Terrain Park, Glades, Number of lifts
Small vertical, Limited challenge
Hearing all the hype about PA's largest ski resort, my daughter and I thought that we'd give Seven Springs a look. Our first impression was a bit disappointing. The mountain covers a lot of area, but with only a 750ft vertical, there really isn't anything very long or challenging. The trails to the left on the front side are particularly short. The expert slopes on the North Face are a bit longer, but only feature a couple of steep drops (that aren't really that steep) with long flat areas in between. Much of the terrain is nothing more than wide open slopes, seperated by lines of small pine trees. An occasional mogul field can be found here and there, but none of them was particularly challenging or steep. Corkscrew is an interesting, winding chute, but not particularly difficult. We pretty much covered the mountain in our first hour and a half. Both being a bit bored, we went in search of the glades after lunch. My daughter had never skied a glade before, so that was kind of a nice treat. Most of them are fairly wide open and a tad icy, but were fun, even if they did not offer a great deal of challenge. The Turtleneck Glades on the North Face were fun if you take it from the very top of the steeper section at the top. Decent moguls and a fairly tight tree pattern required some mildly technical skills, but not much more. There are a number of long beginner trails around the fringes for novices which looked very crowded, although in all fairness we only skied these when we needed to traverse back to the lodge, so we might have just been on the main "commuter routes".
On our second day, my daughter decided to snowboard. Not feeling particularly inspired to bomb down the North Face slope for the umpteenth time, we decided to seek out their terrain park. It is both of our opinion that this is the reason to go to Seven Springs. They have a large park that spans both sides of one of the mountain's ridges. There are three small featured beginner's areas, one of which has a quarterpipe in it. The intermediate area is expansive with two distict areas - North Face Park and The Alley - that feature lots of jumps, jibs, walls and a full halfpipe with a few glades tucked in around it. The expert area -The Spot - features a number of large features, huge jumps, a cannon and an extremely large and steep superpipe that would satisfy all but the most extreme of skiers and riders. We killed almost the entire second day exploring and playing in the various parks.
The resort and supporting facilities are very good, if a bit dated. The lifts are plentiful and spread out across the mountain, so lines were very managable, particularly if you avoid the two high-speed six-packs in the middle of the day. The other lifts are older and slower, but no lines cures a lot of ills. Many of them do not have safety bars, though, which might be an issue for younger children. There are a number of restaurants, lounges and food courts, none of which got overly crowded - we never had a problem finding a place to sit down. The Triliam Spa and outdoor hot tubs make nice apres ski activites and diversions for any non-skiers in your group. The ski and board check costs $2 extra, which is a bit lame, but quite frankly no one ever checked that we paid and we probably could have gotten away with saving the $4 if we had been so inclined. We were advised by some regulars to use either locks, lockers or the check, since high end equipment does tend to disappear occasionally (they suggested it happens about once a day), but that is pretty much common sense in my opinion.
Overall, Seven Springs is a fair mountain by Mid-Atlantic standards. There isn't a lot of challenge for more accomplished skiers and riders, but there is enough there to keep you interested for a day or two, particularly if you are something of a park rat or want a decent introduction to glade skiing. I expect that we'll find our way back there for a day trip again at some point, but it is unlikely that we will make it a vacation destination.