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Elk Mountain firsthand report
22 posts from 11 users
Updated one month ago
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2 months ago

ICYMI on the Elk vs. Montage thread

 

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.

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YAAAAH-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOOEY!

2 months ago

Sweet report!  And great website!   This season I am committed to Killington mostly with a pass but looking forward to next season and getting back to more local slopes as weather allows,  these reports really help, another old favorite Blue Knob was never fully open to enjoy what looks to be some awesome terrain whenever I was there.

2 months ago

Vermont wrote:

Sweet report!  And great website!   This season I am committed to Killington mostly with a pass but looking forward to next season and getting back to more local slopes as weather allows,  these reports really help, another old favorite Blue Knob was never fully open to enjoy what looks to be some awesome terrain whenever I was there.

Glad you enjoyed the write-up and site, @Vermont. 

Elk was pretty good, I think I’ll go back, but it’s a weekend committment or at least half a weekend. That’s tough on a commuter skier like me, I might get out once.

I have only been to Blue Knob once in 2012. It appeared uncaptialized then and it sounds like it hasn’t gotten better. It’s a real shame, because it’s unique among Mid-Atlantic ski areas with Stembogan Bowl and just the general vibe.
 

2 months ago

wfyurasko wrote:

Vermont wrote:

Sweet report!  And great website!   This season I am committed to Killington mostly with a pass but looking forward to next season and getting back to more local slopes as weather allows,  these reports really help, another old favorite Blue Knob was never fully open to enjoy what looks to be some awesome terrain whenever I was there.

Glad you enjoyed the write-up and site, @Vermont. 

Elk was pretty good, I think I’ll go back, but it’s a weekend committment or at least half a weekend. That’s tough on a commuter skier like me, I might get out once.

I have only been to Blue Knob once in 2012. It appeared uncaptialized then and it sounds like it hasn’t gotten better. It’s a real shame, because it’s unique among Mid-Atlantic ski areas with Stembogan Bowl and just the general vibe.
 

Stembogan that’s it, caught my attention years ago but never seen it open, cool pictures you added, that’s a nice ride up 81, I will put Elk on list of places to try along with Laurel sounds cool and I have always wanted to check out Massanutten since moving down here, 

one month ago
Hi, could the forum members recommend a place to stay near Elk Mountain. Thinking about taking the family there this weekend, and Scranton seems to be the closest town with good hotel options. My wife doesnt ski so I am looking for a comfortable place for her to spend her time while we are skiing. Unfortunately, Scranton looks to be about a 40min drive to the ski resort.
one month ago

I’ve stayed at the Hotel Anthracite in Carbondale, which is about a 15 minute drive from Elk Mountain. It’s a lovely, modern property with a great restaurant and bar. The town is quiet and old-school and has a handful of restaurants aside from the one at the hotel.

Otherwise, Dickson City and Clarks Summit are the closest alternates but are more like 30-35 minutes from Elk. They benefit from proximity to Scranton with more dining options.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago

Dafixison wrote:

Hi, could the forum members recommend a place to stay near Elk Mountain. Thinking about taking the family there this weekend, and Scranton seems to be the closest town with good hotel options. My wife doesnt ski so I am looking for a comfortable place for her to spend her time while we are skiing. Unfortunately, Scranton looks to be about a 40min drive to the ski resort.

Several years ago I stayed at the Microtel Inn in Dickson City.  Had a Ski & Stay package back then, but don’t know if it still exists.

The Hotel Anthracite sounds like more comfortable place to hang out for a non-skier.

One advantage of Montage over Elk is that it’s closer to Scranton.

one month ago

Yes, Anthracite is a bit more upscale than the Microtel. I’ve stayed at both, and I prefer Anthracite as it’s a lot closer to Elk than the Dickson City hotels and only marginally more expensive. I can’t speak to a lodging-plus-ticket deal, though one would definitely be enticing.

one month ago

Wyfursko, thanks for the report on Elk.  It’s been too loing since I’ve been there, and I was wondering how they were doing this season.

If the family would enjoy a quieter, rural setting, I stayed at Wiffy Bog Farm B and B in Clifford, PA, less than 5 miles to Elk.  Carbondale and Scranton are maybe a half-hour away, though.

Woody

one month ago

Wfyursko, thanks for the informative and interesting report on Elk.  Pennsylvania’s best, as far as I’m concerned.  It’s been too loing since I’ve been there, and I was wondering how they were doing this season.

If the family would enjoy a quieter, rural setting, I stayed at Wiffy Bog Farm B and B in Clifford, PA, less than 5 miles to Elk.  Carbondale and Scranton are maybe a half-hour away, though.

Woody

one month ago

Thank you All for your recommendations.  

We are currently booked at the Hilton in Scranton; a little farther then the recommended hotels in Carbondale and the surrounding areas;  Ultimately, with my Diamond status with Hilton, the free breakfast and late checkout tipped the scale for us.

We had planned to ski at Elk on Sunday and Monday.  However, we did not realize that there is another close by resort, Montage, as marzNC has mentioned.  Is it advisable to split the days between the two resorts?  The kids are 10 and 12, but they love to ski the more challenging Blue and Black trails.

one month ago

I have skied Montage and really liked it!  A few years ago during a very warm winter and they had a lot of trails open with good coverage.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago

Dafixison wrote:

Thank you All for your recommendations.  

We are currently booked at the Hilton in Scranton; a little farther then the recommended hotels in Carbondale and the surrounding areas;  Ultimately, with my Diamond status with Hilton, the free breakfast and late checkout tipped the scale for us.

We had planned to ski at Elk on Sunday and Monday.  However, we did not realize that there is another close by resort, Montage, as marzNC has mentioned.  Is it advisable to split the days between the two resorts?  The kids are 10 and 12, but they love to ski the more challenging Blue and Black trails.

The lower mountain black trails at Montage are quite fun.  Depending on the snow, might be bumps.  White Lightning is steep enough to require a winch cat for grooming when that’s necessary.  You won’t find many intermediates in that section of the mountain.  Note that it’s very hard to see the lower mountain from the highway.  The lodge is actually in the middle of the mountain. Assuming you’re driving up on Friday, you might take a short detour and take a look on the way to Scranton.

Assuming you may want to get up to that area again in the future, there’s a lot to be said for checking out both places.  I like both but for different reasons.

one month ago

bousquet19 wrote:

Wfyursko, thanks for the informative and interesting report on Elk.  Pennsylvania’s best, as far as I’m concerned.  It’s been too loing since I’ve been there, and I was wondering how they were doing this season.

If the family would enjoy a quieter, rural setting, I stayed at Wiffy Bog Farm B and B in Clifford, PA, less than 5 miles to Elk.  Carbondale and Scranton are maybe a half-hour away, though.

Woody

Thanks, glad you liked my blog post. 

Elk is one of my favorites in Pennsylvania so far. I saw on twitter the other day that they have all trails open now. If I had the time, I’d go back this season. 

 

one month ago

Thanks for your awesome report! I was thinking about going to their or snowshoe at the end of the month. Does Elk’s steeper runs compare well to Snowshoe? (I’ve never been to either) I just hesistate with snowshoe because apart from the western territory it looks like terrain that’s very crowded and isn’t any better than whitetail. 

one month ago

jpetraiuolo wrote:

Thanks for your awesome report! I was thinking about going to their or snowshoe at the end of the month. Does Elk’s steeper runs compare well to Snowshoe? (I’ve never been to either) I just hesistate with snowshoe because apart from the western territory it looks like terrain that’s very crowded and isn’t any better than whitetail. 

I’m glad you enjoyed my report.

I haven’t been to Snowshoe either — I’m a commuter skier for the most part, though I’ll sometimes I’ll get a motel or stay with a friend if I’m going up to the Poconos. This was my first trip to Elk and not everything is open, so I can’t give you a complete answer on the steep runs. I feel like Timberline had some pretty steep runs, but that doesn’t help this year. Montage has some short steep runs as well and that’s slightly closer.

one month ago

Dafixison wrote:

We had planned to ski at Elk on Sunday and Monday.  However, we did not realize that there is another close by resort, Montage, as marzNC has mentioned.  Is it advisable to split the days between the two resorts?  The kids are 10 and 12, but they love to ski the more challenging Blue and Black trails.

If you are able to ski at Montage I would recommend that you do so - the pod of black runs on the lower mountain really are fun. I will say that the blue ruins at Montage are on the easier side, though. Elk seems to do a good job of having both a blue and black option available so if you needed to split up it would be easy to meet again at the bottom of the lift.

one month ago

I would like to thank the forum members for providing us with excellent reports and recommendations for Elk. 

The kids got bitten by the ski bug late last season, so I made them a promise of unlimited skiing this year if they show the same level of interest and excitement.  They do, and we have been chasing snow (or perceived there of) every weekend since Christmas Day. We have been to Snowshoe, 7Springs, a few other smaller PA resorts, and even Mt. Tremblant in Quebec…and the kids rate Elk all the way up there with the big mountain up North. Elk indeed skis bigger than 1000ft vertical.  We had planned to visit Montage on the second day, but the kids never got bored with the interesting black trails at Elk that we decided to ski them again the next day.

As a surprise bonus, we met some locals on the lift who invited us to share their lunch feast at the picnic cabin, which is located up the hill on the West slope.  What a cool concept where you have a place to hangout with your friends (beer in hand) and grill your own hotdogs and burgers.  It was a refreshing change from the bland cafeteria foods that we have been enjoying for the last several weeks.

We are already making plan to come back to Elk in a few weeks with full intention of hitting Montage one day on the trip.

one month ago

Dafixison wrote:

…and even Mt. Tremblant in Quebec…

Any takeaways you’d care to share about Tremblant?  We plan to go there next Christmas.

one month ago

Keith_Moon wrote:

Dafixison wrote:

…and even Mt. Tremblant in Quebec…

Any takeaways you’d care to share about Tremblant?  We plan to go there next Christmas.

I agree, I want to know all there is about Tremblant!  Thanks to Ikon Pass blackouts, I was thinking of taking the long MLK and/or President’s Day weekend to drive up there and ski for a couple of days.  But life got in the way and I didn’t make it.  I’m wondering if that was a mistake or not….

I know I’ll save it for next year!  

one month ago

We were there for three days over the New Year’s during their “warm” spell so the review might be skewed a bit.

Overall it was a very good ski trip for the family as we stayed in the Village and were in the middle of all of the festivities.  If you are planning to book in one of the hotel properties in the Pedestrian Village, I would highly recommend getting as close to the Flying Mile and the Express Gondola as you can (i.e. Hilton, Westin or Fairmont).  Any other properties in the Village would require you to take another lift just to get to the Gondola (unless you are very adept at walking with your ski boots uphill on cobberstone streets).  The Pedestrian Village has many apres skiing and dinning venues; some of which opened til 2-3am while we were there.  If you value a good night sleep and hit the hills early in the morning, chosing a room not facing the streets or plaza would be advisable.

As for the actual skiing, we just came from the half opened Snowshoe the week before, so having 90+ opened trails at Tremblant was a late Xmas present for everyone.  The groomed trails were very fun to ski on, but the ungroomed ones were not so much in the morning hours as they were very cruddy from the overnight freeze over.  For such a big mountain, none of the slopes seemed to be very steep though.  If you stay at one of the properties in the Village, you will get a first-track pass with your ticket which got us on the mountain 45 minutes earlier than the crowd.  Since it was the holiday, the crowd was sizable for the duration of our stay there.  Average waiting time at the bottom lifts and the mid mountain lift was about 20 minutes.

Even though it was described as a warm spell by the locals when we were there, it was pretty darn cold;  especially, at the summit, in the cloud, with the wind howling.   

On the drive to Tremblant, we can see at least 4 other ski resorts from the highway.  Some look fairly decent, and might worth a look if you are planning to be in the area for an extended period of time.

I will close by pointing out that with the strength of the USD vs the CND, the whole trip feels very affordable and worth the money spent (something that cant be said for what we had paid for at Snowshoe and 7Springs).  We are in the process of planning another ski trip for the kids’ Spring Break to the West, and are somewhat sticker shocked from the exorbitant hotel and lift ticket costs…maybe, Whistler or Banff is in play if we can find a decent airfare.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago

Dafixison wrote:

We were there for three days over the New Year’s during their “warm” spell so the review might be skewed a bit.

Overall it was a very good ski trip for the family as we stayed in the Village and were in the middle of all of the festivities.  If you are planning to book in one of the hotel properties in the Pedestrian Village, I would highly recommend getting as close to the Flying Mile and the Express Gondola as you can (i.e. Hilton, Westin or Fairmont).  Any other properties in the Village would require you to take another lift just to get to the Gondola (unless you are very adept at walking with your ski boots uphill on cobberstone streets).  The Pedestrian Village has many apres skiing and dinning venues; some of which opened til 2-3am while we were there.  If you value a good night sleep and hit the hills early in the morning, chosing a room not facing the streets or plaza would be advisable.

As for the actual skiing, we just came from the half opened Snowshoe the week before, so having 90+ opened trails at Tremblant was a late Xmas present for everyone.  The groomed trails were very fun to ski on, but the ungroomed ones were not so much in the morning hours as they were very cruddy from the overnight freeze over.  For such a big mountain, none of the slopes seemed to be very steep though.  If you stay at one of the properties in the Village, you will get a first-track pass with your ticket which got us on the mountain 45 minutes earlier than the crowd.  Since it was the holiday, the crowd was sizable for the duration of our stay there.  Average waiting time at the bottom lifts and the mid mountain lift was about 20 minutes.

Even though it was described as a warm spell by the locals when we were there, it was pretty darn cold;  especially, at the summit, in the cloud, with the wind howling.   

On the drive to Tremblant, we can see at least 4 other ski resorts from the highway.  Some look fairly decent, and might worth a look if you are planning to be in the area for an extended period of time.

I will close by pointing out that with the strength of the USD vs the CND, the whole trip feels very affordable and worth the money spent (something that cant be said for what we had paid for at Snowshoe and 7Springs).  We are in the process of planning another ski trip for the kids’ Spring Break to the West, and are somewhat sticker shocked from the exorbitant hotel and lift ticket costs…maybe, Whistler or Banff is in play if we can find a decent airfare.

I have a friend who is a local senior for Tremblant.  I’ve only skied there a day when staying with her.  There is plenty of advanced terrain but that’s rarely open by Christmas.  Mont Sainte Sauveur is one of the smaller ski areas near Tremblant that caters to locals.  It has lights so is good for night skiing.  Short slopes like in PA, but a good deal for a few hours of fun.  One of these days, I want to ski at Tremblant when it’s 100% open.  But in March, not Jan-Feb when it’s frigid.

Banff is becoming a favorite late season destination for several friends on the east coast.  Whistler late season can be iffy, with rain likely on the lower mountain.  I have a hard time justifying that long a flight.

Fair to say, families who can plan ahead and make destination choices based on investing in Epic or Ikon at the early prices can come out ahead when it comes to lift tickets for ski vacations.

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