Reporting Jay Lloyd
If your wintertime fun includes cruising down a snow covered trail on skis and snowboards, chances are pretty good that you made your first turns on the slopes of Spring Mountain. This landmark ski area rises over central Montgomery County and has seen generations of skiers pass through its highly regarded ski school. Some even went on to become Olympic caliber racers!
Of course, the mountain has come a long way since the sixties when a rugged Austrian Mountaineer named Gunter Starker was teaching new skiers at two dollars a lesson. There are now more trails and lifts, terrain parks and tubing chutes. There’s even an inn where snow seekers can spend a night. So gear up and let’s cruise the mountain! – Jay Lloyd
Looking up from the main parking lot past the Alpine lodge, the front slope (studded with a pair of lifts) is a broad avenue that holds gently graded teaching and cruising terrain, park features for snowboarders, the Spring Mountain tubing chutes and the well protected “Ski Bee” run with its own Magic Carpet lift for kids as young as three. For skiers and riders seeking more variety and challenge, catch the main lift to the summit, then stay to the left heading down and turn off on “Hawk,” a fun-to-cruise connector trail that brings you to the back side of the mountain. Here you’ll find steeper terrain etched with a quintet of trails and slopes that range from constant pitch cruising to a bump grinding challenge. Two lifts service the five trails and another connector that drops you back to the base lodge. A modern snowmaking system covers the entire mountain.
Slopes and Trails: 9 including the children’s “Mole Hill” and the tubing run.
Lifts: 6 including the Magic Carpet and the tubing lift.
The entire mountain is lighted for night skiing.
The Alpine-style base lodge is a spacious central collection of all the services expected at a ski resort. There’s a well stocked ski and snowboard rental shop with benches for gearing up and the ski school center. Fuel for the inner skier can be found at a compact cafeteria on the main floor that dishes out traditional ski chow, pizza, soups and salads with a reasonable price tag. There’s plenty of table space with a mountain view. If you’re at the mountain and gloves, goggles and chapstick are at home, there’s a display of commonly needed items for sale.
The professionally staffed Spring Mountain ski school has been getting new skiers and snowboarders on the slopes for decades. The school offers multi-lesson courses for youngsters and basic group and private lessons for young and adult skiers and riders who want to elevate skills from beginner through advanced levels. A combination lesson, equipment rental and beginner slope lift ticket for the first-timer is available on weekends for $65. Group lessons for all levels are $30, while private instruction checks in at $70. Add a second skier for an additional $45. See all the courses and instruction rates here.
WHAT IT COSTS
Free is good. That’s the price for 4th graders in local school districts. Check here to see if your child’s school is in range and learn how to sign up.
An all-area lift ticket is priced at $33 mid-week and $43 on weekends. Senior and children’s discounts are available. Find them and rental rates here.
The Woodside Lodge is a completely refurbished and meticulously maintained country inn with individually decorated rooms and suites. A lively pub serves up happy hour specials and après ski chatter. The dining room menu ranges from standard American fare to creative dishes with a taste of New Orleans and a bit of Italy. Ski season room rates for two run $129 midweek, $139 on weekends and include a chef-prepared breakfast.
Spring Mountain Notes: The mountain and Woodside Lodge are owned and personally operated by Rick and Gail Buckman, names synonymous with Pennsylvania skiing.
Parking: When the Base Lodge lot is full, shuttle service is available from a second parking lot at the base of the back side slopes.
From Philadelphia take the Schuylkill Expressway to Route 422 and exit at Collegeville. Follow Route 29 north to Schwenksville and turn right at Spring Mountain Road. Continue to the mountain.