By Mindie Burgoyne
Western Maryland offers some of the most thrilling, unique winter recreation in the Mid-Atlantic region. In addition to skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and snowmobiling, try dogsledding, a horse-drawn sleigh ride, snow tubing or a ride on a Mountain Coaster.
Hours: Mon – Sat 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. RESERVATIONS Required
Price: Adults $16, Kids (3-12) $12, $60 per couple only (Romance Rides)
Who doesn’t dream of dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh? Pleasant Valley Dream Rides in Oakland offers just that. Five to seven people can pile into horse-drawn sleigh, snuggle under a blanket, and be pulled through the Pleasant Valley fields while taking in the agricultural landscape of Mountain Maryland. Sleigh rides are offered until 10 p.m., so a ride in the moonlight is an option. No snow? No worries. The sleigh can be outfitted with wheels and offer a similar ride minus the snow. Rides last about 45 minutes. Reservations are required.
Hours: Daily – Reservations Required
Price: Educational Tours – $100 minimum covers 5 people ($20 additional person), Mush Hours –
$195 ea. For 2 to 4 people, Musher Experience – $245 ea. for 2 people.
One doesn’t have to go to Alaska to see (or participate in) dogsledding. Husky Power Dogsledding, the southern-most dogsledding business in America, offers visitors a chance to see and experience mushers in action. The entire dogsledding experience includes learning about the equipment and processes of dogsledding, getting to see how this Siberian Husky team lives, trains and plays – and enjoying an exciting ride through wooded and open trails in scenic Mountain Maryland. If there’s no snow on the ground, there are wheels that snap onto the dogsleds to accommodate dry weather. This is once-in-a-lifetime fun.
Hours: Daily, year round – Check website for seasonal recreation
Price: Vary based on particular activity – check website
Maryland’s only four-season ski and golf resort has some of the most diverse cold weather recreational activities. WISP has always been a destination for skiers. The 132 acres of ski terrain include skiing and snowboarding opportunities for beginners, intermediates and pros. Lessons are available through private or group instruction for kids and adults.
Snow tubing allows a fun, safe way to zoom down a 750-foot long, snow-covered hill. Enjoy the downhill thrills of sledding and skiing, with no experience necessary. Tubes are provided and warm clothing is the only gear needed. Though snow tubers must be at least 42 inches tall to ride a tube, snow tubing is a fun sport for all ages, and no one has to walk back up the hill. More specifics on these snow tubing adventures is on WISP website.
A cross between an Alpine slide and a roller coaster, the WISP Mountain Coaster allows the driver of a 2-seater sled-like car to regulate his or her own speed with the use of hand brakes. The coaster cars weave in and out of forest, and twist and turn as they climb over 350 vertical feet on the eastern side of Wisp Mountain. For visitors who want to combine a package that includes snow tubing, ice skating and the Mountain Coaster, the Bear Claw Adventure Combo is available.
Mindie Burgoyne is an author, travel writer and tour guide living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her blog, The Travel Hag, shares information on outdoor travel for women. She is the author of Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales from East of the Chesapeake.