Members of JMU’s ski and snowboarding club enjoy the snow on Massanutten Mountain, which is open until March.


As the weather in Harrisonburg gets colder, the outdoor activities available become limited. Massanutten Mountain is a place that offers students an escape from winter boredom and cooped up classrooms. The mountain is close to JMU and offers snowy slopes for skiing and snowboarding, an ice skating rink and snow tubing.

There are many specials available during the week for lift tickets and rentals at Massanutten. If you are a member of the JMU ski and snowboard racing team you can also receive a discount on the special value season pass. 

According to Guy deBrun, the assistant director for adventure and challenge course programs at JMU, UREC offers an event called ski spree during the winter that happens on Thursday nights. Students can ski or snowboard at Massanutten from 4-9 p.m. for only $26. A University Program Board sponsored bus takes students up to the mountain for free.

Various other discount days for ice skating, tubing and skiing or snowboarding include “College night special,” which allows students to buy an 8-hour lift ticket for $40 on Wednesdays and Fridays, and “College day” on Tuesdays where students get 50 percent off an ice rink session ticket. 

Massanutten Resort also holds an event in the winter called “Monday Night Madness.” This is a charity event where people can buy lift tickets for $20, and 50 cents from each ticket goes to the charity of the week. 

“We have worked with those charities for a number of years so we have a list of 10 of them that we rotate through each season,” Hess said. “They get different weeks.” 

These charities include the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition and the Rockingham Free Clinic.

According to Hess, the charities are guaranteed $350 if it’s not a busy day, or if there’s not enough snow. 

There are deals on lift tickets and rentals for students at Massanutten mountain almost every day of the week.

According to Kenny Hess, the director of sports and risk management at Massanutten, the resort generally has enough snow to be open until the third weekend of March. 

“Sometimes it’s a little later and sometimes it’s a little earlier — it just depends on the winter,” Hess said. 

Massanutten is only 20 minutes away from JMU, which makes it uniquely convenient. 

This is why Hess believes it is such a great outlet for students.

“You can come up after class and be home in time to eat or go back out,” Hess said. 

Hess estimates that about 100 students work at the winter activities on the mountain. According to Hess, anyone who works at the resort gets free passes to the ice rink, skiing and snowboarding, and tubing. 

Simon Hellman, a junior computer information systems major and the social chair of the JMU ski and snowboard racing team, believes that getting involved with the team is a great way to be social and and be a part of something at JMU. 

“Looking back at that first year it definitely helped me with the transition to college,” Hellman said. “Most of my friends here I met through the team.”

Although their practice mountain is Bryce Mountain, according to Hellman, “On any given day there is bound to be a bunch of our members at Massanutten as well,” he said. 

The team generally only has a few practices a year at Massanutten when they need to utilize their terrain park to practice slopestyle.

“Massanutten is a great little mountain,” Hellman said. “There are even a couple fairly long runs, which is hard to find this far south. The best thing about it is that it is right down the road and they do college nights with discounted lift tickets.” 

Contact Makena Rafferty-Lewis at