Jack Frost Ski Resort is one of the best places to ski in Pennsylvania. Smaller
than their Appalachian sister ranges to the north and
south (in Vermont and West Virginia, respectively), the Pocono
Mountains of Pennsylvania consist of graceful rolling
ridges that receive inconsistent snow. Despite this, Pennsylvania
now sustains over a dozen successful ski resorts, including
the "Big Two", Big Boulder and Jack Frost
The key to Pennsylvania skiing has been continued technological innovations in the art of snowmaking. Big Boulder, one of Pennsylvania's first ski resorts when it opened in the 1940s, was a key site in the development of modern snowmaking. When its sister resort, Jack Frost Ski Resort, opened in 1972, a state-of-the-art snowmaking infrastructure was part of the mountain design.
In total, the Big Boulder / Jack Frost Ski Resort has
over 30 trails on 130 skiable acres. Tickets to the two
mountains, located just six miles from each other, are
interchangeable. Jack Frost Ski Area is the bigger of
the two hills and has the most advanced terrain.
From the Jack Frost ski lodge, located at the top of the mountain, the black diamond slopes are to the right, the blue slopes in the center, and the green runs to the left. The vertical drop is small — just 600 feet — but there are some good steep pitches on the short black runs. Advanced skiers and boarders would be well advised to stick to the East Mountain lifts and head down Solitude, Floyd's Folly, Lightening and the other black trails and glades on that section of the Jack Frost Ski Area.
Beginners will enjoy the green runs beneath the Jack Frost ski lodge, served by Easy Way and Snow Ridge lifts. Once you have confidence on these short slopes, continue down the blue-rated Easy Rider and Ridge Run to the bottom of the slope. For longer blue slopes look to DeMatte's Demise and Exhibition served by the Blaze lifts.
Jack Frost Ski Area closes at 4 pm, but Big Boulder stays open until 10 pm (11 pm on Saturdays). So with the same ticket you can ski all day at Jack Frost, get some dinner and rest, then drive over to Big Boulder for an evening on the slopes. A great way to ski Pennsylvania mountains!
Big Boulder is smaller and more family friendly than Jack Frost Ski Area. Although the total vertical drop is shorter (475 feet), Big Boulder's beginner slopes are longer and more varied, making it a better mountain to learn skiing or boarding. There is not much in the way of steep terrain at Big Boulder; even the black-rated trails are suitable for intermediate skiers. The winding Draufganger run is a nice cruising black diamond.
Big Boulder is also the place to go for snowboarding features, with five designated freestyle areas, including the large Boulder Pass and Widow Park terrain parks. Jack Frost Ski Area has two terrain parks: ONE Park, with a 400-foot half pipe; and Easystyle Intro Park, a perfect place for practicing tricks.
Lift ticket prices at Big Boulder/ Jack Frost Ski Resort are similar to those at other ski Pennsylvania sites, about $40 to $50 for an adult pass, depending on the day and time of season. Deals are available for multi-day passes and discounted tickets are sold in advance before the season begins.
Both Big Boulder and Jack Frost have condo rooms for rent at the resort; more accommodation is available near Interstate 81 and Interstate 80 and in nearby Allentown. Driving time to Philadelphia is about 2.5 hours, so Big Boulder/ Jack Frost Ski Resort is also a great place for day skiing or boarding.