Top 6 Best Poconos Ski Resorts

The Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania provide solid skiing options for anyone living in or visiting the Eastern US. These mountains aren’t as big as those in the West but still offer quality skiing for people of all abilities. 

I’m a lifelong skier who has been on dozens of different ski trips over the years. I’ve had the chance to ski in the Poconos on several occasions, and I’ve researched other resorts in the area that I haven’t visited. 

This post will highlight the best ski resorts in the Poconos. From family-friendly terrain to more challenging runs and everything in between, I’ll list the top skiing destinations in this region of the US. 

Let’s jump in. 

1. Blue Mountain

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: November 25 (Average) 
  • Closing Day: March 25 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Longest vertical drop in PA, Food Trucks

Blue Mountain is one of the best ski resorts in the Poconos and one of the largest. You’ll find the longest vertical drop in Pennsylvania here and can take advantage of over 1,000 downhill feet for some long ski runs. 

The resort has 40 trails and 16 lifts to give you access to all of the terrain. It has everything from groomed runs to double-diamonds, providing skiers of all ability levels something to explore. There are also five terrain parks to stoke your freestyle pursuits. 

Blue Mountain is small by western US standards but has enough terrain to keep you busy for a full ski day. The resort also offers ski lessons and equipment rentals which can be arranged ahead of time or at the base area. 

The snow isn’t always fresh here, but the resort does a good job of snowmaking to have a solid base, and groomed runs keep things from getting too icy. 

2. Jack Frost/Big Boulder

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 1 (Average)
  • Closing Day: March 28 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Terrain parks, lots of runs, advanced terrain

Jack Frost and Big Boulder are two separate but nearby mountains under the same resort banner. You can expect quality skiing opportunities here, and there are plenty of runs to explore between both peaks.

This resort is great for freestyle and advanced skiers. There are a handful of great terrain parks to practice technical tricks and maneuvers and plenty of steep runs to challenge your skills on the snow. 

Lift tickets are pretty affordable at Jack Frost and Big Boulder, making it a good option for skiers on a budget or families trying to get an entire ski trip together. There are also some good lodging rentals available right near the base area. 

You won’t find the biggest vertical drop here, and most of the runs are pretty short. Still, diverse terrain will keep you satisfied, even if you aren’t skiing for that long. 

3. Camelback

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 15 (Average)
  • Closing Day: April 1 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Largest resort in the Poconos, night-time snow tubing

Camelback is the largest ski resort in the Poconos, and it offers 166 acres of skiable terrain. That might not sound like much compared to western resorts, but it is large for the region. There is room to spread out and enjoy the slopes here. 

The resort also features three ski-in/ski-out restaurants, giving you excellent food options during the ski day or when you are ready for happy hour and apres after hitting it hard. There are many other dining options in the base area as well. 

This is also a family-friendly resort with various lessons you can set up alongside accessible rental equipment. Whether you are just learning how to ski or want help getting to the next level, the instructors here are well qualified. 

Camelback also has a fun night-time tubing hill that is very popular with guests here. It makes for an enjoyable way to stay on the snow when the sun goes down. 

Camelback Lodge is a great place to stay if you are visiting for multiple days, but you’ll want to book far ahead of time to make sure lodging is available. 

4. Big Bear at Masthope Mountain

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 15 (Average)
  • Closing Day: March 25 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Beginner-friendly, extensive snowmaking

Big Bear at Masthope Mountain is another one of the best ski resorts in the Poconos. This is the northernmost resort in PA and offers a variety of runs that are all easily accessible. It’s not a large resort but is still very enjoyable. 

This is one of the most beginner-friendly resorts in the region and is a great place to learn to ski if you live nearby. Several magic carpets provide access to the easiest runs, and the ski instructors are all very skilled and friendly. 

Big Bear also has a fun terrain park to help you learn or perfect your freestyle skills. It can get a little crowded here during the weekends, but you will be able to hit all of the features even if you have to wait a bit to do so. 

The Masthope Lodge at the base of the resort is a great place to stay if you want to make a ski trip out of your visit, and there is also a Mountaintop Village that has plenty of food and some shopping. 

Big Bear doesn’t really offer much advanced or expert terrain. If you are an experienced skier, you might want to consider another location in the area. 

5. Shawnee Mountain

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 15 (Average)
  • Closing Day: March 31 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Updated lifts, beginner-friendly

Shawnee Mountain is another beginner-friendly ski resort in the Poconos. This location is easily accessible and provides skiers with good opportunities to ski a variety of terrain. It’s not a huge ski area, but there is still room to explore. 

The resort recently updated many of its ski lifts, and this provides skiers with modern niceties like a high-speed quad and smooth rides up the mountain. These give you access to over 100 acres of skiable terrain. 

Shawnee Mountain is another location that is ideal for beginners because of easy access to green runs and an extensive lesson program. You can book individual or group lessons to help improve your abilities with a qualified professional. 

There aren’t any lodging options right at the base of the resort, but there are several lodges close by that offer comfortable amenities after a long day on the slopes. You can also get a discounted room if you have a season pass. 

6. Bear Creek

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 20 (Average)
  • Closing Day: March 25 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Affordable prices, proximity to cities

Bear Creek Mountain Resort is one of the most affordable ski resorts in the Poconos. This makes a good option for any budget-minded skiers who still want to take advantage of the winter months. 

The resort is also popular because it is closer to the East Coast’s major city centers than other ski areas in the region. This makes it an easy drive from the international airports in Philadelphia, New York, or DC. 

Bear Creek is pretty small, but you still have access to a lot of beginner to intermediate terrain. The resort also does an excellent job of keeping runs groomed to allow for decent conditions most of the year. 

While it is a good spot to learn how to ski, Bear Creek doesn’t have an official ski lesson program, so you’ll have to teach yourself if you are a newbie.

Additional Tips for Skiing in the Poconos

Even though the Poconos don’t get as much snow as ski resorts in the West, the weather conditions can be pretty variable. Grey conditions with poor lighting are always possible, so you want to be prepared for this. 

I suggest bringing low-light goggle lenses, so you can swap to a better option if the sun goes away. Check out the video below for some good low-light skiing tips. 

Final Words

The Pocono Mountains have some fantastic ski resorts to explore during the winter months. These resorts are small, but they will provide you with the most terrain and best snow you can find in the region. 

All of the resorts here are suitable for beginners, but be sure to check out the trail maps if you are looking for intermediate or advanced terrain.

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