The start of the Pennsylvania ski/board season is here. Snowmaking has begun at many of the 21 area ski resorts. And, with the help of Mother Nature’s cooler temps and some natural snowfall, some resorts have opened for the winter season while many resorts are planning their official opening dates. This year you can look forward to some exciting improvements both on and off the slopes. For starters, the resorts have made big investments to their snowmaking systems, lifts and grooming fleets, with the goal of offering earlier openings, more skiable terrain, expanded snow coverage and a later season. Enhanced après ski options, RFID gates and upgrades to snow tubing parks and facilities have been added. And new rental equipment inventory will make it even easier to find the latest gear this season.
Whether you frequent the PA slopes or are interested in checking out a new resort this season, you’re sure to find the perfect fit right here in the Keystone State. Read on to learn more about some of the exciting highlights and key points of interest this season at your favorite SkiPA resort.
Bear Creek Mountain Resort
Interested in getting away from it all and enjoying a complete ski destination resort? Then, head on over to Bear Creek Mountain Resort. Nestled on over 330 wooded acres in scenic Berks County, Bear Creek Mountain Resort is just a short drive from Philadelphia, New York, D.C., and Baltimore. This season skiers can look forward to meeting up with friends for an Après ski experience at the new Polar Bear food tuck, which features an enhanced bar area. Season pass holders and hotel guests will also enjoy even more slope time with exclusive early openings on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Additionally, RFID gates have been expanded to include the beginner area magic carpet and tubing park, which means you’ll spend less time in line.
Experienced skiers, as well as those of you looking to tackle some of the sweetest rides, will enjoy a visit to Blue Knob Ski Area. The resort is home to the highest skiable mountain with the most challenging slopes in Pennsylvania. Blue Knob continues to focus on upgrades and improvements to its snow making system. This year supplemental water and air lines have been installed to accommodate additional snow guns to ensure quality snow coverage all season long. Those interested in renting equipment will enjoy a greater selection of new ski boots, helmets, skis, and snowboards at the Blue Knob Rental Shop.
Blue Mountain Resort
If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway a short drive from New York or Philadelphia, Blue Mountain Resort is a great option. Blue Mountain features the state’s highest vertical, the longest runs, and most varied terrain for every skill level. This season the resort has added a new high-speed, six-person lift, which will improve connectivity between the Valley Lodge and the Summit Lodge and dramatically improve access to the terrain on the western part of the mountain. The new lift will take you from bottom to top in under five minutes accommodating 3,000 guests per hour, which allows for greater time spent on the slopes. Blue Mountain has also made improvements to the automation of its snowmaking system and added a new groomer.
Home to the biggest snowtubing park in the U.S. and offering you and your family 166 acres of skiable terrain, Camelback Resort was very busy enhancing its offerings this offseason. Skiers and boarders can look forward to riding in the new Black Bear 6 chairlift this season. The six-pack, bubble lift carries 3,000 guests per hour, which is 600 more people than the previous lift’s capacity. The new lift offers a vertical rise of 687 feet and storage carrier at the top terminal to store the bubbles. Additional improvements include an expanded terrain park, the return of Galactic Tubing and snowmaking upgrades.
Elk Mountain Ski Resort
Situated in the beautiful Endless Mountains, Elk Mountain Ski Resort offers 180 skiable acres with 27 trails ranging from green to blue to black diamond, featuring a trail for every skill level. It’s a favorite resort for those of you looking for challenging terrain. Elk is committed to maintaining the beauty of the natural landscape of the Endless Mountains and has a tree planting program that dates to the late 1970’s. This season Elk planted 900 White and Norway Spruce trees to its upper Tunkhannock and Iroquois trails. The resort has also added LED lights to the Susquehanna and East Slope and plans to introduce a new season-long children’s program.
Hidden Valley Resort
Hidden Valley Resort is an ideal winter destination for families. With 26 slopes and trails and three terrain parks on 110 skiable acres, a vertical drop of 470 feet, and a first-class Snowsports school, Hidden Valley offers a comfortable environment to hone your skills or teach your friends and family to learn to ski or snowboard. This season the resort is boosting its snowmaking capabilities with the addition of seven HKD snow guns. Other improvements include a more streamlined sales system with cashless operations.
Jack Frost and Big Boulder Ski Resorts (JFBB)
The Jack Frost-Big Boulder Ski Resort are in the Pocono Mountains and just a few hours from New York City and Philadelphia. This season JFBB has received an Epic LIFT UPGRADE. Jack Frost has received three new fixed-grip, four person chairs and Big Boulder has received two fixed-grip four-person chairs. With the new chairs and consolidation of multiple lifts at both resorts, you will notice improved reliability and an overall enhanced experience. The lift project has helped create four new trails at Big Boulder. Many lodge improvements include reimagining the rental shop (and new retail shop at Jack Frost) expanded hours of operation at both, the return of snow tubing and new events.
Laurel Mountain boasts the highest vertical drop on the Laurel Ridge in Pennsylvania at 761 feet. If you’re looking for a challenging run, check out the double diamond Lower Wildcat slope, which is the steepest in the state. Spend more time on the slopes this season and less time waiting in line. Laurel has upgraded its Internet and sales systems for a streamlines cashless operation. Additionally, you will encounter even greater customer service and friendly faces as the resort is investing in its strongest assets, the team members.
Liberty Mountain Resort
Located near historic Gettysburg, Liberty Mountain Resort offers something for all winter sports enthusiasts from skiing, snowboarding and tubing to ice skating on the Alpine Courtyard Skating Rink. For this winter season, you can look forward to the re-opening of favorite on-mountain dining options and signature resort events.
Mount Pleasant of Edinboro
Nestled in the snowbelt region of northwestern Pennsylvania in Erie County, Mount Pleasant of Edinboro offers family-friendly winter fun for all ages. Most of the trails are lit up at night to allow for safe night skiing and snowboarding. The big news this year is the addition of a 120’ conveyor lift doubling the beginner’s area and improving the overall experience. Mount Pleasant has also renovated its rental shop and added HKD snow guns to expand its snowmaking efforts.
Roundtop Mountain Resort
Roundtop Mountain Resort is just two hours from Philadelphia and Washington D.C. The resort features night skiing seven nights a week and 100% snowmaking, making it a popular winter ski destination. For the upcoming ski season, Roundtop has added new LED lighting to its Minuteman Trail, enhancing the night-time skiing and riding experience. Additionally, you can look forward to the re-opening of on-mountain dining options and more seasonal events.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Conveniently located off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Seven Springs Mountain Resort is the state's largest four-season family resort and winter adventure headquarters. This season the resort has invested in its snowmaking capabilities by adding 28 new snowmaking towers on the Giant Steps Trail and replacing the snowmaking pipe on Phillip’s Run. You will also encounter even more friendly faces and exceptional customer service during your time on the slopes as Seven Springs has invested heavily in its strongest assets, its team members, increasing pay, benefits, and perks.
Shawnee Mountain Resort
Shawnee Mountain Resort is one of the Poconos favorite family ski resorts. Snowmaking covers 100% of all Shawnee’s 125 acres of skiable terrain, of which 90 percent are fully automated. The resort continues to make snowmaking upgrades as part of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar snowmaking project. This year three new fan guns have been added to the beginner’s area, as well as two new efficient snowmaking pumps. With these continued upgrades, you’re sure to enjoy lots of quality snow all season-long. Shawnee is an ideal beginner and family-friendly ski resort. And, this year the resort will offer lessons for first timers to advanced skier and riders online. There will be options for group lessons, packages with rentals, tickets, and semi and private lessons, too.
Ski Big Bear
Located just two hours from New York City, Ski Big Bear is a great winter ski destination situated on its own semi-private mountain. It’s a great option if you’re looking for convenience from the city without the crowds. The resort’s, Masthope Lodge is a perfect complement to the 18 trails, five lifts and 100% snowmaking. Ski Big Bear has added snow guns to its fleet to continually improve and expand its snowmaking capabilities. It has also added snowboards and boots to the rental inventory.
Spring Mountain Adventures
Spring Mountain Adventures is your year-round place for family fun located just minutes from the Lansdale Exit (#31) of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Families can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and skating in the winter. And, in the summer, Spring Mountain offers rock climbing and ziplining. The big news at Spring Mountain this year is SNOW and plenty of it. The resort just purchased a game-changing snow making machine that allows them to make snow in any temperature. The new machine along with other snow making upgrades will offer skier and riders an amazing snow-filled winter on the slopes.
Located on Two Top Mountain in the Tuscarora Mountains of Southern Pennsylvania, Whitetail Resort features skiing and snowboarding on 23 trails, a 935-foot vertical drop, eight lifts, a halfpipe, and two terrain parks. Whitetail invested in its snowmaking capabilities this season with the addition of six snow guns being added to the Homerun Trial. Additionally, Fallmount has received trail lights. And, trail maps, signage, water bottle filling stations have been added to make your day on the slopes easy to navigate.
To learn more about Pennsylvania’s ski resorts, visit the Pennsylvania Ski Area Association website, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great trip ideas and places to visit around our state.