Keys to PA

Skiing in Pennsylvania sounds almost as silly to you as skiing in Virginia or even North Carolina. But to me. A resident of nearby Western New York am not that startled. I once cycled to State College to visit my daughter who at the time was a fifth year senior at Penn state. I know the hills or should I say mountains quite well There are a lot of ‘m. The arc northeast to southwest over the greater portion of the state. The majority of the slopes are concentrated in the eastern Pocono Mountain range.

For the life of me, I don’t understand the labeling of mountain ranges. The Poconos blend into the Catskill mountains of adjacent neighbor NY. To the native American there’s not difference nor delineation

It’s the crazy colonials who hypothetical set these arbitrary and truly invisible boundaries that delineate political authority only and are based on no natural geographic barriers So The Duke of York apparently had a premonition of future fun and recreation, but William Penn had more sway over the Royal Court of England. So they agreed to split the then valueless mountain wilderness to share the future resorts and create some wonderful state park to supplement their ski plans especially during the summer-off season.

Four areas claim to be 1K or over, although not by much, and further one might question the accuracy of a couple. But vertical is not the issue. Adequate coverage is the question. Snow making is vital. But when the nor’-eastern come in just right, PA is well worth exploring.

Additionally there are areas I haven’t yet sampled, again because of my tight time frame and a fact that my main source listed them as short of the cut off line of 1K. Camelback and Shawnee on my very desirable wish list – time allowing, snow available and God willing. Dropping south out of the Poconos are a couple other “near-misses” in vertical and even more snow-challenged: White Tail and Liberty. Both of which I hope to experience sometime.

An isolated area (if you could call “dead-center” of the state “isolated”) Blue Knob, is a nifty mountain worthy of its own review. And then there is the slope I associate with Penn State: Tussey Mountain, very short in vertical but loaded with family activities all the year ’round.

The western side of PA remains very hilly, but the word “rugged” simply can’t be applied. Still there exists several smaller rises that make for a fun day of family activity and supplement friendly and familiarity to their paucity of elevation. The Laurel Highlands in the SW corner of the state boast Seven Springs resort (750′ vertical) well regarded for it full=service and high quality slopes.

Let’s note there’s numerous smaller, family friendly slopes that are peppered throughout the state. All totaled PA supports a surprising 21 ski areas. The Poconos have  areas four of which I see as 1Ker’s with 4 wanna-be or near-misses.

The keystone State ranks among the more populace of the nation, so locating comfortable lodging and delicious local food is never a concern, or even other family-friendly supplemental activities. The cities of Pittsburgh in the west and Philadelphia could support many a day’s exploration and certainly endless evenings of food and fun.

Make the Keystone State a family destination with additional subjects to explore: history, education, spectator sports. If any of the above are your primary interest, I advise you take the skis along for a pleasing add-on and be pleasantly surprised.

Or, if you’re a die-hard devotee, await the natural dumps and come, Ski With Me!

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Skier, rider (of sorts), wanderer, teacher, coach, blogger (wannabe), perpetual child, ...