Chronicling the corduroy.
Elk Mountain vs. Montage
12 posts from 5 users
Updated 6 months ago
Jump to Newest Post
7 months ago

I’m trying to go skiing with a friend from Hershey, Pa. this month. Last time we did Camelback, but frankly it was too crowded. We’re considering Montage or Elk. We’d be starting our day at his place not far from I-81, so it’s a fairly straight shot either way. Based on what I’m seeing, Elk is probably worth the extra 90 minutes roundtrip.

  • How are the rentals at Elk & Montage? I need to rent skis and my friend probably will too since he’s got the 1980s Rossis…
  • How is Elk’s snowmaking? Do they get most of the mountain open in a typical year by MLK weekend?

I’ve never been to Elk, but this friend and I once spent a Friday night at Montage on $10 lift tickets. Should we have hunted down $10 lift tickets every weekend since we were in college near the Poconos. Yes. Huge regret, maybe the biggest of college. Actually, maybe the second-biggest…

Either way, I’ll put together a full report and update my Map: Mid-Atlantic skiing daytrips from DC page, 2019-2020 DC Commuter skier preview and post here in the forum.

7 months ago

That is not a bad choice.  You can find reasonable hotels, stay and do both.

Can’t comment about snow making, but have been to both several times.  Elk skis bigger and feels more lie a resort.  Anxious to read your report.

7 months ago

I actually just got back from skiing both this weekend with my son - he’s 14 now, I’ve been wanting to do a road trip with him to some local resorts for a few years now, and this weekend we finally went. Skied Montage Friday evening and Saturday all day, and Elk on Sunday morning. We did not rent skis so I cannot say how the process is at either place. Also not sure what Elk’s typical schedule for getting things open is. They were a bit more that 1/2 open today but what was open seemed to have very deep bases.

Anyway I liked both resorts. Elk’s strong point is the number of runs that basically use all (or most) of the mountain’s 1000 feet of vertical. Very little runout, and a good solid pitch on the blacks. Nothing super steep (of course, not all of the blacks were open so I cannot say if any of the closed ones were steeper). The blues we skied had a nice, winding feel to them. 

Montage was also fun. The pod of black runs on the lower mountain were fun, although shorter than the blacks at Elk. White Lightening at Montage was steeper than anything at Elk and was a pretty impressive run by Mid-Atlantic standards.

How many days will you be going? Would you be able to do a day at each?




marzNC - DCSki Supporter
7 months ago

You mean January?  Skiing on the weekend or midweek?

On a weekend, I would go to Montage if both places are 100% open.  I liked the vibe there a bit more than Elk.  Note that the current ownership of Montage has a pretty solid handle on how to run it successfully.  My friends who live in Philly have season passes to Montage for weekend skiing.

There are a couple of ski shops on the way to Elk, after you get off I-81.  The Idlewild Ski Shop has been around for over 30 years.  As I remember they had a very good selection in general.  But we didn’t need to rent skis.

7 months ago

I appreciate all the feedback so far. How many ski areas have a trail called White Lightning? Seems like I’ve been on a few…

My thinking is MLK Day weekend — I did that for Camelback two years ago and that was a mistake. It’s my last weekend until broomball every Sunday night. We’ll see.

The top to bottom of Elk is what has me leaning that way. My friend(s) joining me are probably not in the greatest ski shape either, so really steep could be an issue.

Either way, I’m looking forward to goign somewhere different — I’m almost always at Whitetail and that’s good, but I want some variety.

6 months ago

Has anybody driven up to Elk Mountain while its snowing? It’s early, but that’s what next Saturday is looking like. I’m not terriblely worried about I-81 (though perhaps I should be). Does anybody know if PennDOT does a good job with the surface roads between I-81 and Elk?

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago

wfyurasko wrote:

Has anybody driven up to Elk Mountain while its snowing? It’s early, but that’s what next Saturday is looking like. I’m not terriblely worried about I-81 (though perhaps I should be). Does anybody know if PennDOT does a good job with the surface roads between I-81 and Elk?

I haven’t driven to Elk during a snowstorm, but have driven there with snow on the 2-lane roads after getting off I-81.  Not mountain driving so didn’t have any issues with my NC minivan (no snow or all-weather tires).

The only spot that can be a problem is the hill going up from the parking lot when leaving.  My first trip was midweek and frigid (single digits) so no traffic.  However, a couple men in a big SUV were creeping up the hill and then slid off to the side.  When I realized there was a problem, I backed back down.  It quickly became clear they weren’t going anywhere any time soon.  With a running start, I didn’t have any problem cresting the hill.

6 months ago

I went to Elk yesterday! I’m hoping to get my write-up done tonight. 

6 months ago

Skiing: January 18, 2020 Elk Mountain

View from the top of the Tunkhannock trail at Elk Mountain Ski area in Northeast Pennsylvania

UNION DALE, Pa. — The false winter of November yielded to a difficult weather pattern for Mid-Atlantic snow sports enthusiasts. A major winter storm hitting the northern portion of the country gave hope that an annual ski trip with a Penn State friend, “The Videographer” could happen over MLK weekend. In order to make it happen, we needed to go north.

Read more


6 months ago
Great write up! I always enjoy these.
6 months ago

I love the “don’t hate winter, use it” tagline.  I enjoyed the write up - good stuff on your website.

Ad: Seven Springs Mountain Resort

Speak truth to powder.
If you'd like to share your own comments, please log in to DCSki.
Don't have a profile? Create one here.
Page load time: 0.22 seconds