Crystal Lake Ski Center / Mt. St. Onge

Near Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Kevin Whipple has uncovered another lost ski area in Pennsylvania. Kevin submitted the following description of the Crystal Lake Ski Center:

In March, 2009, Ezra Burgess wrote to DCSki with the following information:

Topographic map of the area, with an estimated location of the ski lifts. The base facilities were right at the base of the poma lift (the longer red line reaching the summit). Image provided by Kevin Whipple.

Base buildings are located to the right with the base terminal of the poma just left of this.  To the far right of this photo is the top terminal of the beginner tow, but it is hard to distinguish here.
Looking up from the general area of the parking lot. Base buildings are located to the right with the base terminal of the poma just left of this. To the far right of this photo is the top terminal of the beginner tow, but it is hard to distinguish here. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

Kevin says the whole lift is still in pretty good shape.
Looking up the poma line. Kevin says the whole lift is still in pretty good shape. “The headwall to the right of the lift line was the steepest part of the hill. There was an intermediate round-about slope to the right of this. Both of these routes emerged from a vast upper mountain meadow.” Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

Looking down the poma line from near the unloading point. “To the left was a large meadow that filtered into a blue slope and an advanced slopes, as seen in previous photos,” writes Kevin. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

The summit bullwheel of the poma lift. “The ‘floating’ bullwheel design (not anchored, but suspended from cables) is something I have not seen in my travels before, although I know they are out there,” writes Kevin. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

Base of the trails on skier’s right of the poma lift. “The slope seen here ran top to bottom and had a real nice pitch (possibly advanced),” Kevin writes. “On this trail, like the others, there is very little regrowth. There is an opening in the treeline across the slope which is the point where the narrower round-about trail came out. That trail would not have been more than two groomer widths wide, I would guess.” Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

The remains of the base terminal for the beginner rope tow, at the lowest elevation for the ski area. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

The top terminal of the beginner rope tow. Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

Kevin writes that the rental building appeared more like a shack.
The rental building. Kevin writes that the rental building appeared more like a shack. “It would have had some character, if the base lodge (not shown) wasn’t a bland, modular building.” Photo provided by Kevin Whipple.

Kevin Whipple provided the following images in September, 2008:

A 3-d view from Google Earth showing the lift layout and facilities. Image provided by Kevin Whipple.

An aerial image from Google Earth with lifts and lodge labeled. Image provided by Kevin Whipple.

An updated topographic map for the area with lifts and facilities labeled. Image provided by Kevin Whipple.
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Reader Comments

Josh P.
April 6, 2007
Great pictures, nice to see the remenants of the lifts and the trails.
Ben
September 11, 2007
This was the first place I ever skied... my guess is I was 6 years old... I remember everything about that day... by the end of the day I had gone down every slope but the main headwall... and yes the rental shack looked about like that 25 years ago... I remember there was a bunch of skis propped up against the wall and a single bench in the middle of the room... I think it was even heated with an old kerosene heater... Those pictures are just like I remember it (only it was white!)... I cant wait to take my son on his first ski trip this year!
Anna Alford
November 12, 2007
Dottie Alford mentioned above is my mother and I am the current manager of Crystal Lake Ski Center. We no longer operate the lifts but the slopes are still skiable and many of our cross country skiers enjoy skiing them. I have so many fond memories of skiing here when I was a kid growing up here. The poma lift gave you a bit of a flying start which was hard for beginners but which I loved! The actual name of the down hill ski area was Mt. St. Onge which was named after my grandfather who introduced my mother to skiing when she was a girl growing up in Maine. This area was a labor of love for my mother who lived to ski. She is still skiing. She now lives in Maine with her new husband, Richard Martin, an old boyfriend from over 50 years ago.
Scott
November 12, 2007
Anna: Thanks for posting your comments. I just updated the profile to include the name Mt. St. Onge.
Robin Andrew
December 4, 2008
OUTSTANDING as ALWAYS!!
Bruce Mackliet
July 30, 2009
It has been some years since I last skied at Crystal Lake. All of my skiing was XC. They included access to the downhill lifts with your XC ski pass. So toward the end of the day, we would take the lifts up to the top and then turn to the right and catch some black diamond XC trails down to the bottom. Then repeat 4 or 5 times. A great way to work up an appetite for Hoss' Steak House.

As I recall, the beginner rope tow was actually run off of the axle of a dilapidated vehicle (pickup truck I think).
Tom Flynn, York, PA
December 6, 2009
I googled this ski area and found this information. I wanted to take my family friends here this winter but found out it closed. My family down hill skied and tubed here in 1996 (at least we tried to ski..our kids were young and out for the first time). We had alot of fun. I remember the rental shack to be just like this too. Also, my greatest memory was of the large log cabin lodge. We didn't get to stay in it. However, some of the others in our group stayed there and we would have our meals there. I'll never forget it. Also, we got "lost" trying to find this resort at night. No one in the area was familiar with it. We knocked on several doors and finally got someone to direct us. We went up the mountain area on an old logging road that didn't have any guide rails or street lights. When we were going up the road our van lights shorted out! We could only see since it was a full moon reflecting on the snow.

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