We have seen a few flurries in southeastern PA before Christmas so that can only mean one thing: it's time to hit the slopes. Our family spends as much time as possible throughout the winter months skiing + snowboarding. There are plenty of options for skiing in PA and some great programs to get kids and first-timers on the slopes. All of the ski areas offer lessons and equipment rentals - book lessons ahead of to make sure you get what you need. Seasonal equipment rentals are a great way to go with kids that are growing every year. Most ski shops offer this and we have always had a great experience at Buckmans. If skiing and snowboarding aren’t your speed, all of these resorts (except Elk) offer snow tubing which is fun for all ages!
Here's the scoop on our favorite spots:
Take a quick 30-minute drive up the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike from Springfield Township and you are at Spring Mountain. Their after-school ski school sessions are wonderful - your kids will be skiing and riding the lifts in no time - the sessions fill up fast so get a jump on this one! Also new to Spring Mountain is outdoor ice skating! The Powder Pig Pub is open most nights and weekends and is a great way to relax while your kids learn to ski.
With 86 acres of slopes, trails, + terrain, Bear Creek Mountain Resort is a great spot to take the family for a fun day or weekend. It's just under an hour's drive from Springfield, but worth the drive. Check out their ski and stay packages - the lodge, outdoor hot tub, dining options, and spa are all worth the stay.
The Pocono's premier winter sports destination, Jack Frost Big Boulder is a memorable spot for winter fun. Both Jack Frost and Big Boulder mountains contain multiple trails for skiing + snowboarding, along with tubing parks. One ticket gets you into both resorts. Jack Frost closes at dusk, Big Boulder has lights for night skiing
Blue Mountain - This has been the destination of choice for our teens for the past few years. They claim to have the most open terrain in PA making it a great choice for boarders. You can dine at the Slopeside Pub and Grill and in the summer they have glamping!
Great skiing, boarding & tubing with the bonus of Aquatopia - an indoor waterpark. Camelback Lodge is ski-in-ski-out and features a high-speed quad lift. Book a stay at this Pocono resort and the water park is included in your stay or you can just buy day passes to the waterpark. Check the website for Ski and Stay packages. There are many dining options in the resort and coffee by Philly favorite La Colombe.
A solid two-and-a-half-hour drive from Springfield Township, Elk Mountain is the farthest ski resort on our list but often has good conditions when closer resorts do not. Located in the beautiful Endless Mountains, Elk was named Best Overall Mountain in the Mid-Atlantic Region. With 180 skiable acres and 27 trails, skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels will feel right at home on the mountain. The lodge is usually packed solid with people resting, sipping hot cocoa, and eating from the cafeteria. One of the coolest things you will see at Elk is the Picnic Lodge. It is about halfway up the mountain (it was the original lodge). You can drop a cooler there while you are on the slopes and ski right up to the door when you are ready to eat. People in the know will have crock pots going inside the lodge to enjoy a hot lunch!
And, because I am from the Pittsburgh area, I have to add Seven Springs Mountain Resort to my list. It’s about 4.5 hours from the Philly area so not a day trip but if you can grab a deal on an overnight stay it’s a really fun spot. Opened in 1937 it feels like a step back in time. (side note - it is now owned by Vail Resorts so as time goes on some of the nostalgic vibes may diminish) There are many different types of accommodations here. The main lodge sits at the base of the mountain and has 414 rooms, some rooms are pet-friendly, but no, you cannot bring your pug on the chairlift! There are lots of condos and other accommodations on the mountain as well. If you have kids that need to be entertained - the main lodge is for you as there is bowling, game room, indoor pool & mini golf. Some really fun family memories we have are of roller skating inside one of the banquet rooms - the website doesn’t mention that anymore so perhaps Vail Resorts decided that wasn’t for them. For the older “kids” there are outdoor hot tub rentals, the infamous Foggy Goggle Lounge, and Helen’s for fine dining. Inside the lodge there are several good dining spots from quick bites to sit-down options.
(some photographs are from the website of the ski resort.)
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