Ski season is here! We’ve partnered with Keryn Means of Walking On Travels dive into the Pennsylvania ski scene with us. Whether you have skied before or you are looking to learn, Pennsylvania has a number of family-friendly ski resorts perfect for your crew.
I still remember the first time I skied. I was terrible. While in college a few friends and I took a trip to North Carolina where there was actually a small ski resort. I had never skied a day in my life. I sat on the lift with a friend who explained to me how you ski on the way up. We got off the lift and she shot down the mountain. I proceeded to fall down the mountain after her.
Obviously this is not the ideal way to learn how to ski. I have since learned that ski lessons from a professional are key, no matter your age. My boys started skiing when they where between three and four years old. My oldest, now seven, is now snowboarding. After years falling down the mountain on my snowboard, I switched to skiing last year when we went up to Liberty Mountain Resort just outside of Gettysburg, PA. Thanks to an amazing group lesson, I’m on my way to being a confident skier so I can actually keep up with my kids.
Now the question is, where should you and your family learn to ski in Pennsylvania? You may have heard the rumors that if you can ski on the East Coast, you can ski anywhere. It’s true. The East Coast is known for their icy slopes, which is why lessons at a reputable resort are all the more important. We have five family-friendly ski resorts that we recommend for your next ski vacation.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
As a nervous skier, Seven Springs Mountain Resort in the Laurel Highlands region of PA may just be the best place for you to visit. This resort actually runs three mountains in the area, Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain, giving you a ton of options for trails, no matter your ski level. Their Learn to Ski program incorporates fun-based learning on a mini-terrain park that will help you feel in control as you learn. When my veteran instructor took me on a challenging Green and I froze up, he took me one step at a time down the mountain, which is exactly what I needed. Seven Springs Lodge also offers easy accommodation with access to great dining, an indoor pool, mini golf, bowling and an arcade.
Camelback Mountain Resort
I grew up hearing about Camelback, but as a kid, we never went skiing. My Philly friends loved it though, and it has only grown since the 80s. Camelback is the largest ski resort in the Poconos Mountains, just west of Philadelphia. The resort features 34 trails, 16 lifts, a snowboard half-pipe and the largest snow tubing park in the U.S. with 42 lanes. Camelback Lodge offers ski-in, ski-out accommodations with an indoor waterpark my boys are begging to go to.
Blue Mountain Resort
For skiers who love a nice vertical, Blue Mountain is the place for you. It has the highest vertical in PA plus six terrain parks. If you want to try a few tricks, this resort also has a Big Air Bag specially designed for skiers and snowboards. Do all the flips and tricks you want. This bag will catch you. For those who love speed, but maybe want some time off the slopes, you can also check out the East Coast USA Luge track that is now open to the public. Adrenaline junkies will get their high as they zoom down this almost 2,000-foot-long track. Ride on a tube, mini-bobsled or luge sled. Just watch out, you may become a luge addict.
Liberty Mountain Resort
My first time actually skiing, aside from that horrible experience in college, was at Liberty Mountain Resort outside of Gettysburg, PA. It’s an easy daytrip for Maryland, PA and D.C. residents. The resort offer 100 acres of skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing trails, and three terrain parks. The adult classes are taught by enthusiastic teachers who will go over their allotted one-hour lesson time just to make sure you are comfortable on the slopes. The Children’s Learning Center is perfect for little skiers and snowboarders, as well as parents who want to have a little time on the slopes by themselves. Best of all, Liberty has a Burton snowboard school, which means kids can start to board younger than most mountains will allow (usually age 7) since they have the smaller boards in stock.
Not too far from Liberty Mountain Resort you will find Whitetail. This may be one of the best mountains to take your family if you are trying out a snow sport for the first time. The National Ski Areas Association has recognized Whitetail’s programs for beginners as the best in the country. The resort offers 23 trails and can move 15,000 skiers and snowboarders an hour on its lifts. This may seem excessive, but when you are visiting a local mountain like Whitetail, where day trippers show up in droves, knowing you don’t have to wait 20 minutes for a lift is important.
Keryn Means is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads, visit travelocitygnomads.com.
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