by: Christopher Horner - 18th January 2009

  • 5
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • Nightlife
  • Terrain Park
  • Value
Great terrain, snowier than most places in PA, great for families
Could use a new lift or two; food service inefficient

Full review

I love Elk Mountain! The first time I went was one of the last days of the season several years ago, and almost everything was open. I had a blast exploring the extensive terrain. Since then I've been several times, including early Jan. with my 10 year-old son and some friends. The terrain can't be matched by any area in PA, it does feel like Vermont (though smaller than most VT areas). There are a couple of nice mogul runs, most notably Tunkhannock, which is an extensive mogul field in its top half. I also like the trail names which are mostly drawn from the local Native American place names. The lodge is comfortable and has a nice homey feel. The food is decent and not way over-priced, though they could use their food service staff far more efficiently. We watched any number of young workers making their way through the lodge to wipe a table or pick up a tray, but they could've had one or two kids doing the job that five or six were doing. Also they had a really young kid training on Hot Chocolate service on a busy Saturday and it was holding up the whole line. More pros: Beautiful setting, great views. You really feel like you are in the woods. Family friendly. Good snow-making coverage. A few cons: If they replaced the Tunkhannock lift with a high speed lift it would be a big improvement. Do they really need to run the incredibly loud snow-makers during the day on a weekend? It really detracts from the experience. They advertise a 1000 foot vertical drop, but any fool (like me) with Google earth can plainly see that it is more like 850 ft. The woods are all officially closed to skiing but really enticing! They should look at how places like Jay Peak do it and get those woods open. It would dramatically increase the available terrain. Bottom line: Bring the family, or head over with a few pals. You won't find better in PA!
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