FREE Standard Shipping on Orders Over $75

Racks and Accessories to Organize, Store, and Display Your Boards & Gear

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Best Place to Ski and Snowboard in PA - Takes a Look

By now you may know that I live in PA.  I have some significant time skiing here and have quite a few buddies who ski and like to make their opinion known.  So here is my roundup of top places to ski in Pennsylvania.  I know most of them are closed until next year but we can have a little debate here about where is the best place to ski in PA:

Pennsylvania has many ski resorts to pick from. There are many ski resorts scatter throughout the state. I will not have enough room here to cover each one in-depth but I will cover the highlights. The largest concentration of ski slopes in Pennsylvania is in the Poconos region. The further you travel north, generally the colder temperature and more snowfall accumulation which leads to better skiing. These are also the biggest mountains in PA which equates to more vertical feet and longer ski trails. There is a section in western PA that is in a “snow belt” and takes advantage of this with a couple of ski slopes, most notably being Seven Springs.

Carve the corduroy in PA!
Best places to ski are obviously a very subjective thing to rate. It really depends what you are looking for. If you are looking for the best terrain and snow – to me what defines the best places to ski, my list would include:
Unknown Gem:
5). Ski Roundtop
Elk Trail Map
Elk Mountain and Blue Mountain are in a duel about who has the most vertical feet in PA both have fairly long trails especially be PA standards. They also happen to top my list for best in PA. Blue Mountain is a much more modern ski resort than Elk Mountain but it also draws larger crowds.
On a “good snow year” Elk has a nice base of “real” snow and the terrain to capitalize on it, which is why it earns the top ranking for me. Elk Mountain has a great combination of steeps, usually a few bump runs, and a lot of nice cruising groomers. In my book this is the best place to ski in PA.
Blue Mountain has the modern high speed lifts which are nice and also has a few long intermediate and expert trails as opposed to most places with a steep section and then long flat run out. For me the crowds drop this mountain to #2 and also the fact that all the trails are usually groomed flat, where’s the challenge in that? I am also not a huge fan of their man-made snow quality.
If you are in western PA the place to be is Seven Springs. On snowy years you can catch a few mild powder days there which is always nice. Seven Springs has a lot of trails to offer to skiers of all abilities.
Camelback is also in the Poconos and similar to Blue Mountain but the trail are quite a bit shorter on most of the mountain. Camelback has two high speed lifts which really move the people but most of their steep sections are very short followed by the long run out. Cliffhanger is by far the star of this mountain but the generally shorter trails drop it to #4 on my list.
For my #5 rank I have a small ski resort in York County, Ski Roundtop. I will say I have a personal tie to this place, I grew up skiing here. Anyway, it is a smaller resort but I feel it has some of the best conditions in PA. The man-made snow is the Best in PA and they use their small number of slopes to the max. Ramrod, Gunbarrell, and Exibition will keep and expert happy for a day at Ski Roundtop. It also generally doesn’t have huge crowds even on the weekends like some of the Pocono resorts, Blue Mt and Camelback.
As you can tell my ratings are based on the mountain terrain and general ski condition. I know skiing to some people is not all about that. I will note that one of the best places to go for the resort aspect, lodging, food, spa, etc is Bear Creek in Macungie PA. It is an extremely small ski hill but the accommodations are probably the best in the state.

So what is your vote for BEST SKI SLOPE IN PA?  
Leave us a comment and let your voice be heard!