SCRANTON, Pa. — Long ago, as underclassmen at Penn State Hazleton, my friend “The Videographer” and I used our college IDs for $10 lift tickets one Friday night at Montage Mountain (web site) . Recently, we made our return trip.

The lift ticket this Friday night was more than $10.

We arrived at about 5 p.m., just in time to get a full four hours out of our pass. Montage has transitioned to RFID cards like most other ski areas.

Skiing recap

Starting off from the lodge, we took the Shuttle lift up to the summit. A spectacular sunset was off to our left. We started doing laps on Easy Street, a solid little cruiser with a couple of side trails – not quite “in the trees” but fun. Given the darkness and I stayed on Easy Street, but my friend branched off a little. We also gave High Ball and Main Street some laps. My recollection is Main Street was a little steeper than the other two.

Eventually, we made over way over the top of the mountain to the blues. I think the connection at the summit is called Nordic and the name is apropos. The only major blue trail open from the top was Switch. We kept busy on that for several laps before we curious and felt ready for something more challenging.

From Switch, we transitioning onto Connection which fed into ♦Lower Runaway. At nearly twice the length of the upper mountain greens and blues, Lower Runaway was our big test of the night. Conditions were a little icy, as expected, and it was less illuminated. That added to the challenge and that’s not all on Montage. Neither of us had truly skied at night since….well, a while ago. Frankly, I didn’t have the correct lens in my googles, I had a tinted one. Nevertheless, I made it down, in spite the burn in my quadriceps. Still with a full day awaiting on Saturday we congratulated ourselves on the successful completion of the trail and jumped on the Long Haul Lift to the top.

The remainder of our four hours was a few rides on Switch and then back over to the greens. We didn’t get to take in too much of the mountain, but got to just about every part open trail rated lower than black diamond.

Mountain operations and conditions

Conditions were decent, particularly for such a difficult season. Although snow had fallen in Northeast Pennsylvania several days earlier, there wasn’t a lot left over in the surrounding area. On the trails that Montage had open, the base was solid, I don’t recall seeing any rocks or mud. The temperature was about freezing as well and snow appears to have been made the previous evening. Snowmaking commenced while we were there.

Nearing the end of January, the number of trails open is low. Some look like they a few nights of snowmaking away, others look like they are going to be abandoned until 2024. It’s the reality of warm January and rain approaching. Once February stats, the conditions for snowmaking improve dramatically. The first weekend of February should be a good skiing.


Montage Mountain is located within the city limits of Scranton near Interstate 81. The summit is nearly over 2,000 feet above sea level and there is over 1,000 feet of vertical drop. It’s part of the Moosic Mountains which are the most prominent in the Poconos, itself a portion of the glaciated Allegheny Plateau.

Unlike many Mid-Atlantic ski areas, Montage is part of a metropolitan area and at night’s it’s particularly noticeable either from the slopes or the surrounding area. Montage is visible at times from I-81 from Wilkes-Barre to Clarks Summit. The nearby Wilkes-Barre Scranton Airport is visible from the mountain.

Montage faces west northwest. The sun set off to our left.

Rentals and incidentals

  • As always, we rented off the mountain. Ski Shack Sports on Montage Mountain Road was convenient and efficient.
    • On my rental form, I list myself as a Type II skier and Ski Shack rented me some 169 Atomic Savor 3 skis. They were good shape and served me well.
    • My friend had some Nordica 158s – I don’t recall the name. He skied better than he had in years. He also rented rear-entry boots.Rental set us back $70 for two days. I would use them again.
  • Walking from the parking lot to the lodge and slopes involves LOTS OF STEPS. Probably about 50 of them between three staircases.
  • We got complimented for having folding chairs with us to boot up in the parking lot.
  • We bought our passes that the window. There wasn’t a line at the service was quick. It’s RFID there, seemingly like everywhere post-pandemic.
  • There is plenty of food and lodging near Montage and throughout the I-81 corridor between Wilkes-Barre and Clarks Summit. Since we’re commuter skiers, we stuck to fast food, so I can’t give any insight on great places to eat in and around Scraton/Wilkes-Barre.
  • It had been a long time since either of us skied at night. I was more cautious than usual.
  • The Videographer skied the better of us, so he was king of the mountain this time.

Getting there

Montage Mountain is about 225 miles away from the Capital Beltway. It’s bit of hike for a day-trip. I picked up my friend near Harrisburg and we got rooms in Clark Summit.

Rating and final thoughts

Since our plans were for a full day of skiing at Elk Mountain the next day, we were more conservative with our skiing than if it was our only day of skiing over the weekend. I’m sure we spent more time on the lower mountain black diamonds that one Friday night as college underclassmen. We should have had more Friday nights there or elsewhere in the region because it was only $10!

Since we were only there for four hours, the lack of open trails wasn’t a huge deal. Quick runs up and down all night was what we had in mind to “stretch out” for Saturday. The lifts ran well and lines were noticeable. Given the season we have had in the East, I’m rating Montage as a (blue square) on my typical green circle to double-black diamond rating system. Montage does night skiing pretty well, even if they could use a few more lights.

What would it take to be a ♦?

  • All slopes open
  • Ramps from the parking lot to the lodge
  • Better lighting
A skier looks out upon Timberline mountain on a foggy, frigid day in 2013.

Mid-Atlantic Commuter Skier Guide

My Mid-Atlantic Commuter Skier Guide is a resource for anyone looking to take a daytrip. I have compiled ski reports over the last decade from resorts throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

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