If you’re thinking about a ski jaunt to the Keystone State of Pennsylvania, we bet you’re planning a visit to the Poconos, and rightfully so — the region offers the most popular ski resorts, including Camelback Mountain Resort and Blue Mountain. Outside the Poconos, however, you’ll still find a bevy of Pennsylvania family ski resorts — there are even two almost as popular in Hershey! So grab your ski gear, rally up the troops, and make your way to one of these family ski resorts in PA.
Written by Carrie Calzaretta and Amanda Geronikos
Billed as the Poconos' best ski value area, Alpine Mountain also has snowtubing, snowboarding, a half pipe and terrain park. It also has 21 trails, three lifts and a 500-foot vertical drop -- far from the largest -- and there is a kids' ski program for children ages 4 to 12, which includes a lift ticket, lesson, lunch and supervision.
Bear Creek Mountain Resort is in Macungie, about an hour from Philadelphia, and offers plenty of opportunities to ski, snowboard and snow tube. Lessons and inexpensive childcare services are also available. If you're planning to visit for a few days, you'll be happy to know there are four onsite dining options, as well as a hotel. The ski resort is also within close proximity to the historic town of Bethlehem!
With a 1,082-foot vertical, 34 trails and 10 lifts, Blue Mountain Ski Area, located in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, is a favorite for families because of its proximity to Philadelphia, Delaware, Baltimore and Washington D.C. There are novice, intermediate and expert trails for every level of ability, and the mountain has a 3,000-foot double black diamond trail, Challenge and a terrain park. There are several dining options on the mountain, including Valley Cafe and Courtyard, a grill and pizza place. Lessons are available for skiers 4 and older, through the Blue Mountain Resort Explorers program.
One of the best Poconos ski resorts, Jack Frost Big Boulder in Lake Harmony offers ski lessons for children ages 3 and older. Snowtubing is also a popular activity; Big Boulder has 20 snowtubing chutes, two tows and a 600-foot conveyor carpet to transport snow-tubers up the hill. Jack Frost has six snow-tubing chutes and two tows. There are no restaurants on the mountain, but there are several family dining options nearby.
Located in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, just over an hour from Hershey, Liberty Mountain Resort is small in size, but not in offerings, which include a First Class Learn to Ski and Board Program for children ages 8 and up, as well as snowboarding and snow tubing opportunities. Other family-friendly amenities include shuttle bus services, complimentary ski and board checks, free Wi-Fi access, childcare services and a Starbucks. For added savings, book a stay at The Hotel at Liberty Mountain Resort.
Shawnee Mountain is a great mountain for intermediate and beginner skiers, with its 700-foot vertical drop and 23 trails. Shawnee offers lessons for children, starting at age 3, as well as Mommy & Me lessons and snowboarding lessons for kids ages 7 and older. There is an onsite nursery for children ages 18 months and older, and babysitting is also available. Shawnee is an affordable and beginner-friendly Pennsylvania family ski resort, and kids will love the two terrain parks and snow tubing. In the fall, Shawnee has a popular hot air balloon festival with demonstrations, balloon rides and entertainment.
Ski Big Bear, located in Lackawaxen, is a great Pennsylvania family ski resort for intermediate skiers. It also offers snowboarding, snow tubing and terrain parks. The mountain features 18 trails, 650 feet of vertical drops, and six lifts. Group lessons for kids ages 8 and older are available, as well as private lessons for those ages 3 and up.
Montage Mountain, located in Scranton, has 30 trails and seven lifts, a terrain park and tubing, and is great for beginners and families. This Poconos ski resort boasts 10 percent expert trails, as well. There are lessons available for children ages 3 and older, and an onsite nursery for children ages 2 to 5.
Closer to Hershey, Pennsylvania (just over 30 minutes away), Roundtop Mountain Resort offers several programs just for kids, including Put Your Mind at Ease, which allows youngsters to utilize the resort's carpet lift with the aid of friendly instructors. The Snow/Night Ranger Packages are fun, too, and include lift tickets, 1.5 hour lessons, and rental equipment at one rate. Regular discounts, four onsite dining options, and free Wi-Fi add to the appeal.