Seven Springs

"Great for the family. Major upgrades in all areas. Plenty of activities to do after skiing."
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"Great for the family. Major upgrades in all areas. Plenty of activities to do after skiing."

Seven Springs is a true four-season resort just an hour or so from Pittsburgh. Its well-developed lodging and amenities, ample terrain and big lift capacity draw visitors from even further away than Pittsburgh. Cleveland and Columbus Ohio are just three and four hours away respectively; Baltimore and Washington, DC, are four.

Thirty slopes and trails, a 750 foot maximum vertical drop (continuous on three trails in the North Face area) are spread across 275 acres. Five triples, three quads, and a high-speed six-pack provide most of the uplift; five surface lifts serve primarily learner or beginner terrain. Nearly all the terrain is lighted at night.

Mid-Atlantic skiers can be thankful that the Nutting family is better at running its ski resort than its baseball team. The Nuttings, owners of the perennial also-ran Pittsburgh Pirates, bought Seven Springs two years ago and have set the resort on a winning path. The small Pennsylvania resort "makes the most of what it has," which translates to excellent snowmaking, several terrain parks and enough skiing to build a weekend around. It was the other amenities that needed updating. That's finally happening. Over the past several seasons, all 418 rooms in the Main Lodge have been gutted and outfitted with new decor, flat screen TVs, lighting and bedding. The soaring atrium lobby retains its rock-and-beam mountain appeal, but with a fresh look. A row of tired chalets behind the hotel has been transformed into a posh spa, and the cuisine now includes more healthful alternatives. Seven Springs strong Apr's ranking (No. 3) appears mostly to reflect the opinions of families. Besides some excellent dinner options, including Helen"s, a stellar dining experience in the founding family's original log-and-stone home, evenings are filled with what one reader called "old-school family fun," including bowling, roller skating, indoor mini-golf and two boardwalk-style game rooms, just like when you were a kid. - S.C.

The Latest

The Spa at Seven Springs opens, and the old rental facility has been renovated, as has the coffee shop in the main lodge.

Don't Miss

The crash site of Flight 93, the 9/11 plane retaken from terrorists, is in nearby Shanksville. A temporary memorial has been erected and a permanent one has been commissioned. It is a sad but stirring experience.

Local Secret

Watching Sunday football among the Steeler faithful in the Bit O" The Burgh sports bar