Top 5 Best Ski Resorts in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has a number of good ski resorts that offer people on the East Coast the opportunity to get turns in during the winter. These resorts aren’t always large, but they do have enough snow to run lifts all season long. 

I’m a lifelong skier with a strong passion for the sport. I’ve had the opportunity to ski all over the world and have spent time at several of the best resorts in Pennsylvania. I’ve researched the others and know what makes a good skiing location. 

In this post, I’ll highlight the top ski resorts in Pennsylvania. I’ll explain some key features that make each resort stand out and tell you what services and amenities you can expect to find if you visit. 

Let’s jump in. 

1. Elk Mountain

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 15 (Average) 
  • Closing Day: March 30 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Lots of natural snow, long vertical drop, night skiing

Elk Mountain is one of the best ski resorts in Pennsylvania and claims to get the most natural snow of any resort in the state. This means you can expect decent conditions nearly all year round, which translates into a lot of fun. 

The resort also has a pretty good vertical drop of nearly 1,000 feet, so you’ll be able to cruise down the runs any way you like. You get access to 180 acres of skiable terrain from Elk Mountain’s seven chair lifts. 

The Elk Mountain ski school offers lessons for all types of skiers, and you can find an instructor to help you improve your skills in the snow. There is also a rental shop at the base, and it’s easy to get equipped with whatever gear you need. 

There aren’t a lot of lodging and dining options right at the resort, so you’ll need to drive to nearby towns to access full amenities. But this helps to keep the crowds down, leaving you with wide-open slopes to ski.

2. Blue Mountain

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: November 25 (Average) 
  • Closing Day: March 25 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Longest vertical drop in PA, food trucks, night skiing

Blue Mountain is another one of the best resorts in Pennsylvania, and this location is home to the longest vertical drop in the state. You’ll have nearly 1,100 feet to descend once you make it to the top, giving you long runs to cruise and carve. 

The resort gets decent snow coverage, especially after a storm, but they do an excellent job of supplementing the base with artificial snow to keep all trails open as long as possible. You’ll have access to the trails whenever you visit. 

Another great aspect of Blue Mountain is its night skiing. Almost every trail stays open after the sun goes down, so you can ski as much as you want during a visit here. It can get cold at night, but there typically won’t be much of a crowd.

Blue Mountain is also well known for its terrain parks, and there are five different parks to explore here. Ski lessons and equipment rentals are easy to set up at the base of the mountain. There are also plenty of house rentals and hotels in the nearby vicinity. 

The resort can get icy when there hasn’t been much fresh snow. This is typical for the region, but you should still be prepared for skiing in less-than-ideal conditions. 

3. Blue Knob

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 20 (Average)
  • Closing Day: March 20 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Technical terrain, the highest resort in PA

Blue Knob earns the title for being the highest resort in Pennsylvania. This leads to pretty solid snow conditions when the storms roll in and long runs that skiers of all varieties can enjoy. It’s a fun resort with technical terrain experienced skiers will appreciate. 

This resort is one of the only locations in the state that has bowl skiing. These runs can be excellent after a fresh snow, and although they aren’t as big as bowls in the west, you can still have a blast skiing through them. 

Even though there are a lot of intermediate and advanced runs here, you’ll still be able to find easy greens and groomers near the top. The ski school at Blue Knob is excellent, and you can work on new skills if you sign up for a lesson. 

There aren’t a ton of amenities or accommodations at Blue Knob, which is somewhat of a bummer. There is a good BBQ restaurant midway down the mountain and a handful of ski-in/ski-out chalets in the village. 

4. Camelback

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 15 (Average)
  • Closing Day: April 1 (Average) 
  • Best Known For: Large acreage, nighttime tubing, large lodge

Camelback is one of the larger ski resorts in Pennsylvania, allowing for plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the slopes during your stay here. The resort has 166 acres of skiable terrain and an 800-foot vertical drop. 

This is a pretty family-friendly location, so it makes for a good extended ski trip or getaway with the entire clan. You can take lessons or get everyone set up with rental equipment in the full-service shop at the bottom of the hill. 

Camelback is also well-known for having a massive lodge at the mountain base. It has almost 500 rooms and makes for a great place to stay the night and get in as much skiing as possible while you’re here. 

There are also several ski-in/ski-out restaurants scattered around the mountain. They have various food options to keep everyone happy and ready to explore the snow. Night-time tubing is another fun activity for the entire family. 

Camelback can get pretty crowded, especially on the weekends. You’ll want to make sure you make reservations for lodging, lessons, and rentals ahead of time to ensure availability. 

5. Montage Mountain

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 10 (Average) 
  • Closing Day: April 1 (Average) 
  • Best Known For: Close to Scranton, large vertical drop, terrain parks, affordable

Montage Mountain is also a great option, and it’s one of the most accessible ski resorts in the area. Scranton is the nearest city, and it’s only about 10 miles away from the base of the resort. This makes it a local favorite but also a good option for visitors. 

Montage has a pretty decent vertical drop of 1,000 feet, which is comparable to the other good resorts in the region. There is a variety of terrain here, including plenty of beginner-friendly runs and challenging steeps.

This is also one of the most affordable resorts in the state, so it is suitable for any skiers on a budget. The ski school is excellent, and the lessons are also affordable. There isn’t much lodging right on the mountain, but Scranton is only a few miles away and has plenty of hotels. 

Because Montage Mountain is so accessible, it can get busy. And during the winter, skiers can flock here from cities like Philadelphia and New York, making traffic a headache. But once you get out of the car and onto the slopes, all that stress will slip away.

Additional Tips for Skiing in Pennsylvania

Most of the resorts listed here offer night skiing. This is a fun activity to try if you have never done it before, but you also need to be prepared. Having night skiing goggles or clear lenses will help you make the most of those lit-up slopes. 

The video below offers some good reasons to give night skiing a try if you are on the fence about it. 

Pennsylvania ski resorts can also get pretty icy if there isn’t much fresh snow. You want to be sure to have your edges sharpened to give you increased control, and wearing a helmet is a must for everyone! 

Final Words

Skiing in Pennsylvania can be a lot of fun, especially if you visit one of the top resorts in the state listed here. Many of these resorts are within a few hours of the major East Coast cities, so they are really accessible if you live nearby or want to visit. 

These resorts might be on the smaller side, but you can still find just about any type of terrain to ski. So whether you are a beginner or seasoned skier, you’ll be able to enjoy the winters in Pennsylvania.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.