Skiing near Pittsburgh: 4 snow sports destinations that families will love

Story by Julien Strollo, a member of SLB Radio’s Youth Media Corps. All photos courtesy of Vail Resorts.   

The cold weather is here and snow has begun to fall. There’s no doubt winter sports season has arrived. And from bunny hills to serious mountains, there are lots of good snow sports options for families to enjoy in the Pittsburgh area. 

My family has checked out many of the local skiing and snow tubing options. I’m in high school and have been skiing for more than ten years. So I wanted to share with Kidsburgh readers this guide to local winter destinations. You’ll find details like price, accessibility and the overall experience. 

Whether you’ve been skiing for years or just looking to start, this should guide you in the right direction.  

4. Boyce Park 

Located in Plum, this park has great activities for beginners. On the left side of the resort, there is a basic slope for getting started. To the right, there is a more complicated slope with a ski lift. Along with these ski slopes, you’ll also find a snow tubing area, which is perfect for younger kids and those not interested in skiing or snowboarding. 

In the lodge, you can get rental equipment, lift tickets, and also  snacks and concessions. Lift tickets are $15 weekdays/$20 weekends and holidays for Allegheny County residents. Rental equipment is discounted for county residents, as well. Boyce Park also offers ski and snowboarding lessons. Lift tickets for kids under 5 are free. 

Overall, if you are looking for a casual resort with fair prices and not too far from home, then Boyce Park is just the place for you. Get more details here

Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts
Family fun at Hidden Valley.

3. Hidden Valley 

This resort, situated in Somerset, is great for beginner skiers and snowboarders looking to advance. It offers many more slopes and trails than Boyce Park. This resort is also a particularly good place to start if you are looking for freestyle skiing. Hidden Valley offers affordable lift tickets and ski rentals, along with great lessons for all skill levels. Get prices here

If you’re planning a visit, you can check out Hidden Valley’s daily weather and snowfall report right here.

For its location and price, Hidden Valley offers a lot. But because of its distance (more than an hour from the city), I often opt for going to Boyce Park instead. But if you are willing to drive and have the time, then Hidden Valley is an excellent choice. 

photo courtesy of Vail Resorts.
Laurel Mountain offers beginner and advanced ski slopes.

2. Laurel Mountain Ski 

High in the Allegheny Mountains, this resort is one of the most beautiful in the region. It includes what is arguably the steepest and most difficult slope in all of Pennsylvania, the Lower Wildcat. First-timers and beginner skiers are welcome (details on beginner lessons here), but Laurel Mountain is best known as a great spot for experienced snow sports fans. 

The views are fantastic and the skiing can be really wonderful. There are a few drawbacks: Certain areas of the resort lack snow-making machines. So unless it has snowed recently, those sections will not be accessible. Along with that, the resort doesn’t have a lot of  trails.

But serious skiers won’t want to miss the really challenging slopes that Laurel Mountain offers. Made up of two parts, the Upper Wild Cat (single black diamond) and Lower Wild Cat (double black diamond) are considered particularly difficult.

All things considered, Laurel Mountain Resort is great for beginners who want to explore or grow, and also a great experience for advanced skiers who want to enjoy the more difficult areas. Click here for prices and more details. 

photo courtesy of Vail Resorts
Seven Springs has options for skiers of all ages and experience levels.

1. Seven Springs 

The largest resort in the Allegheny region, Seven Springs has a vast selection from beginner to advanced. The resort also offers a variety of food and restaurants, and an excellent ski school program. You won’t get bored: Seven Springs has 33 slopes and trails, 10 terrain parks and 850 snow-making machines, making it among the most popular resorts in this area. 

There’s just one challenge: Because it offers so much, Seven Springs is often extremely crowded during the season. This can make waiting in lines difficult, especially with younger kids. In addition, the food and equipment can only be paid for via card and can be more expensive than other resorts in the region. 

Overall, Seven Springs is an excellent location for those who love the long trails and slopes and don’t mind the crowds. Click here for prices and more details.

photo courtesy of Vail Resorts
Seven Springs is one of several resorts where you can use the Epic Pass.


The Epic Pass is a membership program which  supplies free entrance to Hidden Valley, Seven Springs, and Laurel Mountain. It’s expensive: $700 for the season. So for beginners, it may not be practical unless you’re sure you’ll want to ski all winter long. However, if you are serious about skiing, then I would recommend looking into it. 

Winter sports are a wonderful way to be active in the colder months, and anybody can enjoy them – especially with so many great skiing mountains and snow sports options in the Pittsburgh region.  

Want to learn about more cold weather fun happening indoors and out? Check out our big winter events guide and our guide to February events