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PA/NJ Backcountry Skiing/Boarding
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Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
PA/NJ Backcountry Skiing/Boarding on 01/12/2012 10:08:19 MST Print View

I like to hike in winter, I like to snowboard, I hate crowds, and I hate paying for lift tickets. So, I've decided to try and do some backcountry snowboarding in my local area.

Yes, I live in PA, and plan on venturing into PA and NJ to search for suitable terrain. It's not Tuckerman's Ravine, and it certainly is not Colorado or anything out West, but I certainly think it is possible. However, I think this year will prove difficult to get suitable snow and trail conditions necessary (many trees down from hurricanes and Oct. snow). The snowpack of the last 2 winters would have been more suitable.

Over the last few years, I've scouted some wide fire roads that could be capable of sustaining a downhill run, and I'm looking to find more. Since this is NJ/PA, many of the trails are very rocky, and even with a decent snowpack, it might be sketchy. So, I've looked at fire roads, since they are wide, well-graded, and mostly free of rocks.
I have some in mind, but I guess I need to scout them again, and check on the post-storm damage.

For my gear, I'll just be using my MSR snowshoes, and my Arbor snowboard strapped to a snowboard pack.

Dare I post my potential locations here, or do I keep my stashes a secret?

Also, once conditions permit, I plan on heading up to the Thunderbolt to give that a try.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
PA/NJ Backcountry Skiing/Boarding on 01/12/2012 10:23:03 MST Print View

I've spent a fair amount of time "Horsepacking" in the woods to the northwest of Wellsboro PA. One other thing for you to keep in mind would be to use the clearings for the gas lines that run in that part of the state. There's usually a track that can be driven by the gas company but the clearings are pretty wide and, except for where they cross a road, devoid of big rocks. We've run our horses through on these clearings without incident.

Some of them can be pretty steep - which would make for a good run, but there's usually a stream or run at the bottom of them. Keep that in mind...

Good luck!

Richard Fischel
look for old ski areas on 01/12/2012 10:49:00 MST Print View

this list might help -

if you are willing to earn your turns who needs the lift to be running.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Another Thought on 01/12/2012 11:42:41 MST Print View


As I've posted here before, one of my favorite trails in PA is the Old Loggers Path. It's a 27-mile loop on State Forest property north of Williamsport. Much of the trail uses old railroad beds - which are anywhere from 5 - 20 feet wide. I can think of at least two mile-long downhills on those railroad grades that I'd be pretty comfortable tackling on skis (if, that is, I was willing do to the snowshoe work to get to the top).

A loop like that might give you what you want in terms of a "backcountry" experience as well.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: PA/NJ Backcountry Skiing/Boarding on 01/12/2012 14:34:20 MST Print View

I'll be on the lookout for some nice utility cuts as well.

The DC Ski and NELSAP sites are great and nostalgic, but I think most of the areas are still private property, so those might be out. However, it is nice to see where some place have been, and how close they are to the places I'm scouting.

The OLP seems like a nice option, but not sure if I want to go all that distance.

As for me, I'm scouting some of these places:
Hamburg Reservoir Fire Road (from mi 2 - 3.5, maybe all the way down)
Milford Cliffs approach Trail: short, but definitely steep.
Mt. Minsi Fire Road

Richard Fischel
private property on 01/12/2012 15:05:55 MST Print View

have you not heard the term *peak poaching.* i am not suggestiong that you do anything illegal, but if the property isn't properly posted... many of these places there'll be nobody around but you and maybe a couple of others doing the same thing you are doing. also, for your advanced scouting google earth is your friend.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: private property on 01/12/2012 16:40:45 MST Print View

At least in Alaska, being on unposted property is "simple trespass" versus being on posted property being "criminal trespass" with different penalties.

More important though, is whether the propety owner is armed or not.