Vail Resorts now operates eight ski areas across Pennsylvania, and is busy preparing to open these resorts for the 2023-2024 winter season. All properties are accessible via the Epic Pass, which is available in a variety of formats. However, the last chance to purchase an Epic Pass for the upcoming season is December 3, 2023.
Vail Resorts is unveiling a new My Epic app this season, enabling guests to use their smartphone as their ticket to the slopes. By buying their pass or ticket on-line and activating it in the app, visitors will be able to have passes scanned hands-free without removing their phone from their pocket. The app will also provide interactive trail maps with GPS location tracking, snow reports, grooming updates, and more.
Over the past year, Vail Resorts has made a variety of enhancements across its Mid-Atlantic properties. The following summarizes some of the key upgrades at each resort.
Vail Resorts operates a trio of nearby areas in the scenic Laurel Highlands are of southwestern Pennsylvania, including Hidden Valley Resort, Laurel Mountain, and Seven Springs Mountain Resort.
New investments at Laurel Mountain include a fleet of new rental gear, new fiber internet service, and new guest wi-fi. Enhancements have been made to the lodge, including new exterior doors. The resort team has performed clear-cutting under the Laurel Lift and is testing new snowmaking equipment in strategic locations. Laurel Mountain has also added a live web cam.
Hidden Valley Resort added four new Techno Alpin TR8 snowmaking fan guns and new snowmaking valves, and also purchased a new snowcat to enhance grooming.
Seven Springs has continued to upgrade its impressive snowmaking system by adding new snowmaking pipe, seven new snowmaking stations, 15 new HKD Viper snowmaking guns on Village Trail, and 12 new energy-efficient HKD impulse R5 snow gun towers on Tyrol Slope. These upgrades will help Seven Springs open more terrain sooner. Seven Springs also added two new Pisten Pully 400 snowcats to its grooming arsenal.
Laurel Mountain, Hidden Valley, and Seven Springs also all upgraded their safety equipment to include modern automated external defibrillators (AEDs) suitable for both adults and children.
“In our second year on the Epic Pass, we’re eagerly anticipating the return of our guests to our network of resorts. Whether it’s the thrill of conquering the steep slopes at Laurel Mountain, unwinding at the Foggy Goggle at Seven Springs, or enjoying family lessons at Hidden Valley, we’re dedicated to providing the exceptional experiendces our guests have come to cherish,” said Brett Cook, GM of the three areas.
The proximity of Liberty Mountain, Roundtop Mountain, and Whitetail Resorts to the Baltimore/Washington metro region makes them popular choices with skiers and snowboarders.
Located near scenic Gettysburg, Liberty Mountain is planning a variety of events for the upcoming winter season, including snow tubing parties and live entertainment.
“Liberty is the ideal weekend getaway for those seeking a breath of fresh air, a taste of history, and the chance to try something new or rekindle their skills,” said Liberty General Manager Chris Blackwell. “After a day of exploration, our guests can relax and unwind in the comfort of our lodging, followed by a cocktail and a sumptuous meal at the Eagle and the Owl.”
At Roundtop Mountain Resort, skiers and snowboarders will benefit from some summer enhancements to the snowmaking infrastructure. Roundtop replaced the snowmaking pipeline of Fife and Drum, and installed four new HKD Impulse snowmaking guns on the Exhibition slope. The upper parking lot has also been expanded.
“At Roundtop, we’ve earned our reputation as the ‘Fun Mountain’ for a reason. Join us, hang out, and hit the slopes with friends,” said Ted McDowell, General Manager of the resort.
Whitetail has also made enhancements to its snowmaking infrastructure over the summer. The resort continued installing energy-efficient LED lighting and has also refreshed its inventory of seasonal lease ski equipment.
“At Whitetail, we take pride in offering some of the finest snow conditions and state-of-the-art snowmaking in the region, all while providing breathtaking panoramic views,” said Tim Koons, General Manager of the property.
Further north in Pennsylvania, Vail Resorts operates Jack Frost and Big Boulder (JFBB), two ski areas located near each other.
Last season, a lift upgrade project was completed at Jack Frost and Big Boulder, resulting in the replacement and consolidation of five lifts. This increased uphill capacity while improving accessibility to slopes.
A new snowmaking waterline has been added at Jack Frost to service the East Mountain. New trail signs are being unveiled at both resots, and the Tubing Park at Big Boulder has been updated, providing conveyor carpet or tow-rope options to get to the top of the hill. Rental inventories have also been refreshed at both properties.
“Our five new lifts at Jack Frost Big Boulder are primed and ready to get people on the slopes and in the parks faster than ever before,” said Mountain Operators Senior Manager Jared Klepacki. “We’ll also have our snowmaking system firing and our bubly Tube Park open and ready to welcome guests of all ages.”
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.