Blue Mountain is one of Pennsylvania's premier ski areas. Offering the largest vertical drop in the state and some of its best terrain, Blue Mountain is big mountain skiing close to home.
Blue Mountain boasts Pennsylvania's largest vertical drop at 1,082'. It is an "upside-down" ski area in the sense that most skiers start their day by driving to the main base lodge at the top of the mountain before skiing down. This unusual configuration and the lack of large hills around the resort gives it a feel much more like a deep valley than a tall mountain.
The resort is divided into two main lobes. The looker's right side of the mountain is smaller, offering a vertical of around 600'. This section of the mountain usually opens first each winter and offers a compact, enjoyable ski experience. A mix of black and green trails drop down to a side-by-side pair of double chairs. A combination run of Midway to Lower Main Street is the most interesting descent on this section of the hill. Many skiers skip this part of the mountain because of its slower double chairs and head straight for the two detachable lifts. However, that's often a mistake due to the long lines those two lifts can attract on busy days. In fact, were Blue Mountain only to consist of this terrain, it would still rank as one of the better ski hills in the Poconos.
The looker's left side of the mountain is where skiers can enjoy the resort's full 1,082' vertical drop. Trails for all abilities can be found here, with two double black diamond runs (Challenger and Razor's Edge) being the most noteworthy. This pod is serviced by an express quad and six-pack lift.
Blue Mountain also offers night skiing until 10 pm. When the sun goes down, Blue is just starting to warm up.
Beginners have a lot of options at Blue Mountain. Children learning to ski start at the upper mountain lodge. The short Vista Chair provides access to a handful of mountaintop green runs that, as the chair's name implies, look over the valley below. Adult lessons are available at Frontier Center at the lower base lodge. A series of conveyor belts and the Valley Triple chair are the proving grounds for novice skiers.
More advanced beginners can venture from summit beginner area down the winding Burma Road trail to the base of the dual double chairs. Seasoned novices will also enjoy lapping the over one mile long Paradise trail on the looker's left side of the mountain.
Blue's intermediate skiing is somewhat limited. There are only four blue runs at the resort, one of which (Tut's Lane) is a connector. The three main downhill runs are Dreamweaver, Lazy Mile and Switchback. Dreamweaver is the longest and is the only top to bottom blue run on the looker's left side of the mountain. Lazy Mile and Switchback are accessible from the top of the dual doubles and are long intermediate slopes.
Expert skiers flock to Blue Mountain because of the resort's long runs. There are two main top to bottom runs on the looker's left side of the mountain. Serviced by the express six-pack and express quad, Challenger and Razor's Edge plunge almost the full 1,082' vertical drop. Together with the handful of spurs that onto and off of them, these two double black diamond runs comprise the most difficult skiing at Blue Mountain.
On the dual double lift side of the hill, Blue offers a number of shorter single black diamond runs. The primary advanced run on this side of the resort is the aptly-named Main Street run, directly astride the double chair. Blue allows one side of Main Street to form moguls ("Barney's Bumps") while it grooms the remaninder. The Widowmaker trail also provide a steep pitch and access to two additional short black diamond runs - Midway and The Chute.
Expert skiers will also appreciate the handful of tree runs (described below).
In recent years, Blue Mountain has added a handful of gladed runs. With only 40" of natural snowfall on an annual basis, Blue needed some help from its powerful snowmaking arsenal to be able to get these runs open. Both runs - Blue Baumer Glade and Sleepy Hollow Glade - are located near the top of the dual double lifts and collect the windblow artificial snow made on nearby runs. This helps allow these runs to open with more limited natural snowfall. However, both runs are short and true tree-skiing afficiandos would do well to head farther north where natural snow is more plentiful.
All of Blue Mountain's more upscale on mountain dining options are located at the upper mountain lodge. Here, skiers will find the Slopeside Pub & Grill (where every seat is a window seat), Cornerstone (a large outdoor deck, especially popular in the spring), and the Last Run Lounge (on the top floor of the lodge). All three restaurants serve alcohol and, except for Cornerstone, offer waitress service.
Both the upper mountain and base lodges also offer "grab and go" items and traditional cafeterias.
There is no base area village at Blue Mountain. There are two day lodges - the main, upper mountain lodge and a small cluster of prefabricated structures near the bottom of the express quad and six-pack lifts.
Unfortunately, there is no on-mountain lodging at Blue Mountain. The closest cluster of major chain hotels can be found nearbly in the Allentown-Bethlehem area.
Blue Mountain offers one of the region's largest snowtubing facilities. With 21 lanes and runs that stretch over 1,000', snowtubing at Blue Mountain is a great way for non-skiers to get in on the winter sports fun.
Blue Mountain is approximately 1.5 hours from both New York City and Philadelphia. The drive is mainly on interstate highways until the last 20-30 minutes.
Top: 1,540 ft
Bottom: 458 ft
Vertical: 1,082 ft
Skiable Area: 164 ac
Annual Snowfall: 40 in
Lifts: 14 (2 express chairlifts)
+ biggest vertical in Pennsylvania
+ long runs
+ fast lifts
- can be crowded at peak times
- limited natural snowfall
- lack of charm
Updated for Winter 2014-2015 - David B. Cronheim