Enjoy the snow to any extreme at Jack Frost or Big Boulder Ski Area. This was the first commercial ski resort in Pennsylvania, and it was here that snowmaking was first used successfully in a commercial application. There are many festivals and events that keep the ski areas busy year-round.
Big Boulder and its neighbor, Jack Frost, offer a great vacation deal for families. Families can try skiing (downhill and cross-country), snowtubing, snowboarding, motorsports, and paintball and stay in a vacation home on the property. Even better, kids under five stay free. Both resorts also offer babysitting, ski lessons in winter, music festivals in summer, and nightlife all year long. Jack Frost has TRAXX, a 15-mile course through the woods with divisions for motocross, ATV, and BMX bikes. This course is available for people ten and up. Bring your own equipment, but you can rent bicycles only. Also at Jack Frost is night-time snowtubing on Saturday nights.
Jack Frost and its sister mountain, Big Boulder are great places to get out and ski or snowboard. Jack Frost offers visitors a nice place to hone their skills during the day (there are no lights so no night skiing), and Big Boulder is fun if you'd like later hours or night skiing. During the week Big Boulder opens at 3 and on weekends they open at 8am. It's nice to start out at Jack Frost (which closes at 4pm) and then transition over to Big Boulder which stays open until 9 or 10 in the evenings. Lift passes are good at either mountain, so this mixes things up a bit and allows for a change of scenery which is always nice.
My family stayed nearby and were able to get to the mountain mid-morning. There were a lot of people there as it was a busy Saturday at the end of January, but that is to be expected. The slopes did not seem too crowded as we made our way around, but the lifts were packed. There were also a lot of people in and around the lodge, so it did seem crowded that way. I liked that the slopes were wide and you could avoid folks better on your way down. My boys are snowboarders, so they really appreciated the terrain park options that were available here. We found the trails to be well groomed and there were plenty of choices to pick from, depending on your level of skill. The green trails (beginner) are very short, though, which can be good or bad depending on what you like. I found them to be too short, so it forced me to tackle the blue trails. I was glad I did, as they were longer and I had a nice time navigating them with my kids. There are 20 trails here and the mountain accommodates all skill levels and most ages.
There are nine lifts located at Jack Frost. We did find there to be lines here, but everyone was cordial and moved through them pretty fairly and politely. The staff was very nice and helped steady the chair before you got on. We had no issue with the lifts and rode them many times. At Jack Frost, you start out at the top of the mountain and ski down. Then you take the lift back up to the top where the lodge and ski school and parking lots are.
The lodge here is quite big. There are a variety of food choices, from Jack's Pizza to Jack's Burrito Bar to Java Jacks (see the theme?). They also offer gluten-free and vegetarian options should you have such needs. The lodge can get crowded on busy weekends, but just expect this and you should be fine. We spent time sitting down outside of the lodge where you could view the slopes and lifts and enjoy the sunshine.
Both of these are available here, and we partook in each of them. My rental experience was quick and painless and I was in and out in no time. The staff helped me get the right equipment to accommodate my needs and I was off and skiing in no time. Returns were even easier at closing when the staff helped steer you in the right direction to drop your gear off. My son took a snowboarding lesson and he was surprised that he learned so much. The instructors were very helpful and spent time working with him to help his technique and better his skills, which was fantastic. Both private and group lessons can be purchased here. There are lessons for kiddos ages 3-10 and then ages 9 and up. There are also adaptive ski lessons that got rave reviews from the parents I spoke with!
Got a tubing fan in your family? Got someone who doesn't ski or snowboard but wants to have some fun on the slopes? This is the perfect activity for them. Purchase a tubing session pass and go whooshing down the trail. You can race your kids or your significant other and get bragging rights. Tube for a little while or the whole session (they are usually 3 hours). It's a ton of fun!
I really liked this mountain and the fact that its sister mountain is included in your list ticket price. It really livens things up to switch mountains after a few hours and take in a new experience. Things were easy to get to, the staff was very helpful, parking was not a hassle and you could ski all day and do some night skiing should you wish. I would recommend this mountain to folks in the area looking to shred it up a bit during the winter!
*Disclosure: My family and I were provided with lift tickets and a ski rental in order to facilitate this review. All opinions, however, are my own.
We had a great time at Jack Frost Big Boulder tubing with the kids. We left the 1 year old with grandma and drove over with the 8 and 14 year old. It is pretty organized and the kids had a blast. There are plenty of chutes and you can go down with your child. We wanted to go all together but that is not allowed. We tubed for about 3 hours, stopping to get hot cocoa and warmth from the outdoor fire.