• Welcome to AlpineZone, the largest online community of skiers and snowboarders in the Northeast!

    You may have to REGISTER before you can post. Registering is FREE, gets rid of the majority of advertisements, and lets you participate in giveaways and other AlpineZone events!

Complete newbie with kids - low key suggestions? (Poconos)

glencoe400

New member
Joined
Jan 27, 2022
Messages
3
Points
3
Hi all, I'm a complete newbie to skiing (ok I skied a few times as a kid but it's been a good 25 years since then!). I also have a 6 year old who is interested to learn to ski who has never skied. We are headed to the Poconos for the weekend in early Feb and I'm hoping to find the least threatening, lowest key, least crowded place to have a ski lesson and do a little beginner skiing. Any ideas or thoughts appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

Killingtime

Active member
Joined
Jan 16, 2018
Messages
360
Points
28
Location
Long Island, NY
Hi all, I'm a complete newbie to skiing (ok I skied a few times as a kid but it's been a good 25 years since then!). I also have a 6 year old who is interested to learn to ski who has never skied. We are headed to the Poconos for the weekend in early Feb and I'm hoping to find the least threatening, lowest key, least crowded place to have a ski lesson and do a little beginner skiing. Any ideas or thoughts appreciated! Thanks in advance!
Least crowded in the Poconos? Good luck with that. Seriously, I've been to a bunch of them and for what you are describing, Shawnee would probably work out well. Cool little place that has designated learning area and is a professional operation. Can get a bit crowded on weekends but they are all crowded on the weekends. Don't let that discourage you.
 

glencoe400

New member
Joined
Jan 27, 2022
Messages
3
Points
3
Awesome, thank you both for your advice!! I had heard Montage may also be pretty low key? Shawnee and Montage are equidistant from where we are staying. Big bear is farther, so we may just do either Shawnee or montage. If you had to choose between these two in terms of what we are looking for -- basically just to get a first flavor of skiing somewhere pretty :) -- would you have a preference?
 

Mum skier

Active member
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Messages
111
Points
28
Both my kids started skiing at Shawnee. They used to do (Several years ago now) a really good value 3 hr lesson for 4-6 age which included a pass (you could use it before or after the lesson as well ) and rentals (you coild also keep them for the rest of the day). And included a snack. Now at weekend the size group could get quite big, and I don’t think there is such a thing as a quiet place at weekend.
 

Ski2LiveLive2Ski

Active member
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
445
Points
43
Montage will be much less crowded but Shawnee has a better teaching program. My kids has lessons there. Also they let under 46" ski free with paying adult. Though still have to pay for rentals and lessons.

Can't speak to Montage's teaching program but it is a specialty of Shawnee. But lower crowds will likely mean fewer in the lessons at Montage.
 

trackbiker

Active member
Joined
Feb 8, 2005
Messages
332
Points
28
Location
Eastern PA
If Big Bear isn't too much farther I would recommend there for the first time. Not too crowded. Has a nice lodge. Has a nice beginner area with a magic carpet and a chair lift. Wherever you go, get there for opening. It will be a lot less crowded. Big Bear doesn't really get crowded until noon. The others get mobbed around 10:00.
 

TyWebb

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
72
Points
8
Awesome, thank you both for your advice!! I had heard Montage may also be pretty low key? Shawnee and Montage are equidistant from where we are staying. Big bear is farther, so we may just do either Shawnee or montage. If you had to choose between these two in terms of what we are looking for -- basically just to get a first flavor of skiing somewhere pretty :) -- would you have a preference?

Live in Philly burb - kids learned at Montage and I always found it to be far less crowded thn some of the other Pocono mountains. Nice choice of hotels and food options in Scranton plus u can also do a day at Elk which isn't that far north of Scranton
 

PAabe

Active member
Joined
Jan 20, 2021
Messages
415
Points
43
Location
Lancaster, PA
Shawnee is best set up for beginners, great snow, wide top to bottom fall line beginner trails, nice lifts that are easy to get on, professional rental and ski school setup, relatively affordable weekend rates.

Montage and Elk might be less crowded but their beginner setup isn't quite as nice.

I have not been to Big Bear but that place is definitely under that radar if you want low key.

Don't get misguided into going to Blue or Camelback or Jack Frost/Big Boulder as a beginner, those places are madhouses and expensive!
 
Last edited:

trackbiker

Active member
Joined
Feb 8, 2005
Messages
332
Points
28
Location
Eastern PA
I have not been to Big Bear but that place is definitely under that radar if you want low key.

Don't get misguided into going to Blue or Camelback or Jack Frost/Big Boulder as a beginner, those places are madhouses and expensive!
I second that. Do NOT go to Camelback, Jack Frost/Big Boulder, or Blue.
 

danimals

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Messages
173
Points
18
I would reccomend montage. It’s low key, affordable, and it does have a decent learning program.

They also have a better beginner lift infrastructure. They have 2 carpets as well as the short haul lift, which is a chairlift that services the bunny hill that is lower to the ground and runs slow. This way you can get comfortable on chairlifts without having to ride with non beginners to some more difficult terrain.
 

PAabe

Active member
Joined
Jan 20, 2021
Messages
415
Points
43
Location
Lancaster, PA
Fun fact courtesy of Storm Skiing show - 55% of visitors to Shawnee rent one of their 4,000 sets of rental equipment.

I do agree Montage does a pretty efficient rental business as well. Friends I have taken there have liked Easy Street winding through the trees and the nice progression from the Short Haul and then the gradually increasing wide slopes off the summit covering much of the vertical. I can attest firsthand from renting a snowboard there that it is a pretty good setup.

Shawnee is maybe a bit more scenic and since almost the entire mountain is beginner terrain there are more zig zaggy fall line trails and greater variety. Definitely best grooming in the poconos but also typically more crowded than Montage (they do have a huge amount of uphill capacity and room to spread out though).

Both are good options considering the usual
beginner setup is either a boring bunny hill at the bottom or a narrow icy crowded cat track cut from the top.

Also if anyone reading this is considering renting skis at Elk on a weekend, rent off-mountain, their rental shop is SLOW (friend waited over an hour)
 

Ski2LiveLive2Ski

Active member
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
445
Points
43
If you aren't committed to going to the Poconos, Spring Mountain only 45 min from Philly is a great learning spot. I learned there and my kids took their first 6 lessons there before advancing to Shawnee. Carrie is a great instructor if she is still there. I think she may have graduated to running the ski school.
 
Top