While central Pennsylvania may not be the hot spot for skiing and snowboarding, there are a few good resorts near this part of the state for those looking for their next slopes to hit.
The ski resorts near Harrisburg are frequented by locals living in the middle of the Keystone State, but for those passing through during the winter, this area is a good place to start the season. Most of these resorts operate from mid-December to mid-March, depending on how much natural snow they receive in addition to the resort’s snowmaking capabilities.
Pennsylvania is known to get a decent amount of snow each year, making these smaller ski areas ideal for nearby natives and those who like to dodge crowded touristy spots. It’s important to check each resort’s hours and days of operation before driving up, as some of them have special schedules during the holidays and weekdays.
Here are the closest ski resorts to Harrisburg, PA, in order of proximity:
Roundtop Mtn – Lewisberry: 16 miles | 30 minutes
Roundtop Mountain Resort was founded in 1964 by a man named Irv Naylor, an avid skier who got tired of driving all the way to Vermont to hit the slopes. The family-friendly environment at this resort draws people of all ages to the property each winter for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing trails.
Roundtop’s base elevation is 735 feet, with a peak elevation is 1,355 feet giving this resort a vertical drop of 600 feet. There are 103 skiable acres with 100% snowmaking capability and night skiing is available on 100 acres.
The resort has two terrain parks and 20 runs made up of 20% beginner, 25% intermediate, 40% advanced, and 15% expert rated trails. Eight lifts service the slopes at Roundtop, including three quads, two triples, one J-bar, and two carpet lifts.
Roundtop offers skiing and snowboarding lessons to adults and kids in both private and group settings, as well as a four-week program called the Mountain Explorers for children aged 7-12.
The nearest accommodations to Roundtop Mountain Resort are located in Mechanicsburg, including hotels and a few smaller bed and breakfasts. Ski and snowboard equipment is available for rent on-site, and anything else a guest might need on their ski trip can be purchased in the Roundtop Mountain Sports shop.
When it comes to dining, the Fireside Pub & Grill offers table service and drinks with a fantastic view. This little eatery has great reviews from previous guests and is also a great spot to “stop and smell the roses” during a fun weekend adventure in the mountains.
925 Roundtop Rd, Lewisberry, PA 17339 (Map) | (717) 432-9631
Liberty Mountain Resort – Fairfield: 49 miles | 1 hour
Originally developed in the 1960s, Liberty Mountain Resort has been modified multiple times, making it one of the area’s premier ski resorts.
Liberty Mountain Resort has 100 skiable acres with three terrain parks and 16 runs made up of 35% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 25% double diamond expert level trails. The resort is equipped for 100% snowmaking across its terrain, and night skiing is also available on all of the runs.
Liberty’s base elevation is 570 feet with a peak elevation of 1,190 feet and a vertical drop of 620 feet. Even though there are only 16 runs at this resort, reviews have remarked on their great condition and that the lift service is relatively quick.
Ski lessons and programs are offered at the resort for both children and adults, with state-of-the-art equipment available for rent. Snow tubing lanes are also available at Liberty Mountain for anyone who looks for a more tamed thrill.
Many visitors have commented that Liberty Mountain has a very warm and inviting environment. Even those who aren’t taking part in the action will have plenty of fresh mountain air to enjoy.
The beautiful Highland Lodge is a great place to stay, with easy access to the mountain and has a space to relax inside their Laventide Salon & Day Spa. Another lodge, the Alpine Lodge, is even closer to the slopes and is just as visually stunning inside. For dining options on the hill, there are three popular restaurants to grab a bite: Eagle & The Owl, McKee’s Tavern, and Putter’s Grill.
78 Country Club Trail, Fairfield, PA 17320 (Map) | (717) 642-8282
Whitetail Resort – Mercersburg: 80 miles | 1.5 hours
Located on Two Top Mountain in the Bear Pond Mountains, visitors will find Whitetail Resort, a decent-sized ski area that has serviced skiers and snowboarders since 1991. There are ski lessons and programs at Whitetail for both kids and adults in private and group settings, as well as adaptive programs for individuals with special needs.
The resort is also committed to keeping its guests properly fueled for a big day on the slopes with numerous dining options right in the lodge.
Whitetail Resort has 109 skiable acres with 25 runs made up of 28% beginner, 44% intermediate, and 16% advanced level trails. The base elevation is 865 feet, the peak elevation is 1,800 feet, and the vertical drop is an impressive 935 feet. There is snowmaking on 100% of all the runs at Whitetail Resort, and, for visitors who enjoy some nighttime downhill action, they are also all equipped for twilight skiing.
While there are several places to lodge in the neighboring towns to Whitetail Resort, people who wish to stay right on the property can book at the Whitetail Mountainside Lodge. Each room at the lodge comes with its own kitchenette and it has a laundry room on the premises. The resort also has a full-service sports shop just steps away from the mountain.
It should be mentioned that this resort is frequented by locals from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (also referred to as the DMV) area. It can get very crowded on the weekends, so visiting during the weekdays can help reduce crowd size.
13805 Blairs Valley Rd, Mercersburg, PA 17236 (Map) | (717) 328-9400
Tussey Mountain – Boaslburg: 81 miles | 1.25 hours
Known as the gateway to the Rothrock State Forest, and close to Penn State University, is the Tussey Mountain Ski Area, a place open to the public for a bit of downhill action since the 1960s. Given that this site is in central Pennsylvania, locals rave about how great the snow conditions are throughout the season, since, on average, this resort gets about 41 inches of snowfall each winter.
Tussey Mountain Ski Area has a base elevation of 1,230 feet and a summit of 1,750 feet, giving this ski area a vertical drop of 520 feet. There are a modest 38 acres of skiable terrain, with 30 of them set up for night skiing and snowmaking in addition to one terrain park. Tussey’s five lifts service eight runs that are broken up into 40% beginners, 40% intermediates, leaving the remaining 20% for double-diamond expert level athletes.
At Tussey, daily snowsports lessons are offered including clinics for women and children, development programs, and race learning programs. Like many other Pennsylvania resorts, there’s a tubing course on the mountain, equipment rentals, and a mountain store for other skiing needs.
The Lodge at Tussey Mountain Ski Area has impressive sweeping views of the surrounding forest, making this destination the perfect place for a family trip or reunion. Furthermore, there are places to dine inside and a room with lockers for day use. The atmosphere at the lodge is rustic yet trendy, with its cozy wooden features and reportedly comfortable beds.
301 Bear Meadows Rd, Boalsburg, PA 16827 (Map) | (814) 466-6266
Skiing in the Poconos Mountains
While these Central Pennsylvania ski resorts have plenty to offer, many of them are only frequented by locals to the Harrisburg area or tourists already up in this part of the state. These resorts are on a smaller scale, but there’s some good news for skiers and snowboarders headed to Pennsylvania that like more variety.
The Poconos Mountains is an area that is a popular shredding powder in the Keystone State. And being about a two-hour drive away, it offers snowsports enthusiasts a lot more options for some winter fun with breathtaking scenery. There are several great Poconos ski resorts in this gorgeous mountain region, which can quench anyone’s thirst for some action and fresh forest air.
Blue Mountain Resort is one of the larger and most popular Poconos ski areas and attracts guests from NYC, Scranton, and other eastern states due to its stunning views and quality snow conditions. Camelback Resort is another ski resort that is extremely popular in the Poconos Mountains region.
Skiing in Western Pennsylvania by Pittsburgh
Skiing in western Pennsylvania is yet another area that is loved for its quality skiing, most notably the Blue Knob Resort, which has the highest slopes in the state and located about halfway between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.
At just a two-hour drive away, this resort has consistently great reviews due to having over 100 skiable acres and night skiing terrain. For ski and snowboarding enthusiasts that enjoy extended runs, Blue Knob’s 2-mile trail is perfect for some longer duration action.
One of the great things about skiing in western Pennsylvania is the fact that the ski areas in this part of the state are so diverse, ranging from some larger-scale resorts to small slopes ideal for beginners and families. Pittsburgh is a place that is nestled between lots of nature areas, making this unassuming city a little more ideal for winter sports than someone may have initially thought.
No matter where you decide to ski, be it closer to Harrisburg or further out in Pittsburg, the ski resorts within Pennsylvania offer snow sport lovers the chance to hit the slopes without venturing from East Coast. While you may have to visit on the weekdays to avoid any visitors from the DMV area, you are sure to find a spot that suits your needs.