Firsthand Report: Ski Roundtop
By Mike Ross
March 2, 2012 — It’s never too young or old to go skiing, as my father is now a ski addict, having learned to enjoy this sport in his 60s for the first time. What a joy it is to go out on the slopes with my dad, who besides teaching me good values and a whole lot in life, has also spent years professionally encouraging folks to become involved with parks and recreation at the National Park Service and Maryland Parks and Recreation Association. On Febuary 22, 2012 we decided to finally go to Ski Roundtop, after going to their sister parks of Liberty and Whitetail before. Roundtop of course, is a bit further from the D.C. area, up Rt. 15 close to the sleepy town of Dillsburg, PA, and within close distance of Harrisburg, PA.
This resort is not as modern as Liberty or Whitetail, and if you want to rent fancy equipment or dine at an exquisite restaurant, go somewhere else. Yet, if you want to just simply have fun on the slopes, Ski Roundtop is actually decent enough. A word to the wise. Drop your equipment off at the front of the lodge, because the parking lot is up on top of a hill. There are ample spots, but you are going to take a bit of an unexpected walk, and it’s obviously better without skis, boots, and poles. Getting lift tickets was easy enough, although at $46 for a four-hour ticket, be sure to hit as many slopes as you can. Upon our arrival, the green slopes were jam packed. There were not enough employees to handle the large crowds, and the lift constantly was starting and stopping, due to inexperienced skiers and boarders. While my father and I like to warm up on the greens, we finally had enough after two runs, but were pleasantly surprised to find the other slopes other than Fanny Hill and Drummer Boy to be empty for the most part.
As for those slopes on the right side, they are fine for beginners, but you are going to deal with large crowds. I cannot even begin to fathom what weekends are like. On the left side of the mountain are good slopes that work for intermediate level skiers. The Recruit slope is great for working on turns, due to the wide trail, and you can pick up decent speed at the bottom. Its gentle start is appreciated, and the last couple hundred yards are exciting. Next to the Recruit is the Middleman. There the snow was not in the best condition, as it was slushy. A lot of this was weather related, and no fault of the staff at this resort. However, a few surprises of rough spots did cause an accident, that caused the end of the day for one person. We learned a lot about physics, as speed plus weight can cause some issues.
There are some excellent views of Harrisburg off in the distance from the top of the mountain. If you are over by the Upper Exhibition slope, along with the Patriot, you can see the Capital and also Three Mile Island’s Nuclear Reactor. No, we do not need a night light anymore, after spending time here. We tried to see the Susquehanna River, but were not able to view it, but the rest of the surrounding valley is picturesque and peaceful with abundant pine trees. These slopes were very fast, and the conditions were impeccable. I was able to really carve and just let it rip, and the speeds obtained were on the higher end. Excellent slopes for the Mid-Atlantic on the right side, and the triple and quad lifts were appreciated. They aren’t of the high speed variety, but they are quick enough and without stoppages to get you back for another run in no time.
Ski Roundtop isn’t as fancy or exciting as Liberty or Whitetail, but it’s not a bad option, for those who want to try something different. Their ski patrol was very active, making sure that people and the trails were alright, and the conditions were decent even in warm weather. The employees were all helpful, and there’s a fairly large dining area, where you can get your $8 hamburger or $6 hotdog. I would go again, and my father agreed that it was a fun experience, even with our little accident that has left him walking with a brace this week. Be wary of those moguls, as they are challenging here. Sure there are better and bigger resorts in the region, but for a change of pace, at least a trip here is worthy of your time, and the views of a big city are different from most other ski areas.
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Roundtop Mountain Resort Visit - posted by Chris Dudding
October 15, 2012 at 10:36 am
Thanks for your comments Mike. We do our best to provide a quality experience for everyone. Two points of clarification, we do have a sit-down restaurant and pub on the third floor of the lodge if you are looking for something more upscale. Also, our rental equipment was brand new last year so you can expect good quality there. Hope you visit us again very soon!