When Richard Smith penned the lyrics of the classic song “Winter Wonderland” in 1934, the glistening, snowy scenery he had in mind was his hometown of Honesdale, Pa., and the surrounding countryside of the Pocono Mountains. Just a 90-minute drive from New York City and Philadelphia, the Poconos is still a haven for lovers of frosty weather, with rolling meadows to build snowmen in and cozy cabins with roaring fires to dream and conspire by. The region’s average winter temperatures range from highs of 31 to lows of 16, and a winning combination of natural and manmade snow at six area ski resorts makes the Poconos a wonderland for winter recreation as well.
Nearly 150 slopes and trails beckon, from easy to extreme. The varied landscape provides both gentle runs and drastic drops, including Pennsylvania’s highest vertical, Razor’s Edge, at Blue Mountain Resort in Palmerton. Snowboarding terrain parks make up nearly 50 percent of the slopes at Lake Harmony’s Big Boulder Ski Area, while its sister resort, Jack Frost Mountain in nearby Blakeslee, offers inviting and groomed trails for skiing. Both Shawnee Mountain Ski Area in East Stroudsburg and Ski Big Bear at Masthope Mountain in Lackawaxen are ideal for families and first-timers while also offering challenging runs for any advanced skiers and snowboarders in your group.
All six ski resorts feature rentals and dedicated local instructors ready to share their lifelong love of the sport and get newbies gliding down the mountain. With the excitement of the 2022 Winter Olympics on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to learn to ski or snowboard! Make time for a lesson, or encourage friends and family members to join you on the slopes. Glide over the snowy ground and let the beautiful passing scenery whisk your cares away. Looking to ease your way onto the slopes? Try snow tubing! You’ll find the country’s largest snow tubing park at Camelback Mountain in Tannersville, host of out-of-this-world galactic tubing after dark, with the slopes lit by an LED light show.
Enjoying winter sports is just one of many ways to spend a snowy day in the Pocono Mountains. The region also boasts pristine cross-country ski and snowshoeing trails in many area state parks. Try dog sledding, jingle all the way in a horse-drawn sleigh, or turn up the adrenaline with a snowmobiling trip or winter ATV ride. Many communities host winter fest celebrations with vendors and seasonal specialties you won’t want to miss.
When you’re ready to get warm and cozy, there are lots of après ski activities to choose from. Take a stroll in our historic and charming downtowns to pop into one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques. Enjoy a hearty meal at delicious restaurants, or sample hand-crafted beverages at local wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Poconos cafés and coffee houses offer hot chocolate and brewed-on-site espresso creations, a must for a snowy afternoon. From museums to art galleries, from escape rooms to axe throwing, take your pick from numerous indoor attractions. Book a cozy room at a local bed and breakfast, or find a vacation rental, cabin, or cottage to add the perfect finishing touch to your winter getaway. Visit poconomountains.com to start planning!