Snow Quality – Good – Blue Mountain Ski Area is located in Pennsylvania, only a couple of hours away from Philadelphia. Because of it’s location, it does not really enjoy tremendous snowfall numbers. You can usually see around 50 or 60 inches per year, but some years there can be more (sometimes pushing 100 inches) and sometimes there can be less. The snow that DOES fall, however, is not bad, it is usually a mix between fluffy and wet, somewhere pretty close to the middle of the spectrum. Also, the snowmaking crew is extremely good at covering the mountain and making sure everything is rideable. Blue Mountain is usually one of the first to open in PA and is usually one of the last to close.
Crowds – Great – Blue has a good amount of crowd size variation. On weekdays, it can be virtually empty, but if conditions are decent, the weekend will be packed. They do a pretty good job of moving lift lines through and keeping terrain open but there’s only so much space skiers and riders can go.
Lift Infrastructure – 13 Lifts – There are thirteen total lifts but the main lift you will use if you’re not a beginner is the high speed, six man chairlift that starts at the base lodge and travels all the way to the summit. Sometimes this lift can look somewhat backed up, but the wait never seems too long. Unless something completely unexpected happens to a lift, the lifties are pretty great at keeping lines moving.
Trail Variety – 39 Trails – 15 Green, 4 Blue, 15 Black/Double Black , 5 Terrain Parks – The big things here for me are the trail distinctions and the terrain parks. The blacks are, lets say, confidence inspiring, and the terrain parks are filled with smooth progression features. I am a huge fan of their addition (I think in 2015? I could be wrong though) of their “Yeti” terrain park, which I’ll touch on later in the “Terrain Parks” section. Other than that, they cover all their bases with their trails. They regularly have a few trails in varying difficulties with moguls on them, as well as a well shaped “beginner” half of the mountain where beginners can find nice, long, mellow trails. They have a couple “double black diamonds”, which sound more intimidating than they really are. They’re steeper, but definitely tolerable, and a lot of fun if you like to go fast.
Trail Quality – Good – The trails are kept well, but it is difficult with the weather sometimes, and the biggest issue for Blue Mountain is that it can sometimes get icy. However, Blue does have the largest vertical drop of any ski area in Pennsylvania at just over 1000 feet
Terrain Parks – Good – It isn’t Big Boulder, but Blue Mountain can hold their own with some pretty cool features in their five parks. The park crew here does a great job with their progression park (Yeti) and small park set ups, which allow everybody to hit the park and progress their riding. Yeti park is there progression park, which features smaller, low consequence boxes, rails, and jumps, which allow all levels of skiers and riders to introduce themselves to terrain parks or to practice new tricks. They don’t always switch things up, so you might be hitting the same features for a little while, but that’s probably their biggest fault. They can sometimes build some pretty large jumps, and a few years ago, Flow Snowboards’ rider Tim Humphreys stopped by to take some laps.
Family Friendly – Average – There is a decent ski school program, and although there’s not many places to eat on the mountain, there is a decent selection of items for everyone to choose from. There is also childcare for ages 6 weeks to 5 years for $10 an hour per child. Overall, it is not the most family friendly place, but it is easy enough to navigate with children and you can keep them safe on green runs by the summit lodge until they are experienced enough to roam the mountain.
Cost – Good – $47 to $62/Day – The cost here is good in some ways, bad in others. It’s good in a sense because other nearby resorts are charging weekday tickets closer to $55-$60 a day, however, their season pass prices are fairly high, but it is Pennsylvania and single mountains are still the norm there.
Nightlife – Average – So, there isn’t a ton of stuff to do around Blue Mountain. It isn’t like if you’re staying in Denver and riding one of the resorts on I-70, but if you chose to stay in Allentown in the Lehigh Valley, there are a few hidden gems and you coulkd have yourself a alright time. You could also get lucky and catch a concert either in the Lehigh Valley or in nearby Philadelphia (~ 1 to 1.5 hours)
Things to do – Good – In the winter, the only other activity they have is snowtubing. In the summer, though, there are a number of great hiking trails in the Pocono Mountains/Lehigh Valley area, with great views and awesome wildlife. Nearby, there’s also whitewater rafting and kayaking if you enjoy watersports. And finally, at the resort there is mountain biking, a ropes course, a summer camp for children, disc golf, outdoor laser tag, and “action archery”, which is like tag, but with bows and arrows tipped with foam.