On September 9, 2020, Brad D. Smith sat down for a Q&A session with writer…
Brad D. Smith Shares the Top 6 Activities to Do this Winter in West Virginia
As the colder months roll in, many of us retreat indoors for the season. While you may stay warm in your home, there’s a host of adventures to delve into this winter in West Virginia. Bundle up, get outside and explore these activities and destinations below.
Wild, Wintery West Virginia
West Virginia is home to 35 state parks. That makes for endless possibilities when it comes to exploring the Mountain State’s natural beauty, regardless of the season. From snow-capped mountains and frozen waterfalls, to breathtaking ski trails, explore West Virginia’s winter.
Blackwater Falls State Park
No winter season is complete without a day of sledding in the snow. Step up your family’s sledding experience at Blackwater Falls State Park, home of the longest sled run on the East Coast. The quarter-mile track is accompanied by a conveyor belt for easy sledder transportation. While visiting the park, take a moment to stop by Blackwater Falls’ namesake– an astonishing 62-foot cascading waterfall frozen into a curtain of ice.
Canaan Valley Resort State Park
Canaan Valley Resort State Park offers guests a host of snow sports and amenities in one of West Virginia’s largest state parks. Apart from the full-service lodge, cabins, and campgrounds, the park has 47 trails for downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and even snowshoeing. The park also boasts a snow tubing park and covered ice rink. Canaan Valley Park’s high elevation and snowfall (averaging to 180 inches) make for a lengthy snow sports season that guests can enjoy throughout the colder months.
Unique Holiday Traditions
Beyond the beautiful winter scenery, West Virginia is home to a few unique winter traditions. From Christmas light displays and parades to historic home tours, there are plenty of West Virginia holiday traditions to enjoy and make lifelong memories this season. Learn about some of the holiday celebrations held exclusively in the Mountain State.
Oglebay’s Winter Festival of Lights
Oglebay Resort is home to the Winter Festival of Lights, a world-renowned drive-through light spectacular. Visitors can view the six-mile light display from their own vehicle or by hopping aboard an Oglebay trolley. Make a note to turn up the radio and listen to the corresponding music for an especially festive experience.
Fasnacht in Helvetia
Settled by Swiss and German immigrants in 1869, Helvetia, West Virginia, honors the village’s heritage by preserving music, food, and holidays such as Fasnacht, one of the most anticipated village events. Fasnacht, meaning “fasting night” in Swiss, is celebrated before Fat Tuesday and stems from Germanic celebrations of letting loose and using up ingredients that could not be eaten during lent. In Helvetia, Fasnacht attendees don homemade masks and enjoy festivities such as dancing and indulging in traditional food and drink.
When the winter weather gets intense, you can still get out of the house and see something new or cheer on a West Virginia team this winter.
Marshall University Winter Sports
As an alumnus and Marshall University’s 38th President, Brad D. Smith strongly recommends supporting the Thundering Herd as the winter sports teams take on their opponents. Head to Cam Henderson Center to cheer on womens and mens basketball teams. Visit HerdZone for game schedules and other information on supporting Marshall this winter.
Tour a Specialty Museum
West Virginia offers locals and tourists a plethora of museums covering a range of focuses from history to more niche interests such as the legendary Mothman Museum. No matter what your interests are, the winter months are a perfect opportunity to visit a local museum. Learn more about some of West Virginia’s most unique museums here.
Winter Fun for Everyone
Don’t let the cold weather limit your winter fun. No matter what adventures you embark upon this winter, take time to expand your horizons and explore all the Mountain State has to offer.