Pennsylvania may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of ski vacations, but the Keystone state has a lot to offer for winter sports enthusiasts. With over 20 ski resorts, Pennsylvania boasts a variety of options for all skill levels and interests. In this guide, we will take a closer look at the top ski resorts in Pennsylvania and what makes them unique.
A Brief Overview of Pennsylvania’s Ski Resorts
Before diving into the specifics of each ski resort, let’s take a look at what Pennsylvania has to offer as a whole. With a mix of small, family-friendly ski areas and larger resorts with extensive terrain, Pennsylvania has something for everyone. Here are some general features you can expect:
- Varied terrain: From beginner slopes to challenging black diamonds, Pennsylvania’s ski resorts offer a range of options.
- Snowmaking: Due to the relatively mild winters in Pennsylvania, many ski resorts rely on snowmaking to ensure consistent snow coverage throughout the season.
- Family-friendly: Many of Pennsylvania’s ski resorts are well-suited for families, with programs for kids and beginner-friendly slopes.
- Convenient location: Most of the ski resorts in Pennsylvania are located within a few hours’ drive from major East Coast cities.
Blue Mountain Resort
Located in the Pocono Mountains, Blue Mountain Resort is one of the most popular ski resorts in Pennsylvania. With 40 trails and 16 lifts, it offers a good variety of terrain for all skill levels. Blue Mountain is also known for its extensive snowmaking capabilities, which help ensure that the slopes are always covered with snow.
Some highlights of Blue Mountain Resort include:
- Night skiing: With 100% of the trails lit up at night, Blue Mountain offers a unique skiing experience after dark.
- Terrain parks: Skiers and snowboarders looking for a challenge can check out one of Blue Mountain’s five terrain parks, which include features like rails, jumps, and halfpipes.
- Family-friendly: Blue Mountain has a variety of programs for kids, including ski and snowboard lessons, daycare, and a youth racing team.
Camelback Mountain Resort
Another popular ski resort in the Pocono Mountains is Camelback Mountain Resort. With 34 trails and 16 lifts, it offers a good mix of terrain for skiers and riders of all levels. Camelback is also home to the largest snow tubing park in the United States, with 42 lanes and two magic carpets.
Some highlights of Camelback Mountain Resort include:
- Snowtubing: Camelback’s snow tubing park is a popular attraction, with lanes that are 1,000 feet long and a vertical drop of 120 feet.
- Terrain parks: Camelback has three terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders looking to practice their tricks.
- Family-friendly: Camelback offers a variety of programs for kids, including ski and snowboard lessons, daycare, and a youth racing team.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania, Seven Springs Mountain Resort is the largest ski resort in the state. With 33 slopes and trails, Seven Springs offers plenty of terrain for skiers and riders of all levels, as well as a variety of other winter activities like snow tubing, snowmobiling, and ice skating.
Some highlights of Seven Springs Mountain Resort include:
- Extensive terrain: With 33 slopes and trails spread out over 5 distinct areas, Seven Springs offers a lot of variety for skiers and riders.
- Snowmaking: Seven Springs has one of the most extensive snowmaking systems in the country, with over 1,000 snow guns covering 90% of the resort’s terrain.
- Luxury accommodations: In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Seven Springs offers luxury lodging options, as well as a variety of restaurants and bars.
Elk Mountain Ski Resort
Located in the Endless Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Elk Mountain Ski Resort is known for its challenging terrain and natural snow. With 27 trails and 6 lifts, Elk Mountain offers a good mix of runs for intermediate and advanced skiers.
Some highlights of Elk Mountain Ski Resort include:
- Natural snow: Due to its location in the snowbelt region of Pennsylvania, Elk Mountain receives an average of 6 feet of natural snow per year, making it a great option for skiers who prefer natural snow to machine-made snow.
- Challenging terrain: Elk Mountain is known for its steep, narrow trails, which offer a challenge for more advanced skiers.
- Family-friendly: While Elk Mountain is known for its challenging terrain, it also offers a variety of programs for kids, including ski and snowboard lessons, daycare, and a youth racing team.
Shawnee Mountain Ski Area
Located in the Pocono Mountains, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area is a smaller ski resort that is well-suited for beginners and families. With 23 trails and 7 lifts, Shawnee Mountain offers a good mix of terrain for skiers and riders of all levels.
Some highlights of Shawnee Mountain Ski Area include:
- Family-friendly: Shawnee Mountain is known for its programs for kids, including ski and snowboard lessons, daycare, and a youth racing team.
- Snow tubing: Shawnee Mountain has a snow tubing park with 6 lanes and two magic carpets.
- Night skiing: Shawnee Mountain offers night skiing on weekends and holidays.
While Pennsylvania may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a ski vacation, the state has a lot to offer for winter sports enthusiasts. With a variety of ski resorts that offer terrain for all skill levels, as well as other winter activities like snow tubing, snowmobiling, and ice skating, Pennsylvania is a great option for a winter getaway. Whether you’re an experienced skier looking for challenging terrain or a beginner looking to learn, there’s a ski resort in Pennsylvania that’s right for you.