A guide to the top local ski resorts


Photo by Ella Kotok

Roundtop Mountain Resort is located in Lewisberry, PA. and offers skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing.

Ella Kotok, Arts and Entertainment Editor

While many associate winter with feelings of cold, stress and sadness, the season actually provides many fun and exciting winter sports that allow for a good time and a source of relaxation after a long week at school or work. 

As sporadic as northeast winter weather can be, many locals in the Greater Washington area still find days to get in their time on the slopes of southern Pennsylvania. If you are looking for a semi-local place to spend a day skiing, snowboarding or snow tubing, you have three options to choose from; Whitetail, Liberty or Roundtop.

The three resorts were all recently bought by Vail Resorts, which is in the process of implementing new changes and policies to make the locations more efficient and well managed. For example, all Vail-owned locations can now be accessed using an “Epic Pass;” a universal season ticket that can be scanned in lift lines through your jacket pockets, making it easy to hop between resorts.

However, each of these resorts has managed to maintain their own personalities. 

Whitetail Resort sits an hour and a half away from the CESJDS campuses. The mountain has six green (beginner) runs, nine blue (intermediate) runs, three black (difficult) runs and two double black (most difficult) runs. 

It can be intimidating and annoying to ski with people who are not on the same level as you. What is nice about Whitetail is that it has an “Expert’s Choice” chair lift that allows for experts and novices to be separated from each other. 

Whitetail also used to occasionally serve made-to-order sushi and a variety of delicious lunch choices to enjoy during a break from the slopes. However, the menu is currently condensed to bare essentials, mainly salads and sandwiches, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consisting of 21 trails, Liberty Mountain Resort is located an hour and 20 minutes away from school. Liberty has seven green runs, eight blue runs, three black runs and three double black runs, so there is an option for everyone

In contrast to Whitetail, Liberty’s trails are mixed in terms of difficulty; the challenging slopes are integrated throughout the mountain as opposed to being confined to one area. This makes it easy for families or groups of friends with skiers and boarders of a variety of levels; experts can take a black and novices can take a green, and both end up at the same chair lift.

While their menu is also condensed, Liberty currently has more dining options available, especially for non-meat eaters. Their French bread pizza and curly fries are a staple that are difficult to beat.

Roundtop Mountain Resort is the furthest of the three, located an hour and 45 minutes from JDS. With six green runs, four blue runs, seven black runs and two double blacks, Roundtop is easier to navigate but a lot less versatile. 

Roundtop is organized more linearly, making it a good place to start for those unfamiliar with the layout of local mountains. However, for more seasoned skiers who want to switch it up, the mountain can get boring fairly quickly. 

So next time you have a day off from school this winter, head over to one of these locations and try it out. Who knows — maybe you’ll be the next Lindsey Vonn or Shaun White.