When the snow falls in Pittsburgh, some people head indoors to hibernate until spring. Then there’s another group of people who wait all year for winter, holding their breath in anticipation for the first snowfall.
If you fall into the can’t wait for winter category, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending some time at Seven Springs or Hidden Valley. Fighting the crowds. Trying not to bite it on the ice sheets we call slopes. But you grin and bear it because you can’t justify a trip to Vail.
Don’t head West just yet! The PGH area has plenty of little known ski bumps, bunny hills, and mountain resort hideaways instead. And they’re your ticket to new trails and fresh powder, all under four hours from the heart of the city.
BLUE KNOB ALL SEASONS RESORT
Situated on the highest skiable mountain in PA (just south of Altoona), the slopes at Blue Knob are challenging and varied for skiers and snowboarders. With 34 trails, snow tubing, Nordic skiing, and a terrain park called “The Playground”, this relaxed ski spot offers fun for all. Prepare for an easy-going, slow-moving retreat. And with an affordable all-day pass, you can hit the slopes all morning, noon, and night. Drive time: two hours, four minutes from downtown
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
Mystic Mountain at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort packs a whole lot of winter fun onto 25 acres of downhill skiing and snowboarding. Six slopes, three lifts, short lines, and a terrain park appropriately named The Yeti’s Lair — this first-time friendly resort has it all. Plus, they’ve got runs of all difficulties, creating a great experience for beginners and ski bums alike. Don’t leave before checking out the snowshoeing and dog sledding, too. Drive time: one hour, 27 minutes from downtown
If you’re not feelin’ a four-hour drive, opt for a quick 20-minute trip instead. Totally doable, right? In that case, you’ll want to head to the Boyce Park ski area in Plum Borough. More of a hill than a mountain, the space is limited and conditions here can be as unpredictable as a Pittsburgh winter. But for under $30 for a full-day trip, it’s literally a walk in the park. Drive time: 21 minutes from downtown
TIMBERLINE FOUR SEASONS RESORT | Davis, WV
Boasting the longest trail in the Southeast and peaking at 4,265 feet high, Timberline is a perfect mix of well-groomed class and wild release. They’ve got 41 trails, two terrain parks complete with all the tables, boxes, and rails you could want, and a slope-front hotel. Between the veteran ski school, junior race team, meticulously maintained natural and created snow, and 31 acres of glade skiing, skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities flock to Timberline every winter. Drive time: three hours, three minutes from downtown
CANAAN VALLEY RESORT | Davis, WV
Lots of snow (180 inches per year) and magnificent mountain scenery make for a stellar ski destination. Most of the 47 trails are geared toward beginner or intermediate skill levels, making it a great spot for kids or newbie skiers. But if you’re feeling a little more daring, turn down one of their glade skiing trails instead. Heads up, you may have to duck a few branches! Drive time: three hours, 30 minutes from downtown
KISSING BRIDGE | Glenwood, NY
Featuring 40 miles of skiable terrain situated among 700 acres, Kissing Bridge offers 39 trails and nine lifts. This place is best for those of average ability, as the expert level skier won’t find many challenging runs. But what it lacks in difficulty, it certainly makes up for in character. Their terrain park is more than your average grind, offering their famous BigAirBag to cushion a select jump’s landing — allowing you to go big, without going home in a cast. Drive time: four hours from downtown
WISP RESORT | McHenry, MD
Many yinzers take to Deep Creek Lake during the summer season for some fun and sun. But this Maryland hot spot is a major go-to for your cold-weather expeditions, too. With 34 trails over 172 acres, 13 various lifts, overnight snowmaking and trail grooming, well-lit night skiing, and cozy lodging, Wisp Resort is the winter playland you’ve been searching for. And while you’re there, you’ve gotta check out Wisp Mountain Park — home to the mountain’s ice skating, snow tubing, and infamous Wisp Mountain Coaster! Drive time: two hours from downtown
Perfect for first-timers, Whitetail’s award-winning program can help any newbie get comfortable on the slopes. Between the resort’s nine lifts and 23 trails that peak at 1,800 feet, you’re sure to find a slope that suits your skiing and snowboarding needs. Looking for a little play time? Check out the two terrain parks, where you can get that freestyle fix you’ve been after. Drive time: two hours, 45 minutes from downtown
**Updated by Cassidy Zimmerman, November 2018