This Eastern State Park Becomes A Winter Utopia With The Steepest Slope In The State

For some travelers, vacation is all about finding those sunny and sandy destinations to enjoy where the focus is firmly on time spent on the shoreline. For others, there's absolutely nothing better than when winter rolls around and the fresh powder falls meaning the ski slopes are officially open for business. When downhill adventures are exactly your style, you're going to want to do yourself a favor and make time for a trip to Boswell, Pennsylvania. This is where you can enjoy a thrilling winter utopia experience in the form of Laurel Mountain State Park.

Located just a little more than 10 miles from Ligonier, Pennsylvania, Laurel Mountain State Park is an ideal place to enjoy a ski trip when you're traveling with outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels. Here, you'll find it's refreshingly easy to pair on-the-slopes fun with fantastic and sparkling winter scenery. That's because the park sits in the Laurel Ridge at no less than 3,000 feet above sea level. A scenic combination of towering trees, easy-to-access lifts, and meticulously maintained trails make this a skier's or snowboarder's dream come true when temperatures drop and the snow falls each winter season.

Expect to enjoy fantastic ski area features

Don't be surprised when you find yourself endlessly inspired by what you encounter at Laurel Mountain State Park's ski area. One of the most impressive aspects of spending a ski getaway here is the fact that you'll have seamless access to a vertical drop of 761 feet which marks the highest of its kind in the entire state. The ski area also hosts a double black diamond known as Lower Wildcat that boasts a 60% slope earning it the title of the steepest in Pennsylvania. Combined, it's fair to say a ski trip this way puts you in a place where you can count on enjoying top-rated challenges and adventures at just about every turn.

Sprawling across 493 acres of terrain, Laurel Mountain State Park has a long history of being a snow seeker's paradise in Pennsylvania. Originally, the park operated as a private destination where wealthy, local industrialists would come and gather in good company to take advantage of time on the slopes. By 1939, the area was opened to the public and as the terrain's tantalizing winter appeal became more widely recognized, the nickname "Ski Capital of Pennsylvania" was adopted and has stuck around ever since. The area was donated to the state of Pennsylvania in 1964 and while the park remains an important part of the state's greater park system, the ski area has been operated by Vail Resorts since 2021.

Ski your way to fun in Pennsylvania

Once you arrive at Summit Ski Road to experience Laurel Mountain State Park, you'll have access to 70 acres of skiable terrain. There are 19 trails to explore in total with about 52% of the landscape set aside for beginner runs. Around 36% of the remaining terrain is ideal for intermediate skiers with the rest beckoning highly experienced skiers to come and put their skills to the test on the advanced slopes.

If you're new to skiing and snowboarding but excited to learn, the ski area is the perfect place to book private lessons. It's hard to imagine anything more inspiring than honing your skills while soaking up stunning views of the surrounding Ligonier Valley. Once you feel comfortable skiing in the daytime, you can let the fun linger past sunset by participating in the park's night ski sessions that run throughout ski season.

When you've had your fill of the mountain's incredible runs, reward yourself with time in Laurel Lodge. This cozy retreat within the ski area is a great place to enjoy the view and order up a burger, pizza, or soup at the Laurel House Cafe. When you're planning to spend time in Pennsylvania and can't wait to make the most of a ski getaway at Laurel Mountain State Park, be sure to plan your trip between December and mid-March. This typically constitutes ski season with some potential fluctuation depending on annual weather conditions.