Best value in Eastern Pennsylvania

esef
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Pros: Best value, fast lifts, RFID tickets, Sunday night discounted skiing

Cons: Lack of intermediate terrain

Why ski here?

-Blue Mountain is probably the best value in Eastern Pennsylvania. It has two high-speed, top-to-bottom lifts. That means you can get a ton of skiing in. At nearby mountains like Elk or Montage, your only options are slow, fixed-grip lifts. You're gonna be sitting on lifts for most of the day. Getting cold. Pondering the meaning of life. That sorta thing. Not so at Blue Mountain. Depending on the runs you take, at Blue Mountain you can get almost double the amount of skiing in. Or at least 50% more runs. Pretty good deal. And, again, the two high-speed lifts run top-to-bottom, so you're skiing 100% of the 1000+ ft vertical— each run. No need to take more than 1 lift.

 

-Blue Mountain has an RFID ticket system. So, lift attendants aren't looking at you like you stole something.

 

-Convenient, at-grade lodges. At Elk, you're taking a shuttle from the lodge to the parking lot. At Montage, you're walking up-and-down a decent couple flights of stairs. Not so at Blue Mountain. You walk-in and walk-out. Every little bit helps, I guess!

 

-It's awfully pretty around sunset.

 

-Last, did I mention that Blue Mountain has a strong commitment to stay open late in the season? This is dedication! A narrow strip of beauty. Closing day of the 2016 season. I skied almost 50,000 vertical feet that day. 47 runs. Memories, man.

 

Drawbacks?

-Well, the mountain topography really limits the intermediate terrain options. Blue Mountain is basically one long ridge. And it's steep, too. So fall-line runs are necessarily black diamond. Intermediate runs tend to incorporate frequent switchbacks. For example, there's literally a slope named "Switchback." That kind of thing. It's fun at 8am on corduroy, but not so fun later in the day. The switchbacks get icy. Skied off. Also, people tend to stop and rest on the outside corners of the switchbacks, narrowing your path. So it becomes a navigational challenge. The lone kinda-exception is Easy Street, which is straight for most of the way. Lots of carving potential here. At the same time, Easy Street has the most notorious switchback. Or more of a 90-degree bend. So, no slope is immune.

 

-Long runouts. The last 50m (or so) of vertical drop are flat and long. Personally, I would have excavated there and moved the lifts up a bit. 

 

Small mountain quirks:

-Like most mountains of this size, there's a fair amount of trail inflation. It doesn't affect the skiing experience, of course. Curious, nevertheless. Most runs require you to ski 3 "trails." Lots of "upper" and "lower" this-and-that. Or super-short trails that are essentially "named headwalls." For my money, Easy Out, Vista, Burma Road, Shuttle, and Terrain Run are 1 trail (-4). Upper and Lower Main Street are 1 trail. (-1). Widowmaker and Midway are 1 trail. (-1) Sidewinder, Lower Sidewinder, and Central Park are 1 trail (-2). Challenge and Falls are 1 trail (-1). Skytop, Paradise, and Home Stretch are 1 trail (-2). Tuts Lane and Connector are 1 trail (-1). Arguably, Nightmare and Dreamweaver are 1 trail (-1).

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