The Slopes are Calling


Evelyn Ward

Photo of Blue Knob mountain from a ski-lift

by Evelyn Ward, Reporter

Finding ways to get outdoors during winter break is not always easy. If the weather permits, sledding, skiing and the ever-popular snowboarding are options to keep one entertained. 

In Maryland, however, the local mountains are not the best. But traveling out of state, one can find many great places to explore. In Pennsylvania, for example, there is Blue Knob Resort which has great mountains. 

Photo of an instructor with a class during Snowsport learning month lesson (Jane Eshbaugh)

There are  multiple different levels of slopes for the novice to expert snowboarder, from green circle to black diamond. Green circle is the easiest and a good slope for beginners, blue square is a novice slope, and lastly, black diamond is the hardest level of slope but also the most fun.

There is a cabin located at the top of the mountain, and there are two full lifts to the bottom of the mountain. This includes one lift going approximately halfway down the mountain and two lifts for the bunny hills and snow tubers. 

There are a lot of cut-offs from black diamond slopes to different level runs, especially on slopes that are not completely cleared or those narrowed by trees. 

Overall, the slopes themselves are very nice. Some of the blue square runs can definitely be considered more on the black diamond side of the spectrum, but of course, it all depends on who you ask. 

Like most ski resorts, Blue Knob offers classes. Group classes can cost anywhere from $40 to $50, and private lessons range from $70 to $85.

Before venturing on this mountain, it is very important one looks at the map to determine where each run leads. For instance, there is a bowl on the East-Wall Traverse run, and the only way around it is a narrow trail. 

The resort also has a place to barbeque in the two blue square runs located halfway down the mountain, which is definitely a unique aspect about this resort.

For snowboarders who live closer to the south, Virginia has many amazing mountains. Wintergreen Resort is only a little under three hours from Washington DC and features 26 slopes including tabletops, spines, hips, rainbow rails, down-kinks and more. 

Just like Blue Knob, Wintergreen offers lessons for anyone looking to become a better skier or snowboarder. There are private lessons which cost $144 per hour. These lessons are first come-first served and cannot be reserved. 

If someone does not want individual lessons, there are family classes which include one parent and one child between the ages of 5-12 that cost $254 per hour.

Lessons like these are ideal for people who have never been snowboarding before or to get people warmed up, particularly if they have not been on the board in a while.

I recommend at least an hour just practicing turns on a bunny hill or down a green circle slope for a good warm up to get comfortable,” says an instructor at Blue Knob.

For anyone who has more time to travel, another mountain to visit is Holiday Valley Resort in upstate New York. They have so many good trails that lead to different areas of the mountain and multiple lifts for each of the slopes. 

It is a great mountain for people who have never been snowboarding before and want to learn on a mountain with more open space for turns.

Holiday Valley also offers a month of lessons for either snowboarding or skiing at half the price of a regular lesson. They offer day or night lessons from around $38, and they have lessons for beginners at $30. 

Just like the Wintergreen Resort, Holiday Valley Has slopes with boxes, rails and overall fun slopes to do tricks. 

Snowboarding is an easy sport once learned; and if one skateboards, it will not be difficult at all to get used to. 

It is a great way to get out of the house during winter months, and it is relatively inexpensive.

Additionally, resorts usually have a board or ski rental  so one does not have to buy any equipment just try it out. 

Three time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White said,” You take a crash, you get back up and next time you succeed and that’s a great feeling.”