This week the mountain bike national championship is being held at Snowshoe -- these athletes are really hitting the trials hard! Some huge speed, jumps, and crashes. If this looks a little above your biking skill level, don't worry! There are all levels of trails at Snowshoe -- for beginners through pro -- plus they rent awesome bikes that are specifically made to flow over all sorts of obstacles. Our favorite trail is Skyline in the Western Territory -- long, flowy, and lots of jumps that you can hit hard and get long flights, or if you're more timid you can roll over with much more control.
Since purchasing our condo, we have typically used VRBO/Homeaway as our primary interface for reservations. Over the past few years lots has changed in the vacation rental marketplace and we've tried to keep up, try new things, and figure out the best balance between guest experience, our needs, and costs. Using many of these systems provide a "peer review" of our place through guest and owner reviews and many offer some protections and guarantees that might help in case of serious issues. Unfortunately, more often than not, these companies try to hide behind their terms and conditions and fail to support either guest or owner when they can avoid it. Here's my take on the different systems:
Airbnb -- this is a big one in the media and there's lots of exposure, but we typically only get about 10% of our booking from here. The system is very "walled", or they limit and control many of the things we can do as well as things you can do as a guest. Guests also must pay Airbnb a fee for booking through their system. As the property owner, I'm charged fees for the credit card processing only.
VRBO/Homeaway -- In the past I was just charged close to $1000/ year for their services on a subscription basis and a credit card fee on bookings. They were recently purchased by Expeida and for the past year or so institute a guest paid "service fee" for bookings. My subscription fees went down to I think about $400/yr, but it does seem that VRBO is double dipping a bit as they get paid on both ends of the deal. With the new service fees paid directly to VRBO/Homeaway/Expedia they are now walling off and filtering many of the communications and interactions during the booking process. Both companies want you to pay first so they can ensure that they get their money, before they allow the owner and guest to freely communicate, share websites, and otherwise build the relationship.
All the others work similarly, but they don't have the exposure that brings in bookings so I don't currently use them much. The more systems we use, the more effort it takes to sync calendars, ensure pricing is the same, and the more detailed workflows we need to be familiar with.
Since you're reading this on my website I will say that the best way to book is to contact us directly -- I can book you in without any of the service charges and I can help answer questions and freely chat with you as you're making your decision of which property at Snowshoe will work best for your visit. I will still manage our booking through the vrbo/homeaway platform -- so you will get emails through their system that provide the welcome letter and automatic reminders before and after your visit. In my opinion this is the best scenario -- lower costs for you and higher value for me -- again hopefully a win win.
Snowshoe always plans a full calendar of events and activites for everyone to enjoy. Here's what they have planned for this winter -- of course everything is subject to change....
NOVEMBER 23 | Official Opening Day (weather permitting) Welcome to the 2016.2017 ski season! It’s time again for first tracks, rope drop, powder stashes and an entire season of fun. Help us celebrate the return of winter with this kick-off to another great season.
DECEMBER 3 – 4 | Demo Days The biggest names in the business will be here all weekend long, letting you teste drive the latest gear. Open to the public. Must be 18 years or older, or have a parent or guardian present to demo.
DECEMBER 10 | West Virginia Ski Free Day We’re giving out free lift tickets to all residents of West Virginia! Yep, you heard us right. Just bring your proof of residency and get a ticket to ski and ride to your heart’s content.
DECEMBER 17 | Winter Brew Fest Sample more than 50 beers from local favorites to nationally recognized award winners, all while enjoying the funky sounds of Optimus Rift and Lewisburg’s own The Spanglers.
DECEMBER 17 | Early Season Rail Jam Knock the rust off, get your snow legs back, and start the season off right with the region’s best jibbers and jumpers!
If you need rental equipment for your visit to Snowshoe, you've got lots of options - the typical guest rents directly from Snowshoe and has to head over to the rental shop under Expedition Station in the village.
You can also pick up rentals at a savings some of the private rental shops such as the Ski Barn, Route 66, Elk River Snowboard and Ski, and Snow Creek. You will still need to go visit the shop to get fitted and pick up the equipment.
You can save time and hassle of standing in line and schlepping all the gear across the village or from your car by using a new service that is now available for all guests. Snowshoe Ski Delivery will take your online reservation and then delivered everything straight to the condo! They have skis, snowboards, blades, and all the equipment that you might want.
Don't worry about getting boots that won't fit -- they'll bring some options and make sure you get the best fit for a great day on the mountain. It looks like they stock regular "performance" packages and you can also get some "demos" that are typically higher end skis for advanced skiers. Check out their site and get your reservations in!
With 11,000 acres of pristine mountain wilderness up for grabs, what you do with it is all up to you. From hiking and biking to swimming and stargazing, your adventure options here are nearly endless. Let ’ s soak up a season of good times. Let's Go Adventuring!
MA Y 2 7 th | O p e n i n g D a y f o r S n o w s h o e B i k e P a r k
Get those lifts and wheels spinning! The Snowshoe Bike Park kicks off another great season of downhill mountain biking. The park is open for all ages and experience levels. We’ve upped our game for beginner riders, making the park more accessible than ever. Learn as you ride with a new interactive element on our beginner terrain. You’ll be advancing through the park or cruising comfortably in no time.
MA Y 2 8 th | K i d s A d v e n t u r e G a m e s ™
The coolest kids adventure-‐obstacle race on the planet is back! Kids Adventure Games™ offers kids, ages 6 to 14, the opportunity to experience the thrill of adventure racing. The races emphasize teamwork, problem solving, sportsmanship, environmental awareness and fun! kidsadventuregames.com
MA Y 2 7 th – 28 th | W i n e & J a z z F e s t i v a l
Satisfy all your senses. Wine tastings paired with gourmet bites will entice your palate. Jazz musicians will entertain your ears. Top it all off with gorgeous mountain vistas and you’re set for a weekend to remember.
MA Y 2 7 th – 29 th | P r o p e r t y O w n e r s W e e k e n d
Welcome home! Now is the time for some respite – however you choose. Get your adrenaline going or wind down by taking it slow. Come enjoy your mountain and learn all about the new things we have in store for the coming year.
Jun 3 - 5
Unplug from the ordinary. Adventure awaits. Wanderlust is an all-out celebration of mindful living. We bring together a remarkable group of yoga and meditation instructors, musical performers, speakers, artists and chefs for a transformational retreat. This is an experience that will get into your mind, body and soul. Find your true north. WANDERLUST.COM Jun 10
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While already well into the first week of January, the bluebird skies and more mild temperatures pulled me to Snowshoe for my first tracks of the season. The conditions were great and no lines to slow me down. While there was limited terrain open, there was tons of snow and the on the snow crew are working to expand and get new things open. Two new runs opened today (wish they were open yesterday when I was there!)
At the condo, I dropped off a new cookware set -- great enamel non-stick pans that all match and have all the pieces should make cooking (and cleanup) lots better. Checked things over and made sure that the condo's in great shape and ready for the season!
Walking through the village, the proposed plans to double the size of the Starbucks apparently never got going, but there are two new eating options -- both fitting into the "Quick Service" category -- something the mountain has been missing! The first and most interesting is Nick B's Baked Empanada and Chimmichurri Sauce - with a walk up window and what looks like you can use the patio tables in front of the Junction Restaurant. The empanadas were tasty! Also don't miss the Gourmet to Go outlet between the Sunset Cantina and the Mountain Adventure Center in the base of the Allegheny Springs building. Didn't check it out too close, but if the name is any indication -- this should be a great place to pick up some prepared or mostly prepared meals to enjoy back at the condo.
After a crummy week of rain that melted a lot of work that the snowmakers had built up, a couple of good days shows the snow whales are looking good again and we're excited for the season to get started!! This picture from 9:00 AM from the Shavers Center webcam shows lots of additional coverage and a beautiful bluebird day. Fingers crossed that we'll be posting about the open ding day announcement any day now! The reports from some internet discussion forums indicate that the snow held up better than they expected during the warm rains of last week and that even the work they've done on the Western Territory (Cupp Run) looked surprisingly good. They put in a huge investment in new snowmaking guns over there with the expectation that it would open up at the same time as the main basin trails -- a huge win if the mountain team can get the weather to cooperate!
Of course, if you're still looking to get your trip planned, check out our calendar andcontact me for any help you need setting up a short or long visit to the best in the region.