Fresh powder at the end of the season

Sarah Casey

Is all this freezing weather keeping you inside? Has cabin fever set in? Don’t let it get to you; enjoy it! Put that Denali Jacket to good use and hit the slopes. They are closer than you may think.

Pennsylvania may not be known for its exceptional mountains, but exciting skiing and snowboarding are only a short ride away. Some Pennsylvania resorts even boast comparisons to those of Vermont. Even if the riding is not that spectacular, it’s certainly better than staying inside.

Don’t worry if it’s not snowing – Pennsylvania’s terrain is a combination of natural and machine-made snow, and many of the resorts offer some of the best snow-making technology available.

Spring Mount is the first U.S. ski area to offer a fully automated snow-making system on 100 percent of the mountain. Spring is about a 35- minute ride from campus, located just north of King of Prussia. An adult pass runs $32 on weekends and $25 weekdays; evening tickets are $22. Friday night is college night. Bring your student ID and pay $15. Spring features seven trails, a small half pipe, terrain park and slightly varied terrain. Spring is a mountain best suited for the beginner, but its price and proximity are incomparable.

A slightly farther drive from campus located in Macungie, Bear Creek offers 17 trails with more diverse slopes than Spring Mount, as well as a solid terrain park and half pipe. Students up to 21 receive a $34 weekend/ $ 28 weekday pass; nights run $23. Thursday nights are catered to the college crowd. Pay $18 for a night pass, then wind down at the Out of Bounds Tap Room and load up on the divine buffalo wings.

Further up the Pennsylvania Turnpike about an hour and a half drive from Villanova in Palmerton lies Blue Mountain. With its 1,082 foot vertical and 28 trails, Blue is much larger than Spring and Bear Creek and better known, so expect to wait in lift lines on the weekend. Students under 22 with ID pay $34 on weekends and $32 on weekdays for a pass. Blue offers a wide variety of terrain and is a good choice for the intermediate skier who wants more of a challenge.

Camelback Mountain is located in Tannersville, about a two hour drive from campus. Camelback can also draw large crowds on weekends, but only offers a college deal during the week. With ID, $32 gets an eight-hour pass and $22 for a night pass. Camelback has a large mountain feel to it, and the 32 trails are diverse and challenging. The half pipes, well-kept terrain park and high speed lifts make Camelback a great weekday trip for skiers and snowboarders of any expertise level.

Elk Mountain, the longest drive of the mentioned resorts, is located in Union Dale. However, the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Nova is well worth the trip. Elk even boasts Vermont-quality terrain, the 28 trails are nicely groomed and crowds usually remain small. The best option is to make it an overnight trip, because the drive home can drag after a hard day on the mountain. The Clifford Hotel (570) 222-3841 offers rooms ranging from $50 to $80 a night and is about a 10-minute drive from the mountain. Elk doesn’t offer any daily student discounts, so be prepared to pay $45 on weekends and $39 on weekdays. However, if you decide to make the trek to Elk, shoot for Wild College Wednesdays. Ten bucks and a student ID gets you a day or night pass.

So you didn’t bring your equipment to school? No worries, all the mountains offer rentals, but if you want to potentially save a few bucks and definitely save a wait, head over to Buckman’s Ski Shop, located a little over a mile from campus at 931 Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr. Rentals are available for any time increment. A 24-hour ski/ snowboard rental is $28; weekend ski rental is $45, snowboard is $50.

If you aren’t into planning your own trip or you don’t have the wheels to get to the mountain on your own, check out (Villanova Ski and Snowboard eXtreme Club). President Dave Clark explained that for $10 dollars, VSSX offers members a 10 percent discount at Buckman’s Ski Shop and Bikeline, a rockin’ t-shirt and an inexpensive, safe way to get to the mountains. The club makes trips to the Poconos, Vermont and even Whistler-Blackcomb, the pinnacle of North American skiing and snowboarding.

So now that you have suddenly become inspired to brave the freezing temperature and hit the slopes, remember to stay safe and have fun. Think Snow!