My kids have been begging to try snowboarding, and when we looked into it, we decided that Shawnee Mountain in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, was the place to try it. It’s about an hour’s drive from north Jersey to this Pocono Mountain ski area with 23 trails, two terrain parks, and an area for snow tubing. Shawnee also has an extensive learning center, so we knew the kids would have plenty of terrain to spread out and feel confident during their lessons. Overall, it was a fantastic day—getting on a board was a great experience for them, and for us, watching them learn a new skill was thrilling. Read on for more about our first snowboarding experience (and where to get the best hot chocolate ever) at Shawnee Mountain. And for more frosty fun, check out the best places to ski and board in the tri-state area. (featured photo taken at Shawnee Mountain)
Coming up to the mountain
Before we headed out, we checked the easy-to-access snow report available on the website to find out which trails and lifts were open along with the temperature and the snowmaking status so we knew exactly what we were walking into. Getting to the mountain was easy, and once we parked, we had to cross the footbridge to get to the main hub with everything from the lodge to the rental area. As we walked into the lodge, we could see the snowy mountain. Straight ahead was the larger part of the mountain where skiers and snowboarders were cruising down, and to the left was the Freestyle Terrain Park. To the right, we saw the Learning Center, Snow Tubing Park, and the adorable Mini Monster Mountain, where ages 8 and under could play in the snow if they decided not to ski, snowboard, or tube.
Getting equipment ready
We had no equipment, so we headed to the rental area to get set up for a day on the slopes. They have everything you’d need for skiing and snowboarding and helmets for rent (for kids, helmets are included with the Children’s Program lessons). For this visit, my kids rented boots, bindings, and snowboards; we got skis, and we had our own helmets and goggles. It was an easy process, and many staff members were available to help, and it didn’t take long to find the right fit.
Choose your own adventure
The summit elevation of Shawnee Mountain is 1,350, the average snowfall is 50 inches, and the uphill capacity is 12,600 skiers an hour. With 23 trails, there are plenty of different ways to spend time on the slopes in this 125-acre ski area. You can choose to ski or snowboard on trails labeled “Easiest,” “More Difficult,” “Most Difficult,” or “Freestyle Terrain.” The two Terrain Parks feature multi-jumps, spines, tabletops, rails, and a Jib Garden. And if you’d rather slide than ski, enjoy the thrill of snow tubing at their Pocono Plunge Snow Tubing Park.
Engaging lessons for all
The Learning Center is on a designated beginner’s slope, so tiny skiers and adult beginners all have a safe space to learn. Since the kids were anxious to get to their snowboarding lesson, we headed to the Children’s Program office in the back of the building, where we signed in, got them ready with their equipment, and went to the designated spot to meet their instructor. They were taking the three-hour Young Riders program for ages 7-15, with morning and afternoon sessions and an instructor-to-student ratio of 4:1. The kids were excited to start, and we left them to ski the slopes ourselves. By the time we came back to pick them up, it was amazing what we saw they were doing. We were very impressed with the lessons that they offered—Ayden was an excellent instructor, and he taught the kids everything from strapping onto a snowboard to accomplishing a C-turn by the end of their lesson. They also received a report card, which will be very helpful for our return trip since it gives their next instructor detailed information about where they left off.
Take a break
Shawnee does not allow outside food, but we were happy to find lots of different options for lunch or just a snack. In the Hope Lodge, we saw the Hope Cafeteria and seating, the Greenhouse Cafe, with grab-and-go items and coffee, and The Tavern has a full-service bar with specialty adult drinks like hot apple cider, hot coffee, tea, and hot chocolate with an extra twist. In Trepp Lodge, there is the Trepp Lodge Food Court and the Groomer’s Grill & Bar, which is a full sit-down restaurant and bar with starters, burgers, wraps, salads, sandwiches, chili, soup, dessert, and a kids menu that includes hot dogs, chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese. For more intrepid skiers and boarders, there’s the Summit Bar and Lodge at the top of the mountain, with great views, a bar, and a food menu. There is also a Square Fare food truck available outside the lodge. The Children’s programs have snack time as part of their three-hour program, and both kids said in addition to their snack, they were pleased to announce that they had “the best hot chocolate that they ever had in their life” at Shawnee.
What to know before you go
Shawnee Mountain is open from early December to March 31, 2024 (weather permitting), Monday-Wednesday from 9 AM-4 PM and Thursday-Sunday from 9 AM-9 PM; they are also open on holidays for limited hours, but always check ahead because hours are subject to change. Parking is free and close to the mountain. Everything is cashless, and if you have cash on you, they have reverse ATM kiosks that will transfer your cash (free of charge) to a Visa prepaid gift card. Shawnee uses a dynamic pricing system, which means that, like an airline, a number of discounted tickets are sold daily, and the next tier will pop up automatically when the lower price is claimed (typically, tickets bought further in advance cost less). If you purchase in advance but are concerned about choosing a date, trip insurance called a Flex Ticket is available for $25 (it only needs to be added to your cart once), which allows you to move the date or time of your reservation. Note that you will be responsible for the overage if you move to a day with higher pricing. Season passes are also available, and if you have a fourth grader from any school or state, they can get a Fourth Grade Snow Pass and receive three free ski or snowboard visits with an adult ticket, and it only costs $5 to join. College students, active military, and seniors can receive a discount; anyone 70+ can ski for free. Tickets for snow tubing and Mini Monster Mountain are separate; you do not need a lift ticket. Rentals are available for skiing and snowboarding for toddlers to adults, and there are lockers for storing items; two first aid locations are on-site, a ski and snowboard repair shop, a retail shop, babysitting, guest services, and a ski shop.
401 Hollow Rd.
East Stroudsburg, PA 18301
Become an NJMOM Insider! For all the best things to do with your family around New Jersey, be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox each week, and don’t forget to tag your photos #NJMOM and @njmom for a chance to be featured on our social media.