the comprehensive review by a long-time patron

by: pocowhip - Feb 16, 2010

  • Overall Rating 4
  • Family Friendly 4
  • All-Mtn. Terrain 5
  • Terrain Park 2
  • Nightlife 1

    Pros: snow, scenery, terrain, atmosphere, lifts

    Cons: price, access, parks, lifts

    Recommended For: Singles, Family Friendly, Empty Nesters

    Date Visited: Feb 1, 2010


Full review

Elk stakes it's claim to PA's best (but some folks at blue mtn. and knob might argue). Its a great ski experience but thats it. No real convienent lodging or good nightlife at the hill. The terrain is top notch with good beginner trails (Tioga and West Slope are great), true blues (Delaware a must, Kickapoo is real fun), and some real quality diamonds (stellar bumps on Tunkhannock and Seneca among others, high-speed ripping on Slalom, Susquehanna, and Wyalusing among others). The lower terrain park is a joke, and the main park is very small (but it does have a tow lift and makes the most of it's given area). No pipe as of yet. The lifts are a pro or con. They seem to handle the crowds fine enough during busy periods and, being perhaps slow, keep the crowds to a minimum on the hill. They can be slow when you're drooling for the next run, that's true. The thoughts of high speed laps from a modern lift are such an enticing dream (1st-time patrons would agree), but I would hate to see trails needing to be widened and other ill-effects from high-speed lifts (long-time patrons would agree). The base lodge is beautiful, if not too crowded during busy periods. The learning area is segregated and served by a short double, but I would suggest the West Slope and it's double chair for learning (unless over-crowded). Elk benefits from a high summit elevation for PA (2700') and a north facing aspect for good snow quality. It's snowmaking is determined and has seen steady, if not substantial, upgrades. The grooming here is top notch and on-par with any resort in the country if you can believe that. Most of the terrain is consistently groomed and they get those groomer blades right under the low pine tree branches on some trails. Elk's pine tree-planting efforts are FANTASTIC and should be utilized by more resorts. Planting pine trees along liftlines and trails is beneficial in many ways: scenic, wind-blocking, snow-retaining (thru wind-block, shade, and snowmaking barriers), and hiding me as I rip the trees between trails (Elk highly frowns upon tree-skiing and it's over-zealous, cowboy ski patrol will happily give chase). I think the pricing is a bit steep for it's lack of modern lifts and lodges. Perhaps they justify the price by offering terrain quality that the surrounding resorts can't compete with (Blue Mountain has terrain to compete but suffers from a lower elevation, snow quality, more metro atmosphere, and general poor aesthetics - but has great parks, lifts and lodges) You'll find a more advanced quality of skier/rider at Elk then at other area resorts. This mountain is one of the few area resorts that still noticably has more skiers then snowboarders, but that is for the lack of long, quality parks and less of the metro-crowd. I ski with all snowboarding friends, and they LOVE Elk for what it is. Elk Mountain offers a wonderful all-around ski experience. Great snow, terrain, scenery, and atmosphere. Go elsewhere if you want on-slope lodging, high-speed lifts, ample and cutting-edge parks, or abundant services.

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