One of my goals for 2013 is to go on at least four “outings” with my children. This may sound absurd but my children are ten years apart in age and live in different parts of the state. My daughter is 12 and lives with me in Charlottesville while my son is 22 and lives in Alexandria where he works and goes to school. Since they both enjoy snow sports, I thought it would be a fun to kick off the year with a day at Wintergreen and a meal at the famed Blue Mountain Brewery on the way home.
The last time I skied at Wintergreen was sometime in the ’70’s when the resort was new. Since then, several slopes have been added along with a tubing run and a tiny ice rink. There are also more restaurants and a spa. Although I am a spa junky, this day was about the kids so I stuck close to the slopes in order to cater to their needs.
There was about an inch of ice covered snow whitening the mountain along the windy drive up to the ski area providing that wintery feel that makes one want to do things like ski or snowboard. At the top of the road to the ski area, two attendants greeted us and directed us to day parking which was a breeze as we arrived at about 9:00am on a weekday (Jan. 2). Check-in and rental experiences were great. The staff were all friendly, knowledgable, professional and helpful.
My daughter needed skis and boots. She has been skiing since she could walk and has enjoyed ski trips to places like Whistler and Park City but “we” (meaning me, her father and her ski bunny paternal grandmother) have neglected to invest in equipment for her since she is still growing. My son, on the other hand, who attended boarding school at Wasatch Academy in Utah, (a school with its own snowboarding slopes that includes weekend passes to Park City as part of the school experience) owns a snowboard and boots but left his snowboard at home in NOVA because he could not check it on the Amtrak train that carried him to C-ville. Rental is always a time consuming affair but Wintergreen has a sort of theme park way of handling equipment distribution with small specialized stations arranged in a direct line that kept us moving. It only took about 30 minutes to get them both outfitted and out on the snow.
Due to some new snow making equipment, Wintergreen had a deep base 30 to 40 inches of snow. I headed to the lodge for some tea and to work. Wintergreen lacks a good coffee shop hang out space so I sat in the lobby area near the fireplace as some staff plucked ornaments off the Christmas tree to pack them. I guess no one told Wintergreen that Christmas goes through January 6th and that a Monday may be a better day to worry about dismantling decor than a relatively busy holiday week.
The kids were out all morning and had a blast. At about 1:00pm they were cold and tired of the short slopes and long lift waits so we packed back into the Escape to eat a late lunch at Blue Mountain Brewery. I have eaten there before and had a wonderful experience but not so much this time around. Firstly, the indoor temp was frigid. People were keeping their coats on indoors. Our server was a bit scatterbrained even though business was fairly slow but she did let us move into a booth when one came up.
I eat a gluten free diet and BMB you can get any of their yummy pizzas on GF crust- which is great. But the pizza I had this time was undercooked and served luke warm on a cold plate with salad but our waitress disappeared after bringing our lunches and my daughter was so hungry that she ate most of it before we could tell anyone about it. I ordered hot water with lemon and it was also just warm rather than hot- quite unsatisfying considering the temperature in the restaurant. We were brought two plates for sharing the pizza and salad, one of which was slimy with greece with food remnants still on it.
My son, however, thoroughly enjoyed his burger and beer and the Kambucha my daughter and I shared was good.
I was really disturbed by the difference in my previous experience at BMB with this visit and would go back to discern if this is a permanent downgrade to service and food quality or if this was a post holiday glitch.