Welcome in the new year with a trip to an area resort for a day of fun on the slopes.

Snow enthusiasts who enjoy downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding or tubing are in luck because the region offers several ski resorts that provide activities for many outdoor lovers.

Seven Springs

Seven Springs Mountain Resort offers 33 slopes and trails, seven terrain parks, 10 chair lifts and four surface lifts that will keep guests busy on the mountain for a fun-filled day of skiing and snowboarding.

“What’s great about Seven Springs is it’s the total package,” said Alex Moser, director of marketing for Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain.

“You have 13 restaurants, you have all kinds of off-mountain activities and then you have pretty good skiing, snowboarding and tubing all winter long.

“You can do a bit of everything there.”

With ongoing COVID-19 concerns, Moser said the resort has made adjustments to meet health and safety regulations.

“Right now, in this environment, most activities are not available,” Moser said.

“Indoor dining isn’t available either, so that has been challenging for us, but we’ve adapted.”

“One really cool thing is we’ve taken three sides of windows off Foggy Goggle and opened it and it’s considered open air.

“People can eat there, but everything else is take-out.”

Moser said what sets Seven Springs apart from other resorts in the region is its terrain parks for freestyle skiing and snowboarding, including the only 22-foot superpipe on the East Coast.

“The seven terrain parks are great and we’re really proud of our parks,” Moser said.

“The name of the game in terrain parks is progression, so you go from small to medium to large. The park is a popular offering, and we’ve had amateur and professional events where guys and girls have gone on to the Olympics.”

Beginner classes are offered for children and adults wanting to learn how to ski and snowboard.

“This year, we’re offering herd lessons, so mom and dad can take a lesson with their two kids if they want or four friends can take a lesson together, so it’s like a mini group,” Moser said.

“We’re also seeing a lot of people who haven’t skied in a couple years coming back to the sport and looking for lessons.”

Classes are also offered for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders.

For those wanting to enjoy the snow but not on the slopes, Seven Springs offers an 11-lane tubing attraction.

“This is the largest tubing park in the region and it’s a roller coaster on snow,” Moser said.

“It takes no skill whatsoever and anyone can do it. You sit in a tube and fly down the mountain. It’s popular for people who can’t or don’t want to ski but they still get that experience.”

He said the resort is continuing with upgrades on the miles of underground piping that aids in snowmaking.

“Because of the pandemic, much of our resources have gone into making sure we have additional HEPA filters in all our buildings.

“We had to build out and make take-out windows at the ski lodge. We had to reconstruct the Foggy Goggle and all of our ski rentals, Snowsports School, season pass office and guest services, so we have been dedicated to keeping our employees and guests healthy.”

A limited amount of lift tickets are being sold daily. Reservations can be made through the Seven Springs website.

Season pass holders have unlimited access to the resort.

Information on tickets, passes and rental costs can be found at www.7springs.com.

Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley Resort offers 26 slopes and trails and nine lifts, along with two terrain parks.

“Hidden Valley’s slopes and trails are much more gentler than Seven Springs,” Moser said.

“They are longer and better for the beginner.”

“Hidden Valley is a great place to learn how to ski because it’s smaller and quieter.

“It’s a gem of a resort for families who have children 13 and under.”

The Snowsports Schools offers a variety of lessons, depending on skill level, for children and adults. 

“It’s the same learning program as Seven Springs and we strive to make it a good snow experience,” Moser said.

“You can learn how to ski at Hidden Valley and then progress to Seven Springs and then go conquer Laurel Mountain.”

The resort also offers tubing with eight lanes.

“It’s smaller than Seven Springs, but there’s lot of thrills and it’s still a fun experience,” Moser said.

“It’s right on the main drag, so you don’t even need to enter the resort to go tubing at Hidden Valley.”

He said the resort is making sure that its operations are being done in a safe way.

“We moved our season pass office to one of the ticket windows. We took a look at ski rental operations and made sure that was COVIDized and dining was all set up for take-out,” Moser said.

A limited amount of lift tickets are being sold daily and reservations can be made through the Hidden Valley website.

Season pass holders have unlimited access to the resort.

Information on tickets, passes and rental costs can be found at www.hiddenvalleyresort.com.

Laurel Mountain

Laurel Mountain offers 20 slopes and trails and one lift.

Not only does Laurel Mountain boast the highest vertical drop on the Laurel Ridge in Pennsylvania at 761 feet, the mountain also is famous for its double-black diamond Lower Wildcat Slope, the steepest in the state. Its average slope is close to 60 degrees.

“Laurel Mountain is a throwback resort, it’s the old, true skiers mountain,” Moser said.

“There isn’t tubing or a terrain park, it’s just pure skiing with some unbelievable views.

“That’s the way our guests like it and how we like it.”

He said the atmosphere at Laurel Mountain has a vintage skiing vibe to it.

“There’s a really tight-knit historic group who couldn’t ski there for so many years until we brought Laurel Mountain back a few years ago, and they’re very passionate about it and appreciative of what we’ve done,” Moser said. 

Private and group lessons, along with specialty learning programs, are offered by request for those looking to improve their skiing and snowboarding skills.

Moving forward, the resort has plans to increase its snowmaking abilities.

A limited amount of lift tickets are being sold daily. Reservations can be made through the Laurel Mountain website.

Season pass holders have unlimited access to the resort.

Information on tickets, passes and rental costs can be found at www.laurelmountainski.com.

Blue Knob

Blue Knob All Seasons Resort offers 34 slopes and trails with a vertical drop of 1,072 feet.

Blue Knob is the second-highest mountain in Pennsylvania, behind Mount Davis in Somerset County, but it is the state’s highest skiable mountain.

“We say Blue Knob is the skier’s mountain because we have terrain for everybody, from beginner to intermediate to advanced with some great diamonds and double-black diamond slopes,” said Donna Himes, marketing director for Blue Knob All Seasons Resort.

The resort also boasts an eight-lane tubing park.

“It’s extremely popular and people who don’t care about skiing or snowboarding come up and tube,” Himes said.

“We have scheduled tubing sessions of two hours long.” 

The Ski and Ride School offers group and private lessons in skiing and snowboarding, as well as its New Generation Ski Academy for children.

“Kids spend time with an instructor either in half- or full-day sessions,” Himes said. 

“Right now, lessons are required to be reserved at least 24 hours in advance due to COVID.”

The resort has undergone several improvements to facilities and infrastructure.

Projects include installation of a dedicated snowmaking line to the snow tubing park; replacement of approximately 2,600 feet of snowmaking waterline to Lower Mambo Alley and Lower Jack Rabbit; extensive chair lift work; painting, ceiling and lighting renovations to Mueller’s Pub, Summit Lodge and Blue Knob Clubhouse; new parking lot lighting and eave lighting at Summit Lodge; and an outside food service window on the deck of Summit Lodge.

“Blue Knob was kind of ignored for a long time, so there’s a lot of infrastructure and repairs and upgrades to the facilities that need to be done and that will be ongoing,” Himes said.

At this time, lift ticket reservations are not required.

Information on tickets, passes and rentals costs can be found at www.blueknob.com.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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