Blue Mountain Ski Resort

Blue Mountain Ski Resort is the destination of choice for many people in Philadelphia and surrounding areas looking to go skiing or snowboarding in the Pocono Mountains. For advanced skiers and snowboarders, Blue Mountain Ski Area is best choice in the eastern Mid-Atlantic, with several long steep slopes and challenging terrain parks. The park has 100 percent snowmaking and 100 percent lighting to ensure fun and safe skiing into the evening.

The summit at Blue Mountain PA is just 1,645 feet above sea level. Despite this, Blue Mountain Ski Area still boasts the largest vertical drop in the Mid-Atlantic, at 1,082 feet. Its 39 designated trails help make Blue Mountain one of the top skiing and snowboarding destinations in the Poconos. There are more than 164 skiable areas with opportunities for skiers of all levels, including three runs that are near or more than a mile long.

Blue Mountain PA has recently added new skiing opportunities, including Razorback, which is a 550-foot black diamond trail that's designed to be the new home for racing team events; this will help keep the Razor's Edge area less crowded during special events. Little Gap, an easier trail created as a homage to the ski area's original name, is new as well. In addition, Blue Mountain is now a US Luge Training and Recruitment Site, and the mountain will soon be home to the only East Coast Natural US Luge run that's open to the public.

Other ski options include Nightmare, which is a 900-foot double black diamond trail with steep slopes and plenty of turns; Central Park, the fifth terrain park including two customer-built Snow Grind stair sets. Blue Mountain PA has thirteen lifts, and the high-speed detachable quad and six-person lifts have done much to alleviate lift lines on busy weekends and holidays; the latter is the only one of its kind in the region. The pride of Blue Mountain skiing is Challenger, a long double-black diamond with several steep pitches, including a long fall near the summit. Challenger ends in a great steep pitch known as the Falls, this section is accessible from nearby Sidewinder park or the long blue Lazy Mile. Razor's Edge, next to Challenger off the summit lifts is another fun black-rated slope.

Blue Mountain Ski Area has three lodges: the Summit Lodge, Valley Lodge, and Adventure Center. The Summit Lodge underwent major renovations, the result of which is a picturesque atmosphere with beautiful views of the slopes. The main summit lifts leave from the Valley base, but the better dining options and bar are at the top mountain lodge. From here, you must traverse across the mountain to get to the summit lifts. Along the way, advanced skiers and snowboarders should tackle one of the two short steep runs that connect to Main Street run: The Chute or Midway.

Unfortunately for skiers, the best intermediate trail at Blue Mountain Ski Area, Sidewinder, was recently converted into a terrain park. To make up for this, the resort has constructed a new blue trail next to Razor's Edge. For good blue cruising runs, riders must now look to Sidewinder, off the Main Street double chairlifts, or Lazy Mile, which connects the two parts of the mountain.

Beginners have some great options for Blue Mountain skiing. There are learning areas at both Blue Mountain ski lodges and some nice long winding runs, perfect for practicing turns: Paradise off the summit lifts and Easy Out-Vista-Burma Road off the Main Street lifts.

Snowboarders are spoiled for choice at Blue Mountain Ski Area. There are four designated freestyle areas. Sidewinder run has many jumps, rails, and other features; Lower Sidewinder is a winding trail with huge banks for jumps or tricks. An addition sure to appeal to winter sport fans of all ages is Blue Mountain's large snow tubing area, with numerous tracks spread across the hill near the Valley base. There are 21 runs and three lifts, promising a full day of fun.

Regarding options for food, Blue Mountain has the Slopeside Pub and Grill, which is located just outside the Summit Lodge and has a grill, bar, and fire pit; and the Valley Courtyard. The Courtyard is outside the Valley Lodge and is home to the Trails End Bar, Giuseppe's Pizza, Fresh Tracks Java Hut, and Philly Grill, ensuring that skiers stay warm and well-fed during their time on the slopes.

Blue Mountain PA has no on-site lodging, though there is a good après ski bar in the lodge open until after the slopes close at 10 pm. With Philadelphia only 75 minutes away, this is not a problem for most visitors. For overnight lodging, one of the affordable motels at nearby Allentown is a good option. Closer to the ski resort, there are some friendly bed and breakfasts; The Roth House B&B is the closest. If you do plan on a ski weekend at Blue, consider getting here on Friday night. Get a cheap night ticket that night, a full-day pass on Saturday, and a cheap four-hour pass on Sunday for a perfect and affordable Blue Mountain ski trip.

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