Canaan Valley Resort State Park

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Canaan Valley Resort State Park
West Virginia State Park
Blackwater River Canaan Valley Resort State Park.jpg
Blackwater River in the park.
Map showing the location of Canaan Valley Resort State Park
Map showing the location of Canaan Valley Resort State Park
Map showing the location of Canaan Valley Resort State Park
Map showing the location of Canaan Valley Resort State Park
Location Tucker County, West Virginia, United States
3,360 ft (1,020 m)
Nearest city Davis, West Virginia
Coordinates 39°01′25″N 79°27′57″W / 39.02361°N 79.46583°W / 39.02361; -79.46583Coordinates: 39°01′25″N 79°27′57″W / 39.02361°N 79.46583°W / 39.02361; -79.46583
Area 6,015 acres (24.34 km2)
Established Land acquired in 1957[1]
Opened in 1971
Operator Guest Services, Inc.

Canaan Valley Resort State Park is a state park in the eastern United States, within Canaan Valley in Tucker County, West Virginia. Located in the highest valley east of the Mississippi River, the park contains the second-largest inland wetland area in the United States.[2] The valley featured the first commercial ski development in West Virginia.


In 1950 and 1951, members of the Washington Ski Club identified the Canaan Valley side of Cabin Mountain as an opportune place for ski development,[3] based on pilots' reports. Because of its protection from the sun, snow on that side of the mountain often remains until April or later.

The club began slope development in the early 1950s,[4] signing a ten year operational lease with local landowners in 1954.[3] Their slope, named Cabin Mountain Ski Area, featured two rope tows on 40 acres (0.16 km2) of terrain stretching from route 32 to a height of 3,600 feet (1,100 m).[5] Runs extended .25 miles (400 m) down a slope with a vertical drop of 300 feet (91 m). It was the first commercial ski establishment south of the Mason–Dixon line. The ski area closed in 1962.[3]

In 1955, University of Virginia School of Law student Robert Barton established Weiss Knob Ski Area, climbing the slope of Weiss Knob above the Cabin Mountain site to a height of 3,900 feet (1,200 m). It featured 60 acres (0.24 km2) of terrain serviced by a T-bar as well as three rope tows.[5] This site was acquired by the state of West Virginia in 1959,[3] so Barton reopened "Weiss Knob Ski Area" at a new site on Cabin Mountain's Bald Knob. Opening in fall 1959, the new site featured four rope tows and the first snowmaking equipment in West Virginia; in its first season, 412 inches (1,050 cm) of snow fell, burying the equipment and closing the facility for the year.[6] The resort remained open until 1970, when the impending opening of Canaan Valley Resort prompted Barton to go out of business.[3] This new ski area was actually a redevelopment of the original Weiss Knob site;[5] the second Weiss Knob site would be re-opened as the second home of White Grass Ski Touring Center in 1981.[7]

In 1957, the state of West Virginia made its first land acquisition with an eye toward further developing a ski industry in West Virginia. Sarah Maude Thompson Kaemmerling granted 3,149 acres (12.74 km2) to the state in the 1950s for the formation of a state park[3] with the stipulation that the state make a matching 3,000-acre (12 km2) acquisition.[2] The state would go on to claim more than 30 properties between 1964 and 1970.[3] It was not until 1971, however, that the Canaan Valley Resort State Park was established centering on the ski slopes at the southern end of the Valley. In 1972, an 18-hole golf course was also constructed there. The lodge at Canaan Valley Resort State Park Lodge opened in 1977.[8]

The park has been very successful and several private ski operations have opened nearby and in other parts of the state as well.

Canaan Valley Resort[edit]

Canaan Valley
Location Canaan Valley
Tucker County
West Virginia, U.S.
Nearest city Davis
Coordinates 39°01′25″N 79°27′57″W / 39.02361°N 79.46583°W / 39.02361; -79.46583
Vertical    850 ft (259 m)
Top elevation 4,280 ft (1,305 m)
Base elevation 3,430 ft (1,050 m)
Skiable area 91 acres (0.37 km2)
Runs 39
Longest run 1.1 miles (1.8 km)
Lift system 3 chairlifts, 1 tow
Lift capacity 6,000 per hour
Terrain parks 2
Snowfall 150 inches (380 cm)
Snowmaking 75% of trails
Night skiing Fri-Sat to 8 pm
50% of trails
Website Canaan

Canaan Valley Resort opened for skiing in 1971, on the original site of Weiss Knob Ski Area. It offers 47 ski trails, one terrain park, snow tubing, and since the 2005-06 season has been one of six ski areas in the U.S. to allow airboarding on its slopes. [9][10] A chairlift and rope tow access the resort's beginner skiing area, on the far right of the mountain (facing up the slope). Other than this terrain and one long green trail running from the summit to the resort base, practically all the mountain terrain is marked more difficult or most difficult. These blue and black slopes generally descend the mountain at the same pitch, regardless of their difficulty marking.[2] A triple chair and quad chair access the resort summit; the latter also has a mid-mountain station, which is the point at which airboarders are separated from other mountain users.[11]

Amenities and recreation[edit]

Canaan Valley Resort State Park features a 160 room lodge, plus 23 cabins & cottages, and 34 campsites. The park also provides hiking trails, bike trails, ski area, and 18 hole championship-level golf course.


On Sunday, February 14, 1988, a mid-day explosion and fire in a maintenance building killed three men who were attending an air compressor for the snowmaking system. The building also contained several drums of chemicals.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Where People and Nature Meet: A History of the West Virginia State Parks. Charleston, West Virginia: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company. April 1988. ISBN 0-933126-91-3. 
  2. ^ a b c Phillips, John (2001). Ski and Snowboard America - Mid-Atlantic: The Complete Guide to Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross Country Skiing, Snow Tubing, and More Throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 0-7627-0845-X. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Lesher, Dave (April 2008). "The Early History of Skiing in Canaan Valley" (PDF). Chronicles of the Tucker County Highlands History and Education Project. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  4. ^ Fansler, Homer Floyd (1962), History of Tucker County, West Virginia, Parsons, West Virginia: McClain Printing Company, pg 595-6
  5. ^ a b c "DCSki Lost Ski Area Profile: Weiss Knob Ski Area". Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  6. ^ Cox, Therese S. (1999-03-01). "First came the springs then the rafting and skiing then the lure of the outdoors then the festivals, then the . . .". Charleston Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 2006-03-18. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  7. ^ Taylor, Mark (2003-02-09). "Trail leads to good times". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  8. ^ Michael, Edwin Daryl (2002), A Valley Called Canaan: 1885-2002, Parsons, West Virginia: McClain Printing Company, pp 221-222.
  9. ^ Tsai, Catherine (2006-01-26). "The ultimate in sledding: Airboard takes off on the slopes". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  10. ^ Holcomb, Carl (2009-02-17). "Examiner Sports: Airboarding Article". Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  11. ^ Cooper, Rachel (January 2007). "Airboarding - A New Winter Sport". Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  12. ^ "Blast, fire kill 3 at a ski resort". Lewiston Daily Sun. Maine. Associated Press. February 15, 1988. p. 9. 
  13. ^ "Three killed in explosion at ski resort". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. UPI. February 15, 1988. p. C-6. 

External links[edit]