For 55 years sow lovers have been heading to Roundtop Mountain Resort in Lewisberry, Pa., near Harrisburg. There’s a wide variety of terrain and something for all types of snowboarders and skiers. I’m no exception.
To get the most out of the mountain, I usually warm up on the beginner (Green) trail Powderhorn, which is accessed via a quad (four person) chair lift. The trail bends through the woods and opens into an expanse next to the Discovery Learning Area — AKA The Bunny Hill. It’s always fun to watch beginner skiers and snowboarders while riding the lift. First-time skiers don’t have to worry about getting onto and off the chair lift. There’s a magic carpet conveyor for beginners.
After a couple of trips down Powderhorn and the adjacent Green slope Drummer Boy, it’s time to move onto the Blues — the intermediate terrain. I’ve been skiing for over 30 years and can handle the advanced slopes. However, the intermediate trails are really the most fun. And the ones at Roundtop stretch out so wide that it makes swooshing down the mountain effortless, with no worries of getting in the way of other skiers and snowboarders. Six of the mountain’s 20 trails are rated intermediate. Two of these, Recruit and Minuteman, run down the front face of the mountain for the full 600 feet vertical drop.
After spending a few hours on these runs, a stop for lunch at the Fireside Grill is always a welcome break. It’s a great little pub with reasonable prices. And it’s much less busy than the main food court. Overall, Roundtop is not as crowded as its sister resorts of Ski Liberty and Whitetail. Roundtop is a two hour drive from Washington D.C., as opposed to about ninety minutes for the other two. But it’s worth the extra thirty minutes in the car to avoid long lift lines. And if you are seeing grass on your front lawn, don’t worry, with modern snowmaking and being farther north in Pennsylvania, Roundtop has snow all winter.
After some pub grub, I like to make a few more intermediate runs before facing the black diamonds — the advanced slopes. The single black diamond trails aren’t that much steeper than the intermediate terrain. They simply look steeper in that they are narrower. The Advanced Barret’s Trail is great fun cutting across the top of the mountain and connecting to Powderhorn. However, the double black Diamond (experts only) slopes — Upper Ramrod and Gunbarrel — require both skill and courage. Standing at the top of each is like looking over a cliff. If there’s any ice at all I chicken out from taking the plunge. When I do steal up my nerve, once on each is enough. And then it’s back to the merely Advance slopes and finishing the day cruising down the Blues.
Roundtop also has two terrain parks with plenty of jumps and boxes and rails. They’re not only for the snowboarders. Expert and freestyle skiers may enjoy getting big air off of the jumps. And even if you don’t ski or snowboard, or want to give your legs a break, the snow tubing at Roundtop is a gas! The 800-foot-long hill includes 10 lanes and is service by a magic carpet lift. It’s like sledding without having to walk back up the hill.
Roundtop is now part of Vail Resorts and is included in the Epic Brand Ski Pass. So this local mountain is not only a well-rounded resort. It’s Epic!
For more information: skiroundtop.com