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Relative difficulty across the country & skiing in PA - Page 2

post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Having skied in NC and Wintergreen on weekends with my daughter before settling on Massanutten as a home mountain, I completely understand about avoiding the ski areas that are closer to population centers on weekends.  Only go exploring midweek.

I stopped by Belleayre in late March last year.  Liked it.  If I go that way, I'm thinking about checking out Hunter or Windham.

Do Blue or Camelback have any trails that are often ungroomed?  Elk has a couple of trails that are allowed to bump up.

Decided yet? I think you need to visit Blue on the way north and Camelback on the way home. That would provide a nice independent perspective for past and current PA skiers with strong opinions about these resorts as well as an interesting trip report!


Nope, no decision yet.  Will be at Roundtop on Sat, Feb. 28 because a group of Ski Divas have a meet up that day.  I suppose I could stop by Montage on Sun on the way north.  Day time temperatures will be a factor on whether I check out places in PA or NY.  I've got more than enough for skiing in frigid temps, but not very driven if it's going to be in the teens or lower even at lunch time.  That's one reason I'm not skiing at Massanutten today . . . high is supposed to be 5 degrees.

post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Having skied in NC and Wintergreen on weekends with my daughter before settling on Massanutten as a home mountain, I completely understand about avoiding the ski areas that are closer to population centers on weekends.  Only go exploring midweek.

 

I stopped by Belleayre in late March last year.  Liked it.  If I go that way, I'm thinking about checking out Hunter or Windham.

 

Do Blue or Camelback have any trails that are often ungroomed?  Elk has a couple of trails that are allowed to bump up.

If I had to choose, I'd pick Blue over Camelback.  I just found the terrain a bit more interesting, and I think it has a bit more vertical.  But if my choices were wider, particularly if it was a weekend, I'd skip both and try Hunter or Windham.  And then Hickory, Gore and Whiteface.  

post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


Will be at Roundtop on Sat, Feb. 28 because a group of Ski Divas have a meet up that day.

I hear Roundtop is a nice small resort, but I've never been there. I'll be at Hidden Valley or Seven Springs that day with wife, daughter, and her boyfriend. The boyfriend is a never-ever beginner and my daughter is a snow plower attending Pitt. I'll be getting them lessons to start the day while we cruise around the resort to check it out since I've never been to either. Still trying to decide which resort will be better. They appear to have the same owner and linked websites with similar beginner terrain and lesson packages. I really want the boyfriend (future son-in-law?) to fall in love with skiing so my daughter will get with the family program.
post #34 of 45

Okay, now you all have me curious about the stats.  Remember that my home mountain of Massanutten is 1070 vert and 73 acres, with about 850 vert for the two relatively long black trails off the summit.  So far, I've checked out BK, Elk, Plattekill, Roundtop, and Whitetail.  Haven't skied every trail, but pretty close.  When I'm in "tourist mode" I'll do a green trail or two too.  Sometimes the view of the rest of the place from the beginner lift is pretty good.

 

When I compare vertical, I use mountainvertical.com, which aims for true vertical not just distance from base to summit.  I don't know if the acreage from OnTheSnow for BK and Plattekill includes all the skiable trees or not.

 

BLUE

1082 vert, 164 acres

 

CAMELBACK

800 vert, 160 acres

 

ELK

1000 vert, 146 acres

 

MONTAGE

1000 vert, 140 acres

 

PLATTEKILL *

1100 vert, 110 acres

 

LIBERTY

600 vert, 100 acres

 

ROUNDTOP

600 vert, 103 acres

 

WHITETAIL

895 vert, 120 acres

 

BLUE KNOB *

1072 vert, 84 acres

post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


Will be at Roundtop on Sat, Feb. 28 because a group of Ski Divas have a meet up that day.

I hear Roundtop is a nice small resort, but I've never been there. I'll be at Hidden Valley or Seven Springs that day with wife, daughter, and her boyfriend. The boyfriend is a never-ever beginner and my daughter is a snow plower attending Pitt. I'll be getting them lessons to start the day while we cruise around the resort to check it out since I've never been to either. Still trying to decide which resort will be better. They appear to have the same owner and linked websites with similar beginner terrain and lesson packages. I really want the boyfriend (future son-in-law?) to fall in love with skiing so my daughter will get with the family program.


For weekends, I've heard that Hidden Valley is the better choice for less crowded slopes.  Especially if riding the beginner lift.  Paging @Laurel Hill Crazie for advice.

 

Roundtop is where my friends from the DC area go on Saturdays because it's just a bit farther out than Liberty or Whitetail for enough people that the place is less crowded.  I liked the layout.  All of the Snowtime resorts are run fairly well.  Only serious issue I've heard about are holiday weekends when conditions are really good so that too many people show up at the rental counter at the same time.

post #36 of 45

I should try Blue on a weekday sometime -- I'd probably have a more objective opinion of its terrain.  But on Sundays, when I go, Blue's liftlines are insufferable compared to Camelback's (with the latter, you can always escape to the non high-speed quads, which service the mountain from the bottom to the top).  I'm told both mountains are unbearable on a Saturday.

post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchener View Post
 

I should try Blue on a weekday sometime -- I'd probably have a more objective opinion of its terrain.  But on Sundays, when I go, Blue's liftlines are insufferable compared to Camelback's (with the latter, you can always escape to the non high-speed quads, which service the mountain from the bottom to the top).  I'm told both mountains are unbearable on a Saturday.


Yeah, on weekends it's not just a matter of terrain.  In VA, the Highlands (all black trails, 990 vert) at Wintergreen are wonderful midweek with the detachable 6-pack that whisks you up to the top.  But on a weekend, the wait is usually 15-25 min.  I can get in 2-3 laps off Lift 6 at Massanutten in 30 min anything, even on holiday weekends.  Plus all the trails are lit at Mnut, while Wintergreen has no lights on the Highlands at all.  Also have to wait in a lift line when ready to leave the Highlands since the Wintergreen base an parking lots are at the top of the mountain.

 

Even around SLC, it pays to make a deliberate choice of where to ski on a Saturday.  The main reason my recent trip started at Solitude was because our first ski day was a Saturday.  Solitude has more than enough terrain for the first day at altitude for flatlanders.  Why waste time waiting in line at one of the better known destination resorts?

post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchener View Post

I should try Blue on a weekday sometime -- I'd probably have a more objective opinion of its terrain.  But on Sundays, when I go, Blue's liftlines are insufferable compared to Camelback's (with the latter, you can always escape to the non high-speed quads, which service the mountain from the bottom to the top).  I'm told both mountains are unbearable on a Saturday.

So funny. Can't believe I used to ski every Saturday at CB. There are ways to survive. Get on line when it opens, ready to go. Crowds arrive at 10, so get the turns in before that. Finish lunch by 11:45. Ski through lunch lull. Move around the mountain as they come out. Depart at two-ish before the carnage really gets going. I think the lift layout there is more conducive to moving away from the crowds and still having something to ski than at Blue, but that might be because I was never a passholder at Blue.
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post


I hear Roundtop is a nice small resort, but I've never been there. I'll be at Hidden Valley or Seven Springs that day with wife, daughter, and her boyfriend. The boyfriend is a never-ever beginner and my daughter is a snow plower attending Pitt. I'll be getting them lessons to start the day while we cruise around the resort to check it out since I've never been to either. Still trying to decide which resort will be better. They appear to have the same owner and linked websites with similar beginner terrain and lesson packages. I really want the boyfriend (future son-in-law?) to fall in love with skiing so my daughter will get with the family program.

Seven Springs is the bigger, more complete resort in every way but Hidden Valley, though less vertical and less acreage will provide plenty of hill for "never evers" and snow plowers. Vertical at Hidden Valley is in the 500 to 600 ft range, excellent snowmaking. a couple of nice novice runs, Rambler and Continental on the Valley side and Voyager on the slightly taller North Summit side. Very good ski school and I believe the first timers teaching slope, Bobcat, is a lot bigger and less crowded than Seven Springs . The nicest most sustained pitch is on the Valley side from the quad, Cobra and Imperial, solid intermediate runs and some trees off Cobra. Hidden Valley will provide aspiring novices all they need and a little less expensive too. I think for a small up charge you can ski both resorts, less than an hour apart base to base.

 

If all in your troop can ski the above novice top to bottom runs at Hidden Valley then they can try the longer, more varied novice trails at Seven Springs; vertical: 500 Front Side, 750 North Face. Novice runs are Fawn and Phillips on the Front Side from the Polar six. Boomerang and Village trails from Tyrol and Avalanche triples. On the North Face side Lost Boy and Deer Pass (which gets you back to the Front Side). Lost Girl off the Gunnar six is a long easy one on the far edge Of the North Face side. As a novice it will take bit of planning to get over to the Gunnar six but it is very easy getting back to the front from the top. The easiest way is to try to ski down to the Gunnar six base from the bottom of Lost Boy passed three lifts and I have no doubt you'll have to pole and skate to make it. Taking the Boulder trail is the easiest intermediate option and if the kids are feeling strong then give it a go. If you try Deer Pass and go down to the Blitzen lift you will be rewarded with a nice low intermediate trail that will be mostly empty and usually in good shape. More accomplished skier can check out the nicely pitch and generously spaced glade skiing in Alpine Meadow Glades. You can also get the closest look at that mother of all pipes and parks, The Spot. The vertical drop is maybe about 400 and the top is flat but the last pitch and the lack of people is worth the ride back up

 

Hope this helps.

post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurel Hill Crazie View Post
 

Seven Springs is the bigger, more complete resort in every way but Hidden Valley, though less vertical and less acreage will provide plenty of hill for "never evers" and snow plowers. Vertical at Hidden Valley is in the 500 to 600 ft range, excellent snowmaking. a couple of nice novice runs, Rambler and Continental on the Valley side and Voyager on the slightly taller North Summit side. Very good ski school and I believe the first timers teaching slope, Bobcat, is a lot bigger and less crowded than Seven Springs . The nicest most sustained pitch is on the Valley side from the quad, Cobra and Imperial, solid intermediate runs and some trees off Cobra. Hidden Valley will provide aspiring novices all they need and a little less expensive too. I think for a small up charge you can ski both resorts, less than an hour apart base to base.

 

If all in your troop can ski the above novice top to bottom runs at Hidden Valley then they can try the longer, more varied novice trails at Seven Springs; vertical: 500 Front Side, 750 North Face. Novice runs are Fawn and Phillips on the Front Side from the Polar six. Boomerang and Village trails from Tyrol and Avalanche triples. On the North Face side Lost Boy and Deer Pass (which gets you back to the Front Side). Lost Girl off the Gunnar six is a long easy one on the far edge Of the North Face side. As a novice it will take bit of planning to get over to the Gunnar six but it is very easy getting back to the front from the top. The easiest way is to try to ski down to the Gunnar six base from the bottom of Lost Boy passed three lifts and I have no doubt you'll have to pole and skate to make it. Taking the Boulder trail is the easiest intermediate option and if the kids are feeling strong then give it a go. If you try Deer Pass and go down to the Blitzen lift you will be rewarded with a nice low intermediate trail that will be mostly empty and usually in good shape. More accomplished skier can check out the nicely pitch and generously spaced glade ski  in Alpine Meadow Glades. You can also get the closest look at that mother of all pipes and parks, The Spot. The vertical drop is maybe about 400 and the top is flat but the last pitch and the lack of people is worth the ride back up

 

Hope this helps.

 

I'd agree with that completely, having been to  Seven Springs several times and Hidden Valley for the first time this year. Plus, unmentioned was the fact that Hidden Valley is cheaper - so if you don't make it over the hill to Seven Springs you'll save a bit too. And it will almost certainly be much less crowded at Hidden Valley. 

post #41 of 45
This day is really about getting my daughter and her boyfriend some quality beginner lessons. She has been an on-and-off skier, and needs some instruction. He is athletic, so I'm hoping he can pick it up quick over the next few seasons. Recommendations above seem heavily weighted to Hidden Valley despite its lower vertical. I looked it up as 470 ft, less than most Pocono resorts. With the lower cost (I'm paying!) and lower crowds I think we'll be fine for one day. Looks like they have and will be getting some natural snowfall.

I always laugh a little when I look at the PA resort stats. Blue has long run-outs that lengthen their longest/highest runs on the east side, but I wonder what pothole in the parking lot they use to get 1082 ft that edges out the other 1000 ft PA resorts. It's more than Camelback's 800 ft, but I'd swear Elk has more vertical, or at least usable vertical. And Elk feels bigger in acreage, but that might be the lack of serious parks that Blue has. Can't say about Blue Knob or Montage. If I'm going to drive further than Blue or Jack Frost, I might as well pass Camelback and head on up to Elk.
post #42 of 45
Years ago, Blue was Little Gap, and went from 300 feet to its current vert over a summer. I think they moved uphill, but I used to joke that they dug a big hole and used the pile and the hole to get there.
post #43 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post

This day is really about getting my daughter and her boyfriend some quality beginner lessons. She has been an on-and-off skier, and needs some instruction. He is athletic, so I'm hoping he can pick it up quick over the next few seasons. Recommendations above seem heavily weighted to Hidden Valley despite its lower vertical. I looked it up as 470 ft, less than most Pocono resorts. With the lower cost (I'm paying!) and lower crowds I think we'll be fine for one day. Looks like they have and will be getting some natural snowfall.

I always laugh a little when I look at the PA resort stats. Blue has long run-outs that lengthen their longest/highest runs on the east side, but I wonder what pothole in the parking lot they use to get 1082 ft that edges out the other 1000 ft PA resorts. It's more than Camelback's 800 ft, but I'd swear Elk has more vertical, or at least usable vertical. And Elk feels bigger in acreage, but that might be the lack of serious parks that Blue has. Can't say about Blue Knob or Montage. If I'm going to drive further than Blue or Jack Frost, I might as well pass Camelback and head on up to Elk.

 

Hidden Valley's east side also has a long runout so it's really probably more like 350 feet tall, with 120 feet of what I would call runout. The west side is more of a standard hill with the bottom of slopes near the lifts. For a snow plower and a never-ever, they may be able to have more fun with the hills and runouts than they would at Seven Springs which can be intimidating, with required turns and switchbacks on some of the greens (that may be crowded).

post #44 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Years ago, Blue was Little Gap, and went from 300 feet to its current vert over a summer. I think they moved uphill, but I used to joke that they dug a big hole and used the pile and the hole to get there.

 

I think they used to ski only the top 300' of the hill and expanded down as snowmaking became more viable.  I think the Main Street and Burma Chairs were the original Little Gap.

post #45 of 45
Mission accomplished! My daughter and her boyfriend had a great time at Hidden Valley with their lesson. They then skied the easy greens with us. Cobra, Imperial and Road Runner were not busy in the morning, but latter around 2 pm things got a little congested.
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