If You Like Ice and Crowds--Go During Christmas Break

by: SnomanPack355 - Jan 3, 2012

  • Overall Rating 2
  • Family Friendly 1
  • All-Mtn. Terrain 3
  • Terrain Park 3
  • Nightlife 3

    Pros: Decent trails, good lifts

    Cons: Ice, crowds, out-of-control boarders

    Recommended For: Singles

    Date Visited: Dec 1, 2011


Full review

I have been dying to get to some more skiing this year since my local resorts (local to Baltimore) hadn't opened yet. So, seeing that Blue Mountain had a fair number of trails opened, I planned a day over Christmas break to take my oldest son. It rained on Tuesday so I hoped that 2 days of grooming and snowmaking would make conditions tolerable on Thursday (highs in the low 30s). It was almost 3 hours driving to get there. We arrived at 9:15 (later than I wanted) and saw the LONG lift ticket line. Luckily, I asked the ski check dude where to get lift tickets and he pointed to the regular lift ticket line, or group sales. So, I headed to group sales, hoping I'd luck out. After a 2 person wait, they didn't bat an eye when I asked for all-day lift tickets for my son and I. $102 later, and we were heading off to the first trail. It was crowded on the trails and they were fairly worn out by the time we got there. Lots of piles of manmade snow pushed all over the trails. I believe that they were groomed at the beginning of the day because there was still a little corduroy along some edges. To ride the opened advanced trails, we had to head down Midway to Lower Main Street. No problem on Midway but there were piles of manmade snow and a base of solid ice on Lower Main Street. We got in line for the dual double lift and were shocked that no one was directing traffic from the four "cattle chutes" to the two turnstyles. It was basically a free-for-all, although everyone was pretty well behaved. My 11 y.o. son was muscled out by a person or two sometimes so I wasn't all that enamored of this system--especially considering the crowds. Kudos for the cool turnstyle that read your lift ticket anywhere you had it on your person (other than next to a phone--not sure why) and opened the gate to let you in. It was fun having the two two-person lifts next to each other. We got to the top and decided to try Upper Main Street, which wasn't as piled up as Lower Main Street (both black diamonds), but was still solid ice underneath. Hard to believe that they were black diamonds as they were no more difficult or steep than most of the blues on the backside of Ski Liberty. No offense to the snowboarders but there were a lot of young snowboarders taking Main Street at full speed. Given the crowded conditions, I thought they were out of control and would have gotten a warning and slowed down by the Ski Patrol at most places I've been. However, I only saw the ski patrol near the lifts and not patrolling the slopes at all. Maybe they hated the conditions as well. Next time up, we took the Lazy Mile, which was a pretty fun trail--still icy with piles of snow crud everywhere but not quite as bad as Main Street. Skiing still never felt comfortable. We headed over to the high speed lift (Challenge Express) which, although it was a 6-person chair, was even a longer wait. At the top, we rode Tut's Lane over to Lazy Mile again. More out of control people, ice, and snow piles so we took a couple of trails over to the lodge. I noticed in the lift lines that at least half of the customers were boarders. We took a break for lunch and brown-bagged it in the lower part of the lodge (no outside food allowed upstairs) just watching more and more people file in to buy their lift tickets. After lunch, we decided that we had had enough and would head home. As we were loading up the SUV to head home, we heard two girls that were leaving telling someone that the lift lines were taking an hour!!! I'm glad we decided to leave. Overall, it was a huge disappointment, given the conditions and the crowds. I was hoping for better but it didn't happen. I can imagine the place being pretty good without the crowds and ice. The trails I went on would have been very enjoyable without them. Maybe I'll have to take a weekday or two off of work later next month to find out. I would definitely not bring my younger kids there on a busy day (weekend or holiday) given the situation with the cattle chutes at the lift lines--at least not without other adults to help them keep their place in line. Will I go and try again? Possibly--but I may try other places in PA that are a similar distance away (such as Blue Knob).
BTW, I rated terrain park and nightlife as average, since I didn't really get a chance to see either on this trip.

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