Ski enthusiasts have been flocking to the Pennsylvania slopes since the 1940s when the first resorts opened in the Pocono Mountains. Most resorts offer a wide range of skiing for all abilities, with a vibrant après-ski scene, equipment hire and tuition available. January is the best month for snowfall, but slopes and lifts are open through to Easter or even beyond.
This resort is the largest ski area in the Poconos Mountains. The resort boasts 35 different slopes of varying lengths and difficulties. Skiing is the most popular activity on the slopes, but Camelback Mountain has a range of slopes for snowboarders, and the biggest snowtubing park in the USA. Slopes are floodlit for skiing after dark, and the fun doesn't stop in the summer either – there's also a huge waterpark with slides, rides and attractions. If you're planning on visiting Camelback Mountain several times over the winter look into getting a season pass which can considerably cut the cost of getting on the slopes.
If you're new to snowsports, Jack Frost Ski Resort is the ideal location for you. Most of the marked trails on the slopes are graded as beginner or intermediate, with nothing too much of a challenge. There are dedicated areas for tubing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding. In the lodge at the foot of the slopes you'll find restaurants, retail outlets, equipment hire and lockers. Jack Frost resort has invested heavily in snowmaking technology, guaranteeing top skiing conditions right through the winter ski season. The neighboring ski resort of Big Boulder is owned by the same company as Jack Frost, and combination passes are available which allow skiing across all the slopes which the two resorts have to offer.
The Shawnee Mountain resort usually opens at the beginning of December for guests to enjoy the 23 different slopes and trails. 75% of slopes are suitable for beginner or improving skiers, with tuition available for anyone wanting to brush up their technique. Snowmaking facilities on the slope guarantee skiing throughout the winter months, irrespective of what the weather's doing.
Pennsylvania is one of the best areas in the eastern US for a family vacation on the slopes. Nearly all the big resorts offer ski schools to teach the kids the basics, and incorporate other family-friendly activities along with skiing. Skiing in Pennsylvania is within easy reach of the biggest cities in the state, so if the kids get bitten by the skiing bug, it's possible to drive to the slopes in just a couple of hours from Philadelphia or New York.
The main attraction of Blue Mountain Resort is that it offers visitors a lot more than just skiing. In winter skiing is the main attraction, with 39 different trails served by 16 lifts to get you back to the top of the mountain. 14 of the trails are designated as beginner slopes and therefore ideal for children. Should you wish to ski without the kids, the resort has its own professional daycare. Away from skiing, the whole family can enjoy laser tag, high ropes climbing courses in the treetops, mountain biking and indoor laser tag.
This is a good choice for families with older children or teens who are competent skiers. The kids will relish the challenge of 26 trails, some of which drop over 1,000 feet from the top of the mountain to the valley floor. The biggest challenge is the Northface, 140 acres of black diamond level skiing. Less expert skiers can book into ski lessons in groups or with a private instructor, or try snowboarding or tubing as an alternative to skis. One of the best family-friendly activities is airboarding, where you hurtle down the slopes on your belly, lying on an inflatable bodyboard. At Montage Mountain the slopes are lit well into the evening, making airboarding ideal for post-dinner fun.
This mountain is one of the most northerly ski resorts in Pennsylvania, and one of the highest. There is a higher percentage of advanced slopes here, with night-time skiing under floodlights included in the cost of ski passes. The slopes rarely get crowded, so Elk Mountain is perfect for families who want to escape the crowds and learn to ski or snowboard at their own pace.