When the snow falls in Pittsburgh, some people head indoors until spring. Then there’s another group of people who wait all year for winter, counting down the days until ski season.
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! Check out these under the radar ski bumps, bunny hills, and mountain resorts instead. They’re your ticket to new trails and fresh powder, all within four hours of Pittsburgh.
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 has fun for all. Prepare for an easy-going, slow-moving retreat. And with an affordable all-day pass, you can go all morning, noon, and night. Drive time: 2 hours, 4 minutes from downtown
Calling this spot a mountain might be a bit of an exaggeration, but Mystic Mountain is packed with winter fun. Six slopes, three lifts, short lines, and an all-new terrain park highlight a fun and firsttime friendly resort. With runs of all difficulties, it’s a great experience for beginners and ski bums alike. Best of all, it’s located at Nemacolin Woodlands, one of the region’s best resorts, offering lots of other winter activities like snowshoeing and dog sledding. Drive time: 1 hour, 27 minutes from downtown
If four hours is too far of a drive, how do you feel about 20 minutes? Totally doable, right? If you answered yes, then you’ll want to head to the Boyce Park Ski Area in Plum Borough. More of a hill than a mountain, space is limited and conditions here can be as unpredictable as a Pittsburgh winter. But for under $20 for a full-day trip, it’s literally a walk in the park. Drive time: 21 minutes from downtown
Timberline Four Seasons Resort — West Virginia
Boasting the longest trail in the Southeast and peaking at 4,268 feet high, Timberline is a perfect mix of well-groomed class and wild release. They’ve got 40 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 should flock here this winter. Drive time: 3 hours, 3 minutes from downtown
Canaan Valley Ski Resort — West Virginia
Lots of snow (180 inches per year) and magnificent mountain scenery make this spot a stellar ski destination. Most of the 47 trails are geared towards 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 three glade skiing trails. Heads up, you may have to duck a few branches! Drive time: 3 hours 30 minutes from downtown
Kissing Bridge Resort — New York
Featuring 40 miles of skiable terrain situated among 700 acres, Kissing Bridge offers 39 trails and 10 lifts. This place is best for skiers of average ability, as the expert level skier won’t find any 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: 4 hours from downtown
Wisp Resort — Maryland
In the summertime, many Pittsburghers head to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland for some fun and sun. Well in the wintertime, this is the place to go for snow. With 34 trails over 172 acres, 13 various lifts, overnight snowmaking and trail grooming, well-lit night skiing, and cozy lodging, Wisp Resort is a winter playland. And if you think that’s a playland, you should see Wisp Mountain Park. It’s a section of the mountain home to ice skating, snow tubing, and the Wisp Mountain Coaster! Drive time: 2 hours from downtown