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Elk River Touring Center, WV

Cross-country skiing at Elk River Touring Center.

Glide into your next winter adventure at Elk River Touring Center, a cross-country ski destination that has that rare combination of top-end outdoor adventure access, quality infrastructure and affordability.

“We’re in such a great location to experience the Monongahela National Forest and we are knowledgeable about it,” says Mary Willis, who has owned the operation with her husband Gil since the early ’80s.

Five kilometers of trails criss-cross the valley right around the restaurant, lodge and cabins that make up ERTC. You can jump on Minnie’s Loop or the Springhouse Trail right from your door. Then venture into the Monongahela National Forest on your skis or snowshoes or get in the car to access more trails on the Mon, including those along the nearby Highland Scenic Highway, which closes to most vehicle traffic in the winter thanks to 150 to 200 inches of snow per season.

ERTC, located in Slatyfork, is just as popular in summer as a mountain biking destination. “As far as mountain biking, there are 30 miles of trail right out the door and about 200 miles of trail within 30 minutes by car,” Mary says.

Bring your rod and fish for wild brown, rainbow and brook trout. “The fishing here is really underrated because it’s a wild hatchery here and it’s very healthy,” Mary says. “Wild trout are smart.” Don’t forget to enjoy the (stuffed) trout again – for dinner at ERTC’s Elk River Restaurant.

Where it’s at: About four hours from Pittsburgh, in the heart of the southern Monongahela National Forest and near Snowshoe Resort; from I-79 south of Morgantown, WV, travel about 50 miles south to US 33 east (exit 99) for about 35 miles to Elkins; merge with US 219 south and travel about 55 miles to ERTC on the right (it’s about six miles past the turnoff for Snowshoe)

Contact: http://ertc.com, (304) 572-3771 or 866-572-3771

Digs: ERTC has lodging for all comfort levels and budgets, including a farmhouse, cabins and lodge ($80/four people and up)

Grub: The on-site Elk River Restaurant is as tasteful as its entrees, it is projected to open for the season Dec. 17, www.elkriverinnandrestaurant.com/restaurant.htm

Brew: They serve Mountain State Brewing Company beers on tap at the restaurant

Gear and Outfitting: Elk River Snowboard and Ski has equipment rentals, www.ridesnowshoe.com or (304) 572-4173

Cost: $5 day use fee