Editor’s note: This is a weekly series focusing on the importance of buying local.
Winter sports activities are off to a slow start because of a lack of snow.
The options for those snow boarders, skiers and inter tube enthusiasts, however, remain plentiful in across the region.
While the landscape will change some in the future, winter sports activities at area venues should keep the slopes slippery and fast.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Hidden Valley Mountain Resort and Laurel Mountain Ski Area are longtime favorites of local winter sports enthusiasts, but there are 10 resorts within 100 miles of the city.
- Mystic Mountain, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, is a learning environment for first-time skiers, with 25 acres, friendly trails and experienced instructors. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are available on six slopes, with difficulty ranging from beginner to expert. Mystic Mountain also offers dog sledding, snow tubing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing for winter fun at the Laurel Highlands resort.
- Blue Knob All Season Resort is the highest skiable mountain in Pennsylvania. It is located at the northwestern tip of Bedford County in the Allegheny Mountains, spanning 100 acres of skiable terrain. There are 16 trails and three lifts with many easy routes from the top to make it fun for beginner and intermediate skiers, too.
- Boyce Park a small ski slope, located in Allegheny County, makes up for what it may lack in terrain and amenities by being an inexpensive option and is a starting point for kids and adult beginners. Nighttime hours from Monday through Friday let locals take advantage of the resident discount and get a few runs in after work.
- Laurel Mountain is home of the double-diamond Lower Wildcat slope. It is located on 493 acres of Laurel Mountain State Park in south-central Pennsylvania. The resort boasts the highest vertical drop on the Laurel Ridge at 761 feet.
- Mt. Pleasant of Edinboro, formerly known as Mountain View, is a small ski area in Erie County, which maintains 10 slopes and trails for downhill skiing and snowboarding. The resort also offers a ski school and tubing park, Monday night College Night, Two-for-Tuesday discount and a full rental shop.
- Oglebay Resort and Conference Center is just across the border in West Virginia, near Wheeling. The Nutting Winter Sports Complex offers skiing and snowboarding on a groomed trail on weekends and school holidays, weather permitting, from mid-December through mid-March. Snow tubing is available, too.
- Willowbrook Ski Area near Belle Vernon gives beginners a safe space to practice their turns. More advanced skiers and riders appreciate the famous giant moguls. Learning to ski or snowboard at a large resort can be intimidating, with people whizzing by and too many runs to choose from.
- Wisp Resort was by SKI Magazine among the top 80 ski resorts in the nation. It is in Garrett County, Md., about 100 miles from Pittsburgh, and has 34 slopes, snow tubing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, on-mountain lodging, dining and shopping.
Those interested in joining the Be Local Network can call Chris Slota at 724-225-1326 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Discount cards are available at the Observer-Reporter and Almanac office, 122 S. Main St., Washington.