It all started in 1959, when a mountain became a new recreation complex for skiing. Elk Mountain, as it was named, started out with only a handful of trails. Today Elk Mountain Ski Resort has evolved into a sprawling 27 trails, and the most challenging terrain in Pennsylvania!


Elk's History

Elk Mountain history dates back to 1959, when Elk became one of Pennsylvania's first commercial ski areas.

During its opening year, Elk featured a small base lodge (now the picnic lodge), a 2,200 foot T-bar and several slopes, as well as some rope tows and a small warming hut built a few years earlier by the Scranton Ski Club.

The mountain's first Hall Double chairlift was installed in 1961, heralding the development of five expert trails and various intermediate trails from the top. Elk's first expert trail, completed before the chairlift itself, was host to the 1960 Pennsylvania State Championships. Enthusiastic competitors and gatekeepers actually walked to the summit from the top of the T-bar to run the race.

A year later in 1962, snowmaking was installed and a new A-frame base lodge was built. Skiing at Elk got a lift - quite literally - with the installation of a beginners J-bar in 1964 and a double chairlift from the lower parking lot to the top of the mountain in 1965. The original T-bar was replaced with a chairlift in 1969, and the J-bar was retired for a double chairlift in 1973. Skiers saw Elk in a whole new light when, in 1966, lighting was installed on the East and West slopes for night skiing. Lighting was installed along three summit trails in 1972.

The 1980s saw a flurry of activity, beginning with the construction of the ski shop/ski school building in 1981. The base lodge was remodeled and expanded in 1982 to include a two-level restaurant and increased cafeteria seating. That same year the Lehigh and Delaware Trails were rerouted, and the Tuscarora Trail was completed.

Elk's expanded operations led to the construction of a new maintenance facility and the expansion of snowmaking capabilities, both of which were completed in 1984. A wastewater treatment plant was built in 1988.

During the 1986/87 ski season, Elk's ambitious tree planting program gained momentum. More than 13,000 trees - most of them Norway Spruce - were planted since the mid '80s.

A rapidly growing base of skiers gave rise to the construction of seven new trails and the lengthening of two other trails between 1990 and 1996. The new Mohawk, Iroquois, Wissahickon, Hiawatha, Snow Bowl, Chippewa and Tecumseh Trails give skiers more choices than ever before. With these new trails came enhanced snowmaking capabilities, complete with a new snowmaking pump house (1992) and the addition of over 50,000 feet of snowmaking pipe.

As Quad chairlifts gained popularity, Elk responded with a 4,000-foot Quad lift of its own. The Quad chairlift's 1994 completion added yet another new dimension to the mountain.

Since 1994 the snowmaking system has been fine tuned even more. A fleet of new snow guns was added in 1998, and the Chippewa, Wyalusing and Tioga Trails were lengthened and rerouted. Elk Mountain now boasts of 27 slopes and trails with great variety and the most challenging terrain in Pennsylvania.

In January 1999, Elk lost its compressor building in an early morning blaze that leveled the structure. In less than 72 hours, however, the resort recovered and was once again making snow. During the summer of 1999 a new compressor building and snowmaking headquarters arose. Both scheduled to be online for the 1999/2000 ski season. In the past decade alone, improvements at the forty year-old resort will exceed the 10 million dollar mark.

Elk remains the proven leader for quality skiing in Pennsylvania.

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