Pittsburgh might not be the first place you think of when you're daydreaming about your next ski trip, but there are a whopping 10 resorts within 100 miles of this Midwestern city. The ski areas in Western Pennsylvania range from small slopes to one with the largest vertical drop and most challenging terrain in the region. Seven Springs is even one of the top-rated ski resorts in the East.
Pittsburgh is a great base destination for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Most of them open by January 1 with a respectable amount of snow.
Blue Knob is the highest skiable mountain in Pennsylvania. It's located at the northwestern tip of Bedford County in the Allegheny Mountains, spanning 100 acres of skiable terrain. This should be your destination if you crave steep drops and long runs. There are 16 trails and three lifts with plenty of easy routes from the top to make it fun for beginner and intermediate skiers, too.
The convenience of this small ski slope, located just 17 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, makes up for what it may lack in terrain and amenities. It's an inexpensive option and is a great starting point for kids and adult beginners. Nighttime hours from Monday through Friday let locals take advantage of the resident discount and get a few runs in after work.
A good mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced terrain plus the robust kids ski school program makes it easy to see why Hidden Valley consistently earns recognition as one of the Mid-Atlantic's most popular family ski resorts. Located just an hour from Pittsburgh in the Laurel Highlands, the resort caters to kids, too, with a snow tubing park and child-friendly food options.
Home of the famous double-diamond Lower Wildcat slope, Laurel Mountain, located on 493 acres of Laurel Mountain State Park in south-central Pennsylvania, boasts the highest vertical drop on the Laurel Ridge (761 feet). Together, Laurel Mountain, Hidden Valley Resort, Mystic Mountain, and Seven Springs Mountain Resort make up the Laurel Highlands, a premier snow-sports destination located fewer than 100 miles from Pittsburgh and within 200 miles of other major metro areas, including the Washington, D.C./Baltimore region and both Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.
Formerly known as Mountain View, this small ski area in Erie County maintains 10 slopes and trails for downhill skiing and snowboarding. With a ski school and tubing park, Monday night College Night, Two-for-Tuesday discount, and a full rental shop, Mount Pleasant makes for an appealing winter destination for groups and families.
The renowned Nemacolin Woodlands Resort earned its reputation as a year-round destination when it opened Mystic Mountain. With six slopes and trails ranging from beginner to expert, skiers and snowboarders of all ages and ability can carve their marks into the mountain. Dog sledding, snow tubing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing round out the options for winter fun at this Laurel Highlands resort.
Just across the border in West Virginia, Oglebay Resort in Wheeling blows a respectable base of man-made snow onto a slope adjacent to its large grounds. The Nutting Winter Sports Complex offers skiing and snowboarding on a groomed trail on weekends (and school holidays), weather permitting, from mid-December through mid-March. Snow tubing is available, too.
Pennsylvania's largest ski area, Seven Springs, was named for an old property deed describing the land as a "piece of property with seven springs on it." Located in Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands, this popular mountain resort operates year-round. Winter brings plenty of snow to the 33 slopes and trails, and seven terrain parks on the mountain encourage you to let the skis or snowboard fly.
Learning to ski or snowboard at a large resort can be intimidating, with people whizzing by and too many runs to choose from. The small Willowbrook area near Belle Vernon, just 30 minutes south of downtown Pittsburgh, gives beginners a safe space to practice their turns. More advanced skiers and riders appreciate the famous giant moguls.
SKI Magazine rated Wisp Resort among the top 80 ski resorts in the nation. It's located in Garrett County, Maryland, about 100 miles from Pittsburgh, and has 34 slopes, snow tubing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, on-mountain lodging, dining, and shopping. During the winter months, Wisp attracts snow lovers from around the mid-Atlantic region.