by: Fauster - 23rd January 2009

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • Nightlife
  • Terrain Park
  • Value
Good variety of slopes, very little blending of slow / fast skiers.
Nothing within the control of the facility.

Full review

Ski Roundtop is my ‘home’ resort and I’m there at least once per week with my daughter. This is the first full year of skiing for both of us and we have been very satisfied with every trip to the mountain. The snowmaking staff does a tremendous job – they blow snow every time the weather gives them an opportunity. Grooming is also top notch. We love arriving right at the opening time so that we can lay down some of the first tracks of the day. I can’t comment on crowds or costs since we’re skiing on season passes. We ski when conditions are good and the crowds are light. Our longest wait for a lift has been in the 2 – 3 minute range. The mountain: I’ll break my review down to the three separate skill rating areas on the mountain. Beginner: There are four beginner’s slopes. The quad lift servicing Drummer Boy, Powderhorn and Fanny Hill is fairly slow but offers an easy exit from the chairs at the top. The lift for Fife & Drum is shorter and faster but has a little steeper drop from the unloading point. You can also access the top of Fanny Hill from this lift but it can be intimidating for a true beginner. Powderhorn is only an offshoot of the upper Drummer Boy slope but provides a wide and gentle descent. Both Drummer Boy and Fanny Hill offer wide-open slopes with very moderate terrain. Fife & Drum is a little steeper and provides a good transition for the aspiring intermediate skier. One of the best parts of the beginner’s slopes is that they are mostly segregated from the more advanced slopes. Novice skiers don’t have to worry about major trail intersections and packs of faster skiers flying past every few seconds. Intermediate: The three four intermediate slopes are Minuteman, Susquehanna, Lower Exhibition and Lower Lafayette’s Leap. Skiers are treated to an outstanding view of the Cumberland Valley from the top of the Minuteman quad lift. The Minuteman slope is steep at the top before transitioning into a more gradual descent. Fortunately, this section is exceptionally wide and there are options for an easier descent to the right. The remaining intermediate runs branch off of Minuteman after this steep top section. If you are a beginner making your first move up to intermediate slopes, you will have no doubt that you are at a different level of difficulty. The curves and profile changes on Susquehanna and Lower Exhibition / Lafayette’s Leap provide a good contrast to the arrow-straight run on Minuteman. Expert: I’d describe the expert slopes as a range of advanced intermediate to advanced expert. Upper Exhibition is a good spot to cut your teeth on advanced terrain. It is steeper than any of the blue trails but short and manageable. Barrett’s Trail is narrow with a couple of sharp turns near the end but not excessively steep. Upper Lafayette’s Leap is usually half-groomed and half-bumps as is Lower Gunbarrel. Lower Ramrod is wide with good pitch changes. Only Upper Ramrod and Upper Gunbarrel have a double black diamond rating with Upper Gunbarrel being the steeper of the two. Fortunately, skiers are able to access the transition between the upper and lower sections of these expert slopes if they aren’t comfortable or competent with the extreme pitches. The Resort - I have yet to find any rude or unhelpful employees at Roundtop. Everyone from the parking lot attendants to the Ski Patrol has been friendly and accommodating. My only complaint is with the guests that commandeer tables in the cafeteria all day with their gear bags. The solution would be to offer plenty of free unsecured storage space and then enforce a no table-saving policy. Or hire some airport security folks and post signs that state “All unattended bags will be removed and destroyed.” Summary – Ski Roundtop truly offers something for everyone. With the exception of the terrain parks, my daughter and I have skied every slope but Upper Gunbarrel and look forward to each visit. I like the fact that skiers of different abilities are segregated from each other on different slopes and lifts. Accept Roundtop for what it is – a small Pennsylvania mountain convenient to several metropolitan areas – and you won’t be disappointed.
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