Going to the Poconos for four days, where to ski?
My wife and I are going to the Poconos in mid January and I'm wondering what ski areas I should check out while I'm there. We will be staying in a condo near Shawnee, but that resort seems to be one of the less interesting ones.
Right now I'm thinking of checking out Elk, Jack Frost, and Blue Mountain. Is there any others I should look at?
Also, my wife isn't a skier, so I'm wondering if anyone can recommend some good non skiing activities for her?
As for the skiing, Elk is definitely worth checking out. When I am up there, I also very much enjoy Blue Mountain as well. Some great terrain there. They do have a snowtubing park there as well.
However, I would also recommend checking out Sno Mountain in Scranton. They have really put some money into that place in recent years. I was up there a couple years ago and thought it was great. If you are an expert skier, they have some good expert terrain on the lower part of the mountain.
As for non-skiing activities, I really don't know, as I've always went up there myself or with other skiing friends (a couple of my friends use to be instructors at Shawnee). I guess there is some shopping around there.
I know this is a cop-out, but you could try "googling" around and see what there is to do as far as non-skiing activities go.
The hardcore and marriage ending response it to dump the wife at Shawnee and head to Elk, or better yet, keep driving to Hunter.
There is not enough at Shawnee to keep you busy for four days and your choices listed are all good ones. Ditto on adding Sno to your list, and I would add Camelback to that as well since it is close to Shawnee.
Mr. Botta wrote some good articles on this site last year on Blue and Sno.
In terms of activities for the spouse, the question and the Poconos are both too broad. There is a lot to do in this large area, and some googling is a good idea.
Last few years we made a late Jan trip to Elk on a Sunday (generally very empty) and Sno Mt on Monday. Both are fantasic places to ski. Elk is pretty "traditional" and feels/skis much bigger than the 1000 vert list. Lots of switch back trails that are fun. Terrain park was weak. The only thing that feels crowded is the lodge at lunch. NOTE: its in the middle of no where. Not much for the non-skier.
Sno was absolutely empty mid week and ski's pretty tall too. It has some great runs to the bottom that are very steep for east coast skiers. Terrain park is pretty good (two of them). Sno serves beer if that tips the scale. I have always want to stay in Scranton to do some sight seeing so there is wife stuff to do.
This web site is pretty active for poconons, but is not as friendly as DCSKI. They cover more of PA than we do though.http://forums.alpinezone.com/index.php?sid=b2b831a08ff012445eb4759bd957ec78
Let us know what you decided ( and why).
I heartily recommend Elk for skiing, though as has been mentioned, there's not much else around. (FYI Elk has beer too! It's in the bar and is pretty reasonable. Actually, you should always eat in the bar since the price to eat in there with table service is basically the same as the cafeteria plus a couple bucks for the tip.)
Sno isn't bad. Excellent snowmaking and some good expert terrain. My dislikes there are that they somehow managed to find lifts that are even slower than Elk's and the staff, particularly the lift attendants are not very professional. Sno's right in town, so the wife could drop you off and go do whatever. There's a big shopping plaza at the bottom of the mountain and it's only 5 or ten minutes into downtown Scranton.
Camelback is a good mountain, but is so crowded on weekends that I won't even bother to go there. I've seen 20+ minute lift lines on weekends (except for that one lift that's hidden behind trees) where Elk would be maybe 5 minutes. Could be a good choice on a weekday, but sometimes they don't run the high speed on the far left which limits the trail count.
Thanks for the suggestions everyone has given. I have a feeling I won't totally settle on where I'm going to ski everyday until I'm up there. However, I am definitely going to take one day to ski Elk. The other three, we'll see what happens.
Sno is a good possibility since there are things for the wife to do close by. Jack Frost and Camelback are close to where we are staying so I may visit one or both of them.
I promise a full report, hopefully with pictures, on where I go and how it was.