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Where to go in Scranton PA area except Montage?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My "home hill" is Seven Springs in PA.

I'm staying for a few days (sat-mon) with the inlaws who live in the Wilkes Barre area, and usually go to nearby Montage (Sno) mountain in Scranton. It's only 45 mins away, has good discounts for students and passholders from other places, and isn't too crowded even when busy.

On the down side, it has some of the slowest lifts that I've ever seen, and a limited number of trails.

On one of the next few days (probably Monday) I'm considering looking for another place even if it's farther away.

I've thought about Elk Mountain, but not sure if it is worth the hassle and what seems on the map like a horrible access road. Any experiences with that one and on the relative difficulty of their trails? I am an intermediate, but Montage blues are more beginner-like.

If not elk Mountain, then what else? I thought about Jack Frost/ Giant boulder, but it seems like that tends to attract the NJ Snowboarder type. Blue mountain has a good vertical but worries me for the same reason.

After getting hit this week (by a skier, not less) and in general, I prefer the least crowds since I like doing long wide turns. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
post #2 of 15
The road to Elk is not bad from I-81. All PA highway if you follow their driving direction. (I erroneously exited at Gibson from the North and had to take a long and much slower detour)

Elk has plenty of blue groomed runs so you should do fine with that mountain. I have not skied elsewhere in PA but from what I've been told Elk is probably the best between WB/Scranton and Binghamton.
post #3 of 15
Elk or Camelback
post #4 of 15
Elk IS worth the difference over Montage.
post #5 of 15
Elk is far superior to Montage or Camelback and the drive from Scranton is not a problem. If you get there early you may be able to park in the upper lot (especially on weekdays) and not take the pickup truck shuttle. You should be able to find discount tix at a local ski shop.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ok, may give them a try Monday if I'm well enough to ski...
I got hit from behind two days ago at seven springs by some *******, and now my neck is fairly still all of a sudden... All this snow is melting while I'm sitting here
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
BTW, I see nobody mention blue mountain, is it not worth it? Since I am in Southern WB, it doesn't seem too far (closer than Elk mountan) and has a high vert.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by uricmu View Post
BTW, I see nobody mention blue mountain, is it not worth it? Since I am in Southern WB, it doesn't seem too far (closer than Elk mountan) and has a high vert.
Phil sniffs bait and swims away.
post #9 of 15
As an unbiased observer , I suggest the trip to Elk is worth it. The higher vert at Blue is accomplished via a longer run out. The snow conditions will likely be better. There will likely be less people on the trails.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
is there a place I can buy a discounted midweek ticket on the way there? Local ski shops near the mountain or anything?
post #11 of 15
Blue? Nah, stay away. The only others to even consider are Jack Frost & Big Boulder, and I will still go to Elk.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Okay, looks like Elk Mountain tomorrow. Hopefully the snow gods will be good and the ice won't be a problem.

How are the trails compared to Montage? Montage blues are nice and wide but easier than greens in most places. The blacks, on the other hand, are more significant than at Seven Springs where I usually ski.
In what order should I attempt the blues? Is there any black that's approachable and that has multiple "steps"?
post #13 of 15
Elk. Nuff said.

OK, some areas have a better burger but that's the only negative thing I can say about Elk.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
Elk. Nuff said.

OK, some areas have a better burger but that's the only negative thing I can say about Elk.
Slow lifts and that stupid shuttle system from the parking lot.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
So I went to Elk today. Here's my "review".

Road from 81 was ok since the weather was ok, but would appear to be a drag in winter.

Upper parking lot is convenient, but you still have to walk a level up or a leel down to reach anything. Haven't seen any shuttle around.

The lodge is actually nice (especially compared to montage) and food is relatively affordable (I use the "nachos and cheese, hot dug, and a burger" scale).

The weird thing is that there's barely any cellphone reception (at least AT&T) in the bottom and in major parts of the mountain. Considering that they've got enough antennas and cellphone towers on top to stage a remake of Close Encounters, it doesn't make any sense.

Lift ticket is pricy (43$ midweek), and the lifts themselves are fairly slow but on par with Montage and some other old style PA lifts. Didn't get as many runs as I would have liked.

The mountain itself is very nice though; much better terrain than montage, and feels like a better vertical drop because it is one mountain. The blues are all fairly tame and fun, but I did not see an advanced blue or easy black.

What peculiar thing was the snow: I did not see many snow makers except in the beginner area. Where is the snow coming from? Mobile units? Recent snowfall is not enough to create this base.

Also, they close the good side of the mountain at 4:15. Makes sense to get their early, and scram at 4:30 when it gets icy anyway.
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