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Recommendations Wanted: First-Time Ski Trip (PA)

burntpancakes

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Hi All,

I am planning a first-time weekend ski trip with a couple folks that are beginners at skiing/snowboarding. I am looking in the Pocono region just to keep the travel time short for the new folks. Based on reading these boards, it looks like if I do go to Blue or Camelback that I should try to make this a Thursday-Saturday trip rather than a Friday-Sunday, simply because of the crowds.

Also based on reading these boards, it seems like booking a weekend ski trip in PA right now might not be the most reliable course of action. Should I be reserving lodging the month of the trip vs 4 months out (due to unpredictable conditions)? I’d like to go in December, but I don’t think those areas have reliable snow at that time, so I’m probably looking at January.

Can you recommend?
• Lodging (I was going to just look for houses to rent for a couple days, but open to other options)
• Other activities in area (snow tubing, snow mobiling, restaurants, lodge quality, anything fun)

Thanks!
 

Siliconebobsquarepants

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I second Scottys recommendation. For first timers crowds can be intimidating that being said Elk is off the beaten path and has less traffic on beginner trails. Although there are not as many beginner trails as Blue or Camelback .

Camelback and Blue are jammed on weekends .Elk has better snow conditions consistently vs the Poconos. Not much in the way of lodging close but definitely worth the drive .
 

burntpancakes

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Definitely appreciate the input. Elk is about an hour more worth of travel compared to blue and camel

If we do go with Elk, how do you suggest I do lodging? Also are there extracurricular activities? some of the ladies on the trip might not want to do a full day and night on the slopes.
 

cdskier

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December in the Poconos is extremely risky. The Poconos in general relies on snow-making nearly 100% to get trails open. If the weather doesn't cooperate, they won't have enough time to cover all the trails and get them all open. January is a much better option if you're looking for them to have most of their terrain open.

One thing you didn't mention, where are you traveling from?
 

danimals

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Montage if open. Wide mellow trails up top, great lodge and bar, right in Scranton and no crowds


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

BenedictGomez

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December in the Poconos is likely not going to be great (although you never know), so your suspicion that January will have better odds for conditions is correct.

Given the skiers are never-evers, forget Camelback & Blue Mountain. I'd go with Shawnee instead, as it will be much less crowded, and a much more low-key mountain, and the beginner terrain will be fine for them.
 

burntpancakes

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December in the Poconos is extremely risky. The Poconos in general relies on snow-making nearly 100% to get trails open. If the weather doesn't cooperate, they won't have enough time to cover all the trails and get them all open. January is a much better option if you're looking for them to have most of their terrain open.

One thing you didn't mention, where are you traveling from?

We're traveling from central NJ, about an hour and 20 east of Blue mountain. One of the people will literally be first-time snowboarder, so I'd hate to travel 4 hours roundtrip just for him to hate his life on the mountain.
 

x10003q

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We're traveling from central NJ, about an hour and 20 east of Blue mountain. One of the people will literally be first-time snowboarder, so I'd hate to travel 4 hours roundtrip just for him to hate his life on the mountain.

Belleayre is an excellent choice for never evers. The beginner area is large and mellow and has its own lodge.There are better odds of decent conditions in December. It might be only a little longer to drive to Belleayre vs Elk.
 

burntpancakes

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Also, not to add to much to your plates, but I actually wanted to try cross country skiing for the first time this season (I've snowboarded for several years now). Based on the location I'm looking at do anything of these locations offer a scenic XC trail?
 

burntpancakes

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December in the Poconos is likely not going to be great (although you never know), so your suspicion that January will have better odds for conditions is correct.

Given the skiers are never-evers, forget Camelback & Blue Mountain. I'd go with Shawnee instead, as it will be much less crowded, and a much more low-key mountain, and the beginner terrain will be fine for them.

Ah yes, I completely forgot about shawnee, I went there almost 10 years ago and it was pretty beginner friendly and had a pretty big snowtubing hill
 

JoeB-Z

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That is a great idea. So mellow on top. Really slow lifts. Beats the crowds. The Poconos is crowded and has a lot of dangerous skiers that can intimidate beginners. And I think the danger is real.

The steeper terrain at the bottom is fun, especially the one with a headwall, but the slowwwww lift ruins it.

Montage if open. Wide mellow trails up top, great lodge and bar, right in Scranton and no crowds


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

BenedictGomez

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Also, not to add to much to your plates, but I actually wanted to try cross country skiing for the first time this season (I've snowboarded for several years now). Based on the location I'm looking at do anything of these locations offer a scenic XC trail?

XC skiing in the Poconos? Wow, you really are snowptimistic. Dont bet on it.
 

BenedictGomez

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That is a great idea. So mellow on top. Really slow lifts. Beats the crowds. The Poconos is crowded and has a lot of dangerous skiers that can intimidate beginners. And I think the danger is real.

This is precisely why I recommended it. Best place in the Poconos for beginners. I still go there maybe once every 2 or 3 years if they get a big storm. With plenty of snow I think the place is entertaining if I cant get to the Cats/ADK/VT.
 

asnowmobiler

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I’m not much of a fan of camelback but for what you are looking for I think it’s the best choice.
Plenty of beginner runs, plenty of lodging and a lot more things to do nearby.
Jack Frost/Big also have plenty of beginner trails and lodging but not much to do afterwards other than a small indoor water park and a handful of restaurants a short drive away.
 

mister moose

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Hi All,

I am planning a first-time weekend ski trip with a couple folks that are beginners at skiing/snowboarding....
• Other activities in area (snow tubing, snow mobiling, restaurants, lodge quality, anything fun)

Whichever resort you go to, do NOT say any of these phrases to beginners the entire weekend:
"You don't need a lesson, I'll show you how."
"Come with us on this Blue run, it's fun and you can do it"
"You're not tired, come on out for one more run"

Good thinking on finding other activities.
 
Last edited:

Domeskier

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I’m not much of a fan of camelback but for what you are looking for I think it’s the best choice.

Camelback is a good choice - the most resort-like area in the Poconos, with plenty of lodging and non-ski-related options. I like the Shawnee recommendation, too, for first-timers. I learned to ski at a small hill where I didn't have to worry about being buzzed by yahoos or getting in over my head. I think those are important factors if you want the beginner to stick with it.

Another idea worth considering for someone from NJ - the ski dome in the Meadowlands is supposed to open in October. Might be worth taking the never-evers there for a lesson and get them used to being on skis/boards.
 
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