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How is Elk Mountain?
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Updated one year ago
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one year ago

I’ve never been to Elk Mountain and I don’t see a lot of information about it here, so I thought I’d ask for some additional insight. I’m a type II skier and I could probably stay in the Hershey area the night before, so distance is mitigated.

The last few years I’ve been a Whitetail the most, but also one-offs at Blue Knob (it snowed a litte, so it wasn’t too icy), Massanutten (blue bird day, but it got crowded) and Timberline which was kind of disappointing. I also went to Camelback a bunch of times, but it gets pretty crowded. I also went to Montage (is it called that again?) 19 years ago.

What’s good about Elk? What isn’t? It looks like they don’t have high speed lifts, but if the lines are short, that’s not too big a deal. It’d be a day-trip.

one year ago

Never been, but always heard good things about Elk.  It’s just that if I’m going that far I usually keep going to Hunter or southern VT. My son, a strong skier, was there a couple years ago.  He liked Elk.  He said they have some good steep groomers and I think some bump runs too.  It is not crowded usually too.  And I guess the ticket costs are reasonable.

one year ago

It was recently mentioned in Washingtonian’s recommendations for local skiing: http://www.washingtonian.com/2015/12/30/best-places-to-ski-snowboard-near-washington-dc/

I haven’t been been but I would like to try at some point.  Agree with Jim that I perceive it to be far but it’s the same time from DC as Snowshoe is.

one year ago

I appreciate the comments - there are some on DC Ski’s Facebook page as well — https://www.facebook.com/groups/26768286366/permalink/10153220138361367/

It sounds like the snowmaking and lifts could be an issue — more the former than the latter. I think I got the idea for Elk from that Washingtonian link and the proximity to one of my friends who might join me.
 

one year ago

Day trip? 4.5 hours from Tysons. 9 hours of driving in one day? With clear roads. If you live up near Baltimore, then it becomes doable.

Elk is not a bad little mountain, but it is situated in no man’s land (for DC.) If you drive a little further, you can ski the Catskills in New York. If you drive a little (a lot?) shorter, you get Blue Knob and Timberline.

I skied Elk last winter. JimK’s description is spot on. It gets less snow than WV. The lifts are as slow as Timberline’s. The terrain is pretty decent, with some pretty good sustained pitch to make the most of it’s vertical drop. A couple of decent bump runs - probably the best in the Mid Atlantic. Tree skiing will get you busted by ski patrol (but the tracks indicated numerous people poach.) There are some nice looking woods, so the enforcement is unfortunate.

It has less crowds than any area in the Poconos.

It has a fairly short ski season (compared to what it could have given it’s location.) Don’t think they are incredibly aggressive with snow making. Tough to find great deals on lift tickets (Liftopia.) Base lodge is pretty decent/new.

 

 

one year ago

wfyurasko wrote:

I’ve never been to Elk Mountain and I don’t see a lot of information about it here, so I thought I’d ask for some additional insight. I’m a type II skier and I could probably stay in the Hershey area the night before, so distance is mitigated.

The last few years I’ve been a Whitetail the most, but also one-offs at Blue Knob (it snowed a litte, so it wasn’t too icy), Massanutten (blue bird day, but it got crowded) and Timberline which was kind of disappointing. I also went to Camelback a bunch of times, but it gets pretty crowded. I also went to Montage (is it called that again?) 19 years ago.

What’s good about Elk? What isn’t? It looks like they don’t have high speed lifts, but if the lines are short, that’s not too big a deal. It’d be a day-trip.

What do you mean by Type II skier?  Do you remember what lifts or trails you were on at Massanutten?  Lift 6 is never crowded.  That’s the one to the top that says “Experts Only.”  If you were only skiing the blue trails at Massanutten, then I assume whether or not Elk has the bump runs open wouldn’t make that much difference.  What trails do you like at Whitetail?

Elk has no lodging near the ski area.  Plenty of locals are there on weekends.  That meanst that from 11:30-2:30 there are lift lines.  Although for some reason most people eat between 12:00-1:00 so if you eat early or late then can get in some runs with shorter lines during lunch time when the lodge is packed.

The Elk ski school is very strong, if that’s of any interest.  One of the long time Examiners (trainer of instructors) is based at Elk.

Elk feels somewhat similar to Whitetail.  Runs aren’t that long but are spread out across the ridge.  Plenty of trees were planted so the runs around the edges make it feel like you are off in the woods more so than other small ski areas.

From Hersey, it’s a pretty straightforward drive to Elk.  Not worth going around to Hunter or Belleayre on a weekend from central PA.  After a snowstorm, worth considering Plattekill if you want to avoid lift lines completely.  But that’s best if you don’t mind steep groomers and like bumps.

one year ago

JohnL and Marz have good thoughts and they are spot on, but I would add something I think they missed, and that is trail count. Elk is arguably twice the size of Timberline or Blue Knob, and for a level II skier who is not looking for bumps or trees, but challenging groomers, I think this is important. For the blue skier, who can handle a groomed black, at Timberline or Blue Knob, they will be limited to 4-5 runs, not so at Elk.

On the lifts, it would not shock me if the rope speed of the twin double lifts at Elk is slower than TLs main lift.  Also, as Marz noted, there are lift lines there.  

Their tag line is something like “its like Vermont, without the drive” but for those of us in the D.C. area its a long drive, and you’re not in Vermont. However, for many the drive is “easier” than Snowshoe.

Do some searching and you should find some old threads on Elk on this site.

Random thoughts:  Many novices love the twisty Kickapoo (sp?) Trail which is a graded twist and turn ordeal.  If Lehigh is open, only with natural, it is a real treat, similar to the Toll Road at Stowe, nothing else like it in the Mid-A.  Typically, the most bump runs in the Mid-A.  Shuttle is a pain on a cold day, and they no longer allow the one run cheat to the ticket window.

one year ago

Elk, to me, is easily the best ski area in PA. Especially if you base that on natural snow, manageable crowd, decent terrain and a bit of an old school vibe (without being tired like most with that description).

If you like terrain parks - it has a small token one, it’s not a focus. If you want high speed lifts - those that have them tend to be more crowded.

Drive is actually quite easy - it’s almost all straight interstate - right up 81. A lot for a day trip, but get a cheap room in Scranton and plan to ski a half day at Montage on your way out.

As for Apres, Elk’s got a nice sized bar and you can’t beat Chet’s - just five mins away and down a dirt road. Jukebox. Cheap beer.

My two bits. ;-)

one year ago

For comparable drive time, I would definitely head to Elk over Snowshoe if going on a weekend with intermediates.  Found that the Microtel Inn in Dickson City, just past Scranton, has a good Stay & Ski deal for two people sharing a room, includes breakfast.  The Microtel owner/GM skis at Elk every chance he gets.

one year ago

I went to Elk a lot for a few years while my so was in drum Corp in jersey/pa area. I agree with comments to date. Skis like a large mountain with a lot larger and longer runs then others in area. I never found snow to be an issue. I also found their snow to be less granular and icy, but might have been time of year. I think even though their average is lower their temps protect what they have more. As far as lifts, all lifts in mid Atlantic east coast suck (the ones that have great lifts have average terrain, the ones with old slow seem to have best terrain)  but never had long lnes to deal with.  Lodging sucks. I did find a small family owned motel that was clean and basic. I think I have posted pics and reports from that time, geese probably 4-5 years ago now. 

one year ago

To the OP. I missed this sentence.

I’m a type II skier and I could probably stay in the Hershey area the night before, so distance is mitigated.

So, ignore the day trip “advice.” Elk’s bump runs are pretty challenging, so you likely wouldn’t be interested in them.

Great advice on this thread; I’m surprised so many people have skied Elk given it’s location. If you are in that part of PA (or have an excuse to do so), Elk is definitely worth checking out. It is also pretty scenic and has a friendly local’s vibe.

 

one year ago

Been on the hil once a few years back, struck me as sort of an average PA mountain, wasn’t crowded, ok terrain, nothing spectacular, but it does have one thing going for it - while AVERAGE snowfall isn’t amazing, it is right in the middle of those storms that track to the north of the DMV area and catch a moderate (or more) powder day.  THAT would make the drive worth it.

one year ago

I appreciate all the feedback everybody. I probably won’t know where I’m going until a few days before due to the typical disclaimers of conditions, friends, etc. I just want to avoid another tript to Whitetail which while fun, isn’t that challenging.

I called myself a Type II skier because when I fill out my rental form, that’s what I put in. When I’m at Whitetail or Massanutten, I’m on the blues and blacks going fairly fast - don’t fight gravity, USE IT.

No moguls due to crummy knees - my last serious attempt was 8 years ago and long-story-short my friend with me said “it looks like a skier exploded!” That little runt has no problem with the bumps because he’s s squat 5’ 6” and I’m a skinny 6’. If we got to Elk or Montage, I’ll spend that night at his place near Hershey.

one year ago

For reviews of ski areas I haven’t been to, I often refer to Rick Bolger’s website www.gondyline.com  

Look what he has to say about Elk!  It was this writeup that led me to make the longer trip to ski Elk for the first time nearly 10 years ago.  Now I try to make it there at least once a season.  It is special.  (Note:  my home areas are Whitetail and Liberty.)

Woody

one year ago

wfyurasko wrote:

I just want to avoid another tript to Whitetail which while fun, isn’t that challenging.

I called myself a Type II skier because when I fill out my rental form, that’s what I put in. When I’m at Whitetail or Massanutten, I’m on the blues and blacks going fairly fast - don’t fight gravity, USE IT.

A Type II. On rentals. Going fast on blues and blacks. You describe Whitetail well.

one year ago

I’ll be up at Elk for the first time this Friday. We will be doing a demo but I hope I’m able to get a run or two throughout the day. I’ve heard such great things for years but was never able to make the trip. Also, we may get stuck up there with snow in the forecast! 😜

one year ago

kickerfrank wrote:

I’ll be up at Elk for the first time this Friday. We will be doing a demo but I hope I’m able to get a run or two throughout the day. I’ve heard such great things for years but was never able to make the trip. Also, we may get stuck up there with snow in the forecast! 😜

Post some pics!

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