The snow is already blowing in the Pennsylvania mountains, which means the Pennsylvania Ski Area
Resorts (SkiPA) are getting ready to welcome skiers, snowboarders and snow tubers. Here’s your to-do list for the Pennsylvania slopes this 2017/2018 season.
You’re going to see a whole of me complaining about winter in these posts because man, I do not like to be cold. But winter is inevitable, and often quite pretty and invigorating, and my kids are absolute snow bunnies, and I’ve accepted that other people like to know about the many outdoor options that take place from November through April.
So with that in mind, I’m sharing info from SkiPA about where, when and why to snowboard, snow tube and ski in PA.
(But first…. If you’re like me and didn’t grow up hitting the slopes each year, or ever, you’ll want to check out SkiPA’s “First-Time Ski/Snowboard” program. For $59, you get a voucher for a beginner lift ticket, group lesson and complete rental that can be used anytime including holidays and weekends at participating Pennsylvania Ski Area Resorts. Quantities are limited, so sign up early— all orders must be received online by December 30th, 2017. Limited to five vouchers per household (great Christmas present, yes?).
What’s New at Pennsylvania Ski Resorts
for the 2017/2018 season
*Note: the following copy was provided by SkiPA. I’m not affiliated with them in any way.*
IN THE EAST
Bear Creek Mountain Resort, Lehigh Valley
Bear Creek Mountain Resort, a four-season destination resort, is conveniently located within a short drive from Philadelphia, New York, D.C, and Baltimore. It offers travelers a perfect weekend retreat for a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Winter sports enthusiasts can look forward to snow, and lots of it with new enhancements to Bear Creek’s already robust snowmaking system, providing the best possible conditions all winter long. The resort has also expanded its midweek deals this year, too, offering a $25 all day lift ticket for college students, as well as Loyal Ski Club members, police employees, fire department employees and EMS employees on Mondays through Thursdays (Non-Holidays).
Blue Mountain Resort, Palmerton
Blue Mountain Resort is just a short drive from Philadelphia and New York. It is home to Pennsylvania’s highest vertical, the most varied terrain, and some of the longest runs in the region. The resort has expanded its ski trail offerings this year. The Lower Sidewinder trail has been transformed into a ski trail and the Central Park trail has been enhanced to include a jump line. It also has upgraded its snow grooming capabilities with the addition of a new Pisten Bully 400 ParkPro, which will help optimize snow surface from terrain parks, to moguls and cruising trails. The ski access gates will feature paddles instead of turnstiles and greatly expedite the ticketing process. And, the Last Run lounge has been expanded and updated. Finally, Blue Mountain Resort is turning 40 years old this year on Dec. 22. To celebrate, the resort is hosting a Birthday Bash on January 2 and a host of Throwback Thursday Parties and ticket specials throughout the season.
Camelback Resort, Tannersville
Camelback Resort continues to reinvent itself since opening in 1963 with 14 trails and three lifts serving 41,656 skiers. Today, Camelback serves more than 1.7 million outdoor enthusiasts and visitors annually with 37 trails, 16 lifts, 100% snowmaking, the largest snow tubing park in the U.S.A. and the newly launched, after-dark Galactic Snow tubing. With the addition of Camelback Lodge & Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark in 2015, Camelback is now Pennsylvania’s premier four-season resort for family adventure. Nestled in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, Camelback offers a winter experience unlike any other with investments in two new snowmaking pipelines, a new HKD snowmaking system and taking on a complete renovation of the Cameltop Lodge at the mountain’s summit for the 17/18 winter season. In addition to the winter improvements, Camelback Resort is also adding a new Cyclone water slide to Camelbeach for summer 2018 & expanding the autumn after dark adventures with the new
Monster Mountain, featuring Kartrite’s Kurse Haunted House, Lights Out Zip Lines and Pennsylvania’s only Monster Coaster.
Elk Mountain Ski Resort, Union Dale
Elk Mountain Ski Resort is a perfect retreat for groups. This season the resort has put together a “Midweek Group Special” that rewards groups with a free ski trip after booking two individual group trips. Groups consist of 20 or more skiers. Offer is only available mid-week, non-holidays. Elk Mountain also offers group races, pizza or cocktail parties, luncheon and dinner buffets, as well as picnics and take-out suppers.
JFBB Ski Areas (Jack Frost and Big Boulder), Blakeslee
Jack Frost and Big Boulder are nestled in the Pocono Mountains just an hour from Philadelphia and two hours from New York City. The two mountains of Jack Frost and Big Boulder Park complement one another nicely and offer guests two experiences with one lift ticket. Jack Frost presents an out west vibe with glade skiing and riding. Big Boulder Park offers night skiing and riding, and for the more adventurous, offers a variety of terrain parks and features. JFBB is proud to be part of the Peak Resorts family. The new season ticket called the “Peak Pass” gives access to all seven Northeast Resorts for one price – Jack Frost, Big Boulder, Attitash, Crotched, Hunter, Mount Snow & Wildcat. Peak Resorts is proud to launch the “Peak Discover Program”, a new step by step lesson product aimed at giving skiers the opportunity to “Learn, Practice, & Explore” at any Peak Resort in the Northeast. It offers three lesson packages complete with rental & helmet for one low price. JFBB & Peak Resorts has also expanded the Military Discount Card Program offering all active duty, retired & honorably discharged members of the US Military who visit any Northeast Peak Resort a free Military Discount Card. This card entitles them to 40% off midweek/non-holiday lift tickets and 25% off weekend/holiday lift tickets. JFBB is known primarily for outstanding snow conditions and strives to be the first open and the last to close. For the 2017/2018 season, JFBB ski areas snow conditions are guaranteed. So, skiers not completely satisfied with their trail conditions, can simply return their ticket to Guest Services within one hour of purchase and receive a “Snow Check” good for the same lift ticket type and valid that season.
Shawnee Mountain Resort, East Stroudsburg
Located in the Pocono Mountains, Shawnee Mountain Resort is an ideal beginner and family-friendly ski resort. This winter Shawnee Freestylers will have two new terrain parks to play in. The premier park is now located on the Delaware Trail and will run from top to bottom with the addition of new snow features, innovative rails and a new Jib Plaza. And, to ensure there is ample snow, the resort has installed a new snowmaking pipe for the Country Club and Delaware Trails, as well as additional technological improvements to increase its snowmaking capabilities all season long. Finally, guests utilizing rental equipment are in for a treat this season with upgraded inventory including over 500 sets of Elan skis, 200 Flow and Rossignol snowboards and 200 Giro helmets.
Blue Knob Mountain Resort, Claysburg
Conveniently located off the Claysburg exit of Interstate 99, Blue Knob All Seasons Resort offers Pennsylvania’s highest skiable mountain at 3146 feet, the longest run at nearly 2 miles, six of the most challenging double black diamond runs and a 1072 foot vertical drop. This year, Blue Knob is under new ownership and will feature an upgraded snowmaking system, several hundred additional complete sets of ski and snowboard rentals, an additional slope and trail groomer, new day and twilight sessions, and tubing discounts for season pass holders. Weekday specials include discounts for seniors, college students, military and first responders. Groups of 15 or more will qualify for Blue Knob’s group rates for skiing, snowboarding and tubing. Interested groups may call (814) 239-1003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There will also be incentives for first-time skiers and snowboarders, events on the mountain and more.
Liberty Mountain Resort, Carroll Valley
Located near historic Gettysburg, Liberty Mountain offers something for all winter sports enthusiasts from skiing, snowboarding and tubing to ice skating on the new Alpine Courtyard Skating Rink. For this winter season, the top news at Liberty is more snowmaking power with the addition of five fully automated TechnoAlpin snow machines around the base area of the mountain. These guns will be integrated into the resort’s computerized snowmaking system, which is also receiving a full upgrade to the latest software technology. The new snow guns will enable the optimum production of quality snow in any condition and ensure longer-lasting snow coverage throughout the mountain. Additionally, Liberty has also purchased a brand new Pisten Bully 600 Winch Cat Groomer. This $400,000 state-of-the-art groomer is the largest and the most powerful snow-grooming machine around and includes an added “winching” attachment, which enables the snow cat to groom and push snow uphill. Finally, the resort is offering an exclusive ice skating season pass for $75, which provides unlimited ice time and skate rental anytime the rinks is open.
Roundtop Mountain Resort, Lewisberry
Located near the state capitol, the big news at Roundtop Mountain is snow. The resort has expanded its snowmaking capabilities for the 2017/2018 season with the addition of 11 new HKD snow guns and a new snowmaking pipe system for several of the slopes.
Whitetail Resort, Mercersburg
A popular weekend destination for Baltimore and Washington skiers and riders, Whitetail Resort has invested more than $1.1 million into upgrades this season. For starters, this summer, crews replaced the water line system on the Snow Dancer trail, which will result in a higher flow capacity and better reliability for this trail’s snow making system. On the snow tubing front, the Whitetail Adventure Tubing “Magic Carpet” conveyor belt system was also replaced and a new lane shaper was added to ensure a full season of fun for all. And, tubers can also look forward to the addition of an observation deck in the not too distant future. Ski and snowboard renters will find a fully upgraded and stocked inventory of the latest gear including 3200 pairs of skis, 3260 pairs of boots, 500 pairs of poles, 400 helmets, and 500 pairs of snowboard boots. Finally, Whitetail has made finishing touches to the new 31,000 square foot resort lodge expansion, which debuted this past year. Whether its getting the day started with a hot cup of cocoa in the Daybreak Cafe, an Italian specialty for lunch from the Mountain Hearth Pizzeria, or a relaxing dinner after a day on the slopes in the new Solstice full service restaurant, these newest offerings are sure to add to an already fantastic experience on the mountain for all.
Tussey Mountain Ski Resort, Boalsburg
Located in the heart of State College attractions and home to the Penn State Ski Team, Tussey Mountain is a popular winter recreation destination for students and locals alike. This year look for more snow earlier than ever as Tussey has invested in its snowmaking operation with the addition of 15 snow guns. The resort has also added new snowmaking lines up slope Tuscaror.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Seven Springs
Conveniently located off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Seven Springs Resort is the state’s largest four season family resort and winter adventure headquarters. Snow power is the key at Seven Springs Resort this winter. The resort has invested in its snowmaking capabilities by adding 66 HKD Impulse R-5 tower snow guns and six HKD R-5 Viper snow guns to the Wagner and Gunnar slopes, which use a reduced amount of compressed air, allowing the snowmaking team to tailor output to adapt the system to varying weather conditions. Additionally snowmaking stations on Gunnar Slope, Yodeler Trail and Lost Girl Trail are being converted to a high-pressure system, which will generate more snow and better quality. And, a 900-foot string of nine snowmaking towers has been added to expand the size of North Park, which has been redesigned into a broader crossstyle freestyle area, full of small and medium features, bank turns and transition. Nighttime ski enthusiasts can look forward to a new night ticket this year, available Sundays through Thursdays, from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Seven Springs has also added to its rental center with the addition of a brand new fleet of Rossignol children’s ski and boots and Burton snowboards and boots. Finally, many improvements have been made or are underway off the mountain, too. The Center Lobby and Bavarian Lounge are being completely renovated with updated flooring, finishes, accents and furnishings. The Bass Rock Cottage, located adjacent to the resort, has been completely renovated and is now available for reservations. The cottage sleeps eight and offers luxurious yet rustic accommodations with a private fishing pond and breathtaking views. The Seven Springs hotel is also being renovated. And, the resort’s main parking lot is undergoing a major upgrade including new lighting, walkways and crosswalks, plus additional aesthetic improvements including a rain garden and tree islands.
Hidden Valley Resort, Hidden Valley
Hidden Valley is a perfect winter destination for families offering 26 slopes and trails, two terrain parks on 110 skiable acres and a first-class snow sports school. This season the resort is boosting its snowmaking power with a brand new pump house. Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) were added, which will allow the snowmaking team to better control the output of the pumps, saving electricity and improving adaptability to conditions. Additionally, maximum output has been increased from 3,700 GPM to 4,700 GPM, allowing for up to 12 additional snow guns to be operated at a time.
Mystic Mountain at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington
Mystic Mountain is Western Pennsylvania’s ideal learning environment for first time skiers and snowboarders, with 25 acres of fun, short lines, friendly trails and experienced instructors. Skier, boarders and tubers can look forward to expanded operating hours for the 2017/2018 season. The skiing and snowboarding trails will now be open Thursdays through Sundays. And, the 800′ tubing park will be open five days per week. Mystic Mountain will also debut some special package offerings this season. The “Friends and Neighbors” package offers a reduced lift ticket and equipment rental on Thursday nights. And, on Friday nights, new skiers can take advantage of the “Learn Under The Lights” package, which includes a lift ticket, one-hour private lesson and equipment rental. For those looking to unwind after a long day on the slopes, the resort has expanded its seating on the back patio and will offer a food truck, providing a great atmosphere to relax. And, as always, Apex Restaurant offers some of the best views of the Laurel Highlands and will be open during the winter season.
More information on SkiPA and upcoming events: www.skipa.com
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