The Poconos Mountains are one of Pennsylvania’s treasures, enticing locals and tourists for over a century to come and get some much-needed relaxation since the first resorts opened.
During the summer, the Poconos are great for hiking, biking, and spending time in the sun. Meanwhile, in the colder months, the mountains transform into a winter wonderland with some of the best ski sites in the eastern part of the country.
Scranton is the sixth-largest city in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania and averages an annual snowfall of 41 inches per year. That means the ski resorts in the nearby mountains usually get even more natural snow, giving outdoor enthusiasts a run for their money each winter. By making your base camp in Scranton, visitors can access nine ski resorts around the Pocono Mountains within a two-hour drive.
Here are the closest ski resorts to Scranton and Pocono Mountains, PA, in order of proximity.
Montage Mtn Resort – Scranton: 8 miles | 15 minutes
There’s something for everyone at Montage Mountain Resort, from easy green slopes to some of Pennsylvania’s most challenging runs. Located just a few minutes from downtown Scranton, Montage Mountain is a winter haven for visitors from all around the state who have come to ski in the beautiful Poconos.
Montage Mountain has 26 runs divided between 35% beginners, 30% intermediate, and 20% advanced trails with the remaining 15% for expert skiers and snowboarders. There are 140 skiable acres on the property, all of which are equipped with lighting for night skiing and 100% snowmaking abilities.
The base elevation at Montage Mountain is 960 feet with a summit elevation of 1,960 feet and a vertical drop of 1,000 feet. Any visitor coming to the ski resort with little to no experience can book group or private lessons as well as rent equipment on-site.
Since this resort is so close to the city, there are many partnering hotels and lodges directly in Scranton. Additionally, snow sports enthusiasts will be happy to know that there are dining options in the ski area, and thanks to modern technology, orders can be placed through an app on your smartphone.
1000 Montage Mountain Rd, Scranton, PA 18507 (Map) | (570) 969-7669
Elk Mtn Resort – Union Dale: 28 miles | 35 minutes
A little north of the Poconos Mountains you will find the Endless Mountains, home to the Elk Mountain Resort. This ski area opened in 1959 and averages over five feet of snow each season, giving the resort an edge over its southern competitors.
There are 180 skiable acres at Elk Mountain Resort, with its 27 runs consisting of 22% beginner, 37% intermediate, and 41% advanced trails. Twilight skiing is available on 90 acres of the property, and 146 acres have snowmaking capability.
The base of Elk Mountain is 1,693 feet, and the summit elevation is 2,693 feet, which means that this resort has a steep vertical drop of 1,000 feet. The mountain is serviced by seven lifts, including one quad and five double chairlifts.
Scranton locals often choose this ski resort over others in the Poconos due to Elk Mountain having smaller crowds while still offering a high-quality experience. The ski area is open seven days a week during the season, with longer hours on the weekends, especially once night skiing begins.
While there aren’t any lodges on the resort, there are plenty of options a few miles away from the base. Elk Mountain Resort also has multiple amenities ranging from excellent dining options to lessons, childcare, equipment rentals, and programs for both children and adults right at the resort.
344 Elk Mountain Rd, Union Dale, PA 18470 (Map) | (570) 679-4400
Camelback Mtn – Tannersville: 37 miles | 40 minutes
Right in the heart of the Poconos is one of the top-rated and most prominent ski resorts in the state, Camelback Mountain. This resort is ideal for anyone coming from a neighboring state for a weekend trip or even a week-long vacation for some time outdoors and fresh air.
Visitors have everything they need at Camelback Mountain from on-site equipment rentals, dining, lessons, to one of the biggest snow tubing parks. Guests that decide to stay at the Camelback Lodge have direct access to the slopes and can even bundle their trip to receive a discount on their slope passes.
All 166 skiable acres at Camelback Mountain are equipped with the proper lighting for safe and fun twilight skiing and riding. There are 39 runs with the majority being for beginners, though intermediate and advanced trails make up roughly half of the trails as well as a few expert runs.
Camelback’s base elevation is 1,250 feet with a peak elevation of 2,100 feet and a vertical drop of 800 feet. In addition to the slopes, there are also five terrain parks for athletes that like to practice their tricks and flips.
301 Resort Drive, Tannersville, PA 18372 (Map) | (570) 629-1665
Jack Frost Ski – White Haven: 39 miles | 45 minutes
The sister mountain to Big Boulder, and frequented since 1972, Jack Frost Ski Resort is another popular ski destination in the northeastern part of the Poconos. While there is no night skiing at Jack Frost, its abundant natural snowfall and 100% snowmaking capability entices snow sports enthusiasts to these slopes every day during the open season.
Jack Frost’s base elevation is 1,400 feet with a peak elevation of 2,000 feet, providing this resort with a 600-foot vertical drop. There are 100 skiable acres at Jack Frost with snowmaking abilities for 100% of the terrain, but it isn’t really needed as the area averages 50 inches per year.
The 20 runs at Jack Frost Ski Resort are broken up between 20% beginner, 30% intermediate, and 40% difficult trails in addition to two terrain parks. Some of the most popular accommodations at this ski resort are the nearby homes and cabins. Equipment rental and tune-ups are also available on the premises, and lessons are available for skiing and snowboarding.
434 Jack Frost Mountain Rd, White Haven, PA 18661 (Map) | (570) 443-8425
Big Boulder – Lake Harmony: 46 miles | 50 minutes
Rated in the “Top 5 Parks in the East” by Transworld Snowboarding, Big Boulder Mountain, which opened in 1947 as the state’s first commercial ski resort, is definitely a crowd-pleaser.
Big Boulder is one of two nearby mountains, the second being home to the aforementioned Jack Frost Ski Resort. Big Boulder’s base elevation is at 1,700 feet, and the summit elevation is 2,175 feet, giving this resort a vertical drop of 475 feet. This ski area has 55 acres of skiable terrain, 100% of which are equipped with snow-making machines and lighting to provide visitors with a place to do some night skiing.
This resort is a very family-friendly one, especially since all of its 16 runs are very evenly divided between beginner, intermediate, and advanced level terrain in addition to its five terrain parks.
There are several options for overnight accommodations near this resort and various eateries for either a quick bite or a place to sit down and enjoy a meal. Aside from riding and skiing, Big Boulder also has an impressive snow tubing course for the rest of the family to use.
357 Big Boulder Dr, Lake Harmony, PA 18624 (Map) | (570) 443-8425
Shawnee Mtn – E. Stroudsburg: 53 miles | 55 minutes
Next to the Delaware River, and tucked in the eastern part of the Poconos Mountains, is the Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, a family-oriented ski resort that has been open since 1975. Shawnee Mountain has a handful of great programs for beginners and children, making it an excellent location for a quick day trip of skiing or a weekend trip.
There are 23 runs across Shawnee Mountain’s 125 skiable acres with its terrain rated as 26% for beginners, 48% for intermediates, and 26% for advanced athletes. There’s 100% snowmaking capability at this resort, with 120 acres specifically dedicated, and illuminated, for night skiing.
Shawnee’s base elevation is 650 feet with the summit peak at 1,350 feet, giving visitors a vertical drop of 700 feet. Those who prefer longer runs should check out the mile-long trail at Shawnee, while individuals that enjoy practicing tricks will get a lot out of the two on-site terrain parks.
While there aren’t any accommodations at Shawnee Mountain, there are plenty of lodges as close as 2.5 miles away. Additionally, Shawnee Mountain offers daycare for little ones aged 18 months and older at affordable partial and full-day rates.
401 Hollow Rd, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301 (Map) | (570) 421-7231
Ski Big Bear – Lackawaxen: 54 miles | 1 hour
About an hour from the Scranton Airport, and situated in the Poconos Mountains, lies the Ski Big Bear, a vacation destination serving east coast natives for over 44 years. Snowsports school and lessons are offered on the mountain, providing classes to those looking to perfect their moves or learn something new altogether.
There are 18 runs and one terrain park on the resort’s 26 skiable acres, all of which are equipped with lighting and snowmaking capabilities. On average, this area gets about 69 inches of natural snow, so it’s often the case that the resort gets plenty of fresh powder each winter.
Ski Big Bear has slopes for every type of rider. The resort’s trails are broken almost evenly between beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs, but don’t worry expert skiers and riders, there are a few areas for you.
As far as dining options go, there are places with on-site snacks and meals for anyone who wants to grab a bite before or after their ride down the mountain. There are many different lodging options near the resort, including luxurious accommodations, hotels, and cabins.
192 Karl Hope Blvd, Lackawaxen, PA 18435 (Map) | (570) 226-8585
Blue Mtn Resort – Palmerton: 65 miles | 1.25 hours
Blue Mountain Resort is one of the largest ski resorts in Pennsylvania and is located in Palmerton, along the Poconos Mountains.
Initially opened in 1977, and re-established as Blue Mountain in 1989, this resort has attracted tourists to its slopes due to its friendly environment, high-quality terrain, and beautiful scenery. Blue Mountain Resort is also the first in the state, and second in the U.S., to acquire a BigAirBAG, which softens the landing for those throwing big tricks.
Blue Mountain Resort has the highest vertical drop in the state at 1,082 feet, starting with a base elevation of 500 feet and a peak elevation of 1,600 feet. The resort has 171 skiable acres comprised of 40 different runs, which are split between 40% beginner, 15% intermediate, 35% advanced, and 10% expert trails.
Night skiing and snowmaking are available on 96% of the terrain and state-of-the-art equipment rentals are offered as well as group, private, and youth lessons for newcomers to winter sports. While there are currently no accommodations at the ski resort, though plans for building a mountain-side lodge are in the works, there are several options are located nearby.
Blue Mountain Resort has a great dining area called the Slopeside Pub & Grill which offers both inside and outside dining as well as live music on the weekends. If that doesn’t fill you up, then visit any of the forty-one additional restaurants are nearby within a short driving distance.
1660 Blue Mountain Drive, Palmerton, PA 18071 (Map) | 610.826.7700
Bear Creek Mtn – Macungie: 90 miles | 1.75 hours
Before it became a ski resort, Bear Creek Mountain Resort was once the home of the Rittenhouse Gap Mines’, dating back to the years of Thomas Edison. These days, Bear Creek Mountain is a loved winter haven for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing.
Bear Creek Mountain Resort has 86 skiable acres with 100% snowmaking and night skiing capability. There are 23 runs split between 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 30% advanced trails which are serviced by six lifts. Bear Creek Mountain’s base elevation is 600 feet, summit elevation 1,100 feet, giving it a vertical drop of 510 feet.
There are top-notch equipment rentals available along with lessons and a daycare for families with little ones who aren’t ready to hit the slopes yet.
Many guests choose to stay at The Hotel at Bear Creek, a luxurious place to spend a few nights right in the Poconos with all the amenities that anyone would need. There are also three main and highly recommended places to eat at Bear Creek Mountain: The Grille, Trail’s End Cafe & Bar, and The Mountain Eatery.
101 Doe Mountain Ln, Macungie, PA 18062 (Map) | (610) 682-7100
No matter where you decide to visit, there are plenty of ski resorts near Scranton, Pennsylvania that offer a wide range of amenities geared at all types of riders. Whether you prefer night skiing, mile-long runs, tubing, or multiple terrain parks, within 2 hours of the city, you are sure to find a slope that suits your needs.
There are a few Central PA ski resorts near Harrisburg, if you’ll be visiting the capital city. And like the Poconos, Western PA has a few gems too. Some of the ski areas by Pittsburgh are worth checking out like Seven Springs.