As Marylanders, we are fortunate to have the best of both worlds in our state; Ocean City beaches at one end and the Allegheny Mountain Range, forming the western side of the Appalachian Mountain Range, at the other. As Eastern Shoremen, we’re just plain lucky that we live smack dab in the middle of these worlds.
Around a four-hour drive from almost any location on the Mid-Shore, Wisp Resort, 296 Marsh Hill Road, McHenry, in Garrett County, may be the perfect not-too-far getaway to treat yourself to this winter. And if you haven’t skied or snowboarded in while — or if you’re a novice — this may be the perfect winter to treat yourself to such an adventure.
At the time I’m writing this, there’s an average base of 34 inches on the mountain, and conditions have been conducive to avoiding much snowmaking, although equipment is ready to go, if necessary. Wisp Resort sees about 100 inches of snowfall each season, and so far has seen about 32 inches this year. The resort is averaging about 3 inches of snowfall each week, so far.
Also, at the time I’m writing this, there are 33 out of 34 trails open, featuring 136 acres of terrain to explore, ranging in experience levels from beginning to expert. There’s even a Terrain Park for freestyle skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
Don’t worry if you haven’t been on your skis or a snowboard recently. There are a couple all-inclusive packages you can sign up for that include lift tickets, equipment rental, and group lessons.
Not a huge fan of heights, speed, or working that many muscle groups at once? There are plenty of other things to do at Wisp Resort, including snow tubing, ice skating at the ice rink at Mountain Park, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
And for the brave? There’s a Mountain Coaster. Wisp’s website describes the ride as “a gravitational hybrid of an Alpine Slide and a Roller Coaster boasting a 1,300-food uphill track while twisting, turning, dipping and rolling for 3,500 feet downhill over 35 vertical fee on the eastern side of Wisp Mountain. All this going about 28 miles per hour.
There are a host of events to take advantage of during your visit to Wisp Resort this winter, including:
• Stage Wisp Winter Concert Series — At 6:30 p.m. every Friday in February at Wispers Bar.
• Gold Medal Weekends — Feb. 9 to 11 and 23 to 25. Cheer on your favorite USA teams and athletes for the opening and closing weekends of the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. There will be games, competitions, torch light parades and giveaways.
If you’re looking to venture off the mountain for a day of adventure, you’ll find Deep Creek Lake, about a 17 minute drive, to be worth a visit.
According to Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County’s official website, “Deep Creek Lake is Maryland’s largest freshwater lake covering 3,900 acres.” And the lake doesn’t shut down for a little snow and ice. In fact, once the lake freezes over, you can ice fish at Deep Creek Lake State Park. And there are snowshoe tours at several locations offered weekly through All Earth Eco Tours, as well as horse-drawn carriage and sleigh rides, spas and shopping.
Maybe being outside during the winter isn’t your thing? Or maybe you’re all about that après-ski lifestyle? There are plenty of dining and shopping options at the resort, or you can venture into the towns of McHenry or Oakland to take part in their dining and nightlife options. There are wine and beer tasting tours offered throughout town just about weekly.
Of course, the best part about visiting someplace new, or maybe somewhere you haven’t been in a while, is exploring it all for yourself. But this ought to help get your trip off the ground and you into your next adventure.
For more information about Wisp Resort or to schedule a trip, visit www.wispresort.com or call 1-800-462-9477. You can find weather information, mountain reports and trail maps at the website, as well. For more information about Garrett County and Deep Creek Lake or to schedule your next visit during any season, visit www.visitdeepcreek.com. You can find directions and contact information for any aspect of your trip by visiting the website, as well.