Fresh powder getaways in local Pa.

By Ryan Kirby
February 21, 2008

Pete Zimowsky/Idaho Statesman/MCT

Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway in the mountains, a quick trip to hit the slopes or a family vacation, you might be surprised that Pennsylvania’s area ski resorts have everything you need.

“People think you have to go to Vermont or Colorado to get the really good mountains. But if they gave some of our mountains a chance, they’d be pleasantly surprised,” avid skier Steve Botta said.

Pennsylvania’s most popular mountains include Big Boulder, Blue Mountain, Camelback, Elk Mountain, Jack Frost and Sno Mountain (formerly Montage Mountain).

“Sno Mountain is less crowded; there is never a line. They have new owners and also one of the steepest runs on the East Coast, White Lightning. They also have two terrains parks,” sophomore ski club member Jessie Holeva said.

Sno Mountain is about a two hour drive from the Philadelphia area but the new ownership boasts that the trip is more than worth it. They have added a 22 ft half pipe and include a rail park and jump park for both skiers and snowboarders alike.

“Elk is more of a skier mountain and less touristy,” Holeva said.

Elk Mountain seems much more focused on the skiers boasting that, “It’s like skiing in Vermont, without the drive!”

Jack Frost and Big Boulder resorts are now one in the same, both being owned and operated by PEAK Resorts and being located within five minutes of each other. This resort is the biggest in the area, offering up to 46 daily runs along with terrain parks on both mountains and snow tubing.

“That’s where we always go. Jack Frost and Big Boulder are open at night and always have the best deals. Plus the mountain is only an hour and a half away,” senior snowboarder Matt Moore said.

Camelback Ski Resort has the strongest statistics of any mountain in Pa. They have over 1,500 snow guns, can fit over 18,000 people on the mountain at a time, have 15 lifts and 33 trails, which are all equipped with lights for night skiing. Camelback caters to beginners and experts using 15 percent of the mountain for expert trails.

“We definitely think that we are a leader in the area for skiing. We produce as much snow and are open for as many hours as most of the famous Vermont area resorts, but you don’t have to take the eight-hour ride to get here,” Camelback lift attendant Paul Stevenson said.

No matter what you are looking for this winter, there is a mountain in the area that will fit your need. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to put ski’s on or if you’ve had them on hundreds of times, you don’t have to go all the way to Vermont for the experience you are looking for.

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Ryan Kirby

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