Let me preface this review by saying I have skied Seven Springs, JFBB, Camelback, Bear Creek, and Blue Mountain in PA as well as NH and VT resorts. Elk mountain is significantly better than any of the PA resorts I've been to in snow quality and terrain, and really is closer to a small New England Ski area in nature. I visited the day after it had downpoured and then gone below freezing that night, and to not hit a single icy patch all day is a testament to how good Elk's grooming is. The lodge is not fancy by any means, and the lifts are probably the slowest I've ridden, but that's not what Elk is about. The plain lodge, slow lifts, and remote location also meant that the busloads of unskilled skiers and snowboarders that tend to flock to other NEPA resorts and cause long lift lines and frustration. I never waited in line all day, and the only people you see on the black diamonds at Elk are the people who actually belong there. The trails are not as long or challenging as you would find in New England, but they're designed well and really make the most out of the terrain available. You can get in a surprisingly long run here, and most of the trails have character and are not just broad slopes cut straight down the mountain. So, if you're looking for a beautiful lodge with a gourmet restaurant and an accompanying resort, Elk's not your place. But if you want uncrowded, serious skiing in excellent conditions without any of the long lift lines or other frustrations that accompany PA skiing, Elk is the best and it isn't really that close. So make the extra drive up, it's worth it.
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