It’s great that so many ski slopes are within a few hours’ drive of Washington and Baltimore because each has its own flavor and claim to fame. Blue Knob, in Claysburg, Pa., is the highest skiable mountain in Pennsylvania. With 1,072 feet of vertical drop, Blue Knob offers some of the most challenging slopes in the Keystone State, as well as some of the longest and sweetest rides for skiers and snowboarders.
Blue Knob has 34 trails: 10 percent of the trails are expert level, 35 percent are advanced, 35 percent are intermediate, and 20 percent are beginner. That’s a pretty good variety and some really nice blues. Experts should check out the glade skiing that meanders through the trees. While West Coast skiers take this for granted, East Coast skiers find this a special treat. Blue Knob also offers snow tubing and groomed Nordic skiing.
Blue Knob seems to have a softer personality, perhaps because it is farther from the major metro areas of Philadelphia and New York. It’s the kinder, gentler resort, so to speak, with fewer crowds and shorter lift lines helping to generate the easygoing vibe. Another standout is the woodsy feeling. With smaller crowds, you don’t need as broad a slope, so you truly feel as though you are gliding through your own personal state park.
The budget conscious will find Blue Knob’s housing options to be really affordable places to stay. “Stay and ski” rates are available from as low as $69 per person. All condos are furnished with fully equipped kitchens and fireplaces — great for saving a buck on family meals, and you can’t beat a fireplace after a day of skiing. Guests are also entitled to the use of indoor pools, hot tubs, and saunas located in Alpine Village. For the warmer seasons, there are tennis courts, a golf course, and an outdoor pool.
Another option is to stay in nearby Bedford or Altoona, each within an easy half-hour drive.
Altoona is a sizeable town with many attractions of its own. Or, while it ups the budget a few notches, consider staying at the Omni Bedford Springs. It has a very nice spa featuring the namesake springs and fine restaurants. It’s one of the grand old historic hotels in America — it is where the first trans-Atlantic telegram was received by a president — and has been magnificently restored. There are also many covered bridges in the area begging to be explored.
For more information:
Blue Knob Resort: blueknob.com