great variety, simple layout, long beginner trails
The largest of the Pocono area ski resorts is also the closest to the Philadelphia, Reading, and Allentown areas. Blue mountain does as much as it possibly can with its “highest vertical drop in Pennsylvania”, with two mile-long beginner trails, 3 large terrain runs (one for each beginners, intermediate, and advanced skiers and snowboarders), two double-black-diamond steeps that run the full length of the mountain, and a host of other trails, all with snowmaking and night skiing.
A large, fairly steep mountain to work with allows Blue to create a huge variety of trails. The often-icy Challenge and Razor’s Edge trails drop off like a cliff while the narrow Burma Road weaves back and forth along a gentle slope, allowing beginner skiers to have a mile-long run all to themselves. Three terrain parks, a mogul run, a snocross run (a personal favorite), and several long, wide intermediate and advanced cruisers add even more variety to the mountain.
The layout of the mountain is simple: all skiers disembark from their lifts at one of two “peaks” and each trail leads to one of two base areas. (The lower, larger base area is accessible from the higher, smaller one.) Two high speed lifts carry skiers and riders from the bottom of the mountain to the top in about 5 minutes.
The Bad and the Ugly:
Being the furthest south of the major Pocono resorts forces Blue Mountain to contend with serious icing issues. Even the most advanced skiers will find it difficult to hold an edge on the steepest trails on a Friday or Saturday night, after the trails have been chewed up all day. Be warned and just expect that it WILL BE ICY!
Another problem that stems from Blue’s location is the crowds. Even with both high-speed lifts running, it is not uncommon to wait for up to 15 minutes for a ride up the mountain on a nice Saturday or Sunday. Popular trails like Main Street, Lazy Mile, Burma Road, and Vista can resemble a highway at rush hour, but there are usually escapes. (Try Razor’s Edge or Upper Switchback!)
The Best Trails:
BEGINNER: Burma Road. It’s narrow, so it is often difficult to avoid new skiers and boarders that will inevitably sit in the middle of the trail, but the terrain is gentle and interesting at the same time. Besides, where else in Pennsylvania can you find a green run well over a mile long?
INTERMEDIATE: Switchback. The most-often forgotten trail at Blue has a name that describes it well. It cuts back and forth across the mountain, making a 45-degree turn every 150 yards or so. Some sections can get steep, though, so nervous beginners beware! Look here for a break from the crowds on busier days.
ADVANCED: Razor’s Edge. Between a steep beginning and end (the two steepest spots on the mountain, other than the 300-foot-long Falls trail), the trail levels out a bit into a wide, sweeping cruiser as it skirts along and under Blue’s highest-capacity lift.