Winter at Wisp

There’s nothing like an early season snowfall to make winter sports fans salivate and ski resorts start testing out the snowguns. At Wisp Resort, in western Maryland, spokesperson Lori Epp says the resort is primed for the upcoming season with a tentative opening date of Nov. 25 as long as the weather stays chilly.

But even if the temperatures don’t dip low enough for snow, vacationers have a cornucopia of activities to amuse and thrill. Treetop ziplines and a roaring mountain coaster offer a rush of adrenaline even when there’s no white in sight. And with a new Chipmunk Challenge Course, packed with a closer-to-the-ground zipline, younger family members and the more tentative risk takers can experience an airborne sensation.

“We had an amazing amount of people who wanted to do a zipline canopy tour together as a family,” says Epp. “This course works for ages four and up, with a weight limit of 250 pounds, so that parents can enjoy the same course as their children.”

Epp says the course is also ideal for adults whose fear of heights may hold them back from a more traditional course.

“We call it the first step in ziplines,” she says.

Through the winter season, the ziplines are open by appointment, and may not be always available, depending on the weather. But colder temperatures do mean the mountain will be available for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, in addition to other ancillary winter activities like ice skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling. The resort sells a number of combo passes to these attractions, like the Bear Claw Adventure Combo ($29 midweek, $42 weekend and holiday) which includes a snow tubing session, mountain coaster ride, and ice skating.

To add more variety to the pleasures of playing outdoors in the winter, Wisp Resort is partnering with three other regional ski areas for a season pass holder “Resort Swap” program. Wisp, Seven Spring Mountain Resort, and Hidden Valley resort all participated in the reciprocal program last year, where season pass holders could ski a day for free at one of the other resorts. This year, West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort has joined the trio.

“We received an overwhelmingly strong reception from passholders last year,” says Epp. “I really think it’s opening up opportunities for new skiers in our mid-Atlantic region to sample all of our mountains.”

Season pass holders should contact each resort for more details and check on restrictions. The resorts are also offering special lodging rates Sundays through Thursdays for season pass holders.

For even more savings, Wisp is offering $29 Monday Deal Days, which includes a day pass, equipment rental and group lesson. New midweek pricing is also available for lift tickets, only $29. Both deals have blackout dates. The resort is also offering a Midweek Madness lodging package for $59, which includes a night’s lodging and day pass (per person, double occupancy, subject to availability).

But hands-down, the greatest deal is the resort’s birthday celebration. To mark 56 years, the resort offers $10 lift tickets on Dec. 11 and 12, as well as discounted rentals and lessons. Entertainment, games, and cake make for a festive atmosphere.

Although Wisp Resort’s mother company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reorganize, Epp says visitors should see “no hiccups” in the winter sports season at Wisp.

“We’re geared up and excited,” she says.

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