Pennsylvania has 23 open ski resorts, most of which are either located in the Pocono Mountains in the east or the Laurel Highlands in the bottom-central of the state.
Ski Season in PA
Pennsylvania’s ski season begins in early December, and lasts until mid-to-late March. Rarely it goes until early April. Some resorts will try to open in the last week of November, but that is usually a stretch because significant snow doesn’t start to fall in the region until late December or January. If you ski in PA in December, most of the snow pack will likely be man-made.
Night skiing is available at most major resorts, which is good news since nightfall usually happens around 6pm during the height of ski season. Terrain parks are also starting to finally be built across many PA resorts. In fact, in 2022, Seven Springs (in the Laurel Highlands), unveiled the only 22-foot super pipe in the east. Blue Mountain (in the Poconos) also has five terrain parks, all ranging from beginner to expert level.
Nationwide Lift Ticket Programs
Pennsylvania has 8 different ski resorts that are owned by Vail out of Colorado. This means that when you buy one of the multiresort lift passes from Epic, you can ski at a lot of different resorts across PA. Indy and IKON lift passes have a few resorts in PA as well, but the majority of nationwide pass resorts in the state belong to Epic.
List of All Pennsylvania Ski Resorts
The Poconos have the highest concentration of ski resorts, with almost half of PA’s total located in the eastern side of the state. The second most skiable location in PA is the Laurel Highlands, located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the bottom-central section of the state.
Pennsylvania Ski Resorts Map
Explaining Our ‘Difficulty Score’
Parks & Trips created a proprietary Difficulty Score that is generated by looking at the number of easy-intermediate-expert slopes by acreage and the maximum vertical drop of the overall resort.
Our algorithm compares each resort’s metrics with all others in North America, then gives each a Difficulty Score, which we use to rank them accordingly. Resorts with a lower score are easier than those with a higher one. However, a high score does not mean that the resort does not have any easy slopes, or vice versa. This is just an overall score given to the resort based on all its metrics grouped together.
The Most Difficult Pennsylvania Ski Resorts
Blue Knob Ski Resort near Altoona is rated as the most difficult ski resort in Pennsylvania. With only 15% of its trails rated for beginners, this resort also has the second highest vertical drop in the state.
The next four resorts that round out the top 5 most challenging ski resorts in PA are all located in the Pocono Mountains.
The Easiest Ski Resorts in Pennsylvania
The easiest ski resort in PA is also the easiest in all of North America according to our data. Boyce Park is a small slope in Pittsburgh that is within a park managed by Allegheny County. Laurel Mountain comes in second place, as the smallest ski resort in the Laurel Highlands. It was actually closed up until recently, and was resurrected in 2016. It along with Hidden Valley and Seven Springs Mountain Resort were sold to the Vail company in 2021.
The Largest Ski Resorts in Pennsylvania
Choosing the largest ski resorts is a bit of a tricky proposition. Do you look at just the summit elevation? How about the total acreage, most trails, or steepest vertical drop?
Well, we decided to combine all four of those metrics into one ranking to get the best idea, although we fully admit this is completely subjective. We’ve given you all the data in the following table to make your own decision.
Blue Knob Ski Resort is the largest in the state, mostly due to it having the highest summit elevation, by almost 400 feet. It also comes in near the top in vertical drop, base elevation and number of trails.
Blue Mountain Resort has the most trails in PA, as well as the highest skiable mountain in the state. Seven Springs has the most skiable acreage in PA, which also includes a snow tubing park. Elk Mountain Ski Resort isn’t first place in any of the major mountain statistics, but it is near the top in all of them. As a result, we rank it as one of the largest ski resorts in PA as well.