,” the magic carpet moves people quicker to the point where fun begins.

The wobble clay range is a non-winter sport. This shooting range provides shotgun shooters sporting opportunities that are considered more challenging than traditional trap shooting. This facility is under construction at the tubing park area. A wobble clay range is also found at Cacapon Resort State Park in Morgan County. 

Bear Paw Lodge, the check-in area for downhill skiing at Canaan Valley, also has been upgraded. The work and renovations include new furnishing; roof replacement; energy efficient windows; and exterior upgrades, including paint, steps and retaining wall improvements.  Five contractors are involved in different aspects of the ski area improvements. Total cost of all ski area work is approximately $10 million including A/E fees.

Nearby Blackwater Falls State Park also is revamping its original sled run which is also slated for opening this winter. The two state parks are within 15 miles of each other and both appeal to the outdoor-minded person or families and offer winter indoor and outdoor facilities and activities.    

New digs for skiers, golfers and nature buffs coming in 2013

Lodge complex development includes two new wings, North and South, which consist of four levels with amazing views from the sleeping rooms and restaurant. Each level will have 42 guest rooms for a total of 168 rooms when the project is complete. Some guest rooms will have fireplaces and balconies. Rooms that are ADA compliant are included and all rooms will have flat-screen televisions, individual climate control, and wireless Internet access. VIP suites also will be part of the new digs, according to Mansberger. The new areas add almost 95,000 square feet to the existing facility for a total of 158,824 square feet. “Other than the architecture of the lodge, I think our biggest compliment from overnight guests will be the enclosed walkways for rooms and the increase of views of the valley from within the building structure from many vantage points,” says Mansberger.

The main lodge entrance will look different. The current entrance as the second story will have a glass canopy for panoramic views of the mountain valley. Four elevators, updated fire protection, electrical, and plumbing systems are all part of the scope of work that is a huge part of a project, but generally not easily recognized. Parking lot improvements, landscaping, loading dock modifications and meeting rooms also get a makeover, according to Mansberger. All renovations, additions, and upgrades, including parking lots, cover approximately 3.5 acres. The cost is $25 million. The primary contractor is Harbel, Inc. The anticipated lodge renovation project completion is slated for August 2013.

If you are looking for winter fun, find it at Canaan Valley Resort. Information about resort accommodations, skiing, and activities is posted online at   Lodging rates and specials are posted or call the state  park at 304-866-4121.


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