Union Dale, PA
In the realm of Pennsylvania skiing and snowboarding, Elk Mountain, rising high in the Endless Mountains is often called, “majestic”. At 1,000 vertical feet that blends cruising trails and long, steep slopes, Elk holds terrain that allows a skier and rider to put together a mile-and-a-half of uninterrupted cruising and challenge. The views from the summit are spectacular and the wooded trails are as pristine as the surrounding, sparsely populated countryside. Here’s what you’ll find.
Elk Mountain is a high, wide peak in Pennsylvania’s little known Endless Mountain range, easily accessed from the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-81 North. You’ll discover 27 slopes and trails of varying degrees of difficulty with an emphasis on advanced and high- intermediate skiers. The expert will plough through the mogul fields and steep, extended headwall on the challenging “Tunkhannock” slope. Advanced snowboarders will gravitate to the “Stompin’ Ground” terrain park overlooking the main lodge, while new riders will hone skills on the “Little Foot Progression Park”, planted on the mountain’s gently contoured cruising terrain. There are 7 lifts, a quad, 5 doubles and a cable tow to keep the uphill traffic moving and spread around the mountain. The trick here is to plan runs that combine distance and variety by pairing interconnecting slopes and trails. It guarantees long runs and a change of pace and scenery.
The tri-level main lodge conveniently holds ticket windows, rental shop, changing rooms, large cafeteria and the centerpiece “Winter Garden” restaurant, bar and lounge. It’s a two story, high ceiling upscale eatery with a panoramic view of the slopes. The creative menu ranges from Asiago fettucini with scallops to a hot turkey dinner . It’s also the backdrop for lively weekend entertainment.
A second lodge on the mountain’s “West” slope is dedicated to picnickers who tote their own lunch to enjoy around a warming fireplace. Elk also has a fully staffed professional ski school and about 40% of the mountain including the most popular trails and the terrain parks are lighted for night skiing and riding.
Elk does not have on-site lodging , but there are many nearby hotels, rental homes and country inns.
What it costs: Adult All-Day lift tickets are $48 midweek, $58 on weekends and holidays. Children (6-12) and seniors (65+) pay $37 midweek, $43 on weekends and holidays. For package, consecutive day and equipment rental prices check out: http://www.elkskier.com/ and click on the “rates” tab.
Getting there: From Philadelphia, Allentown , Southern New Jersey or Delaware: Use the N.E. Extension (Route 476) to Exit 131 (formerly Exit 39), then I-81 North to Exit 206 (formerly Exit 63) to Route 374 East. Follow the signs to Elk Mountain.