Learning the ins and outs of a large ski resort, especially when it’s your first visit, can be overwhelming. But, if you do your research, it’s a breeze. From where to eat to when to hit the slopes, here’s my first timer’s guide to Seven Springs Ski Resort: what you need to know.
I’m super lucky in the fact that Seven Springs Mountain Resort is under two hours from my home. Not only is it accessible, it’s a cool place to visit with my husband and our teen daughter. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few times, but for Mr. Locke, our last visit was his first. So, as his tour guide for the weekend, I thought why not cover the bases for everyone else that will be experiencing skiing at the resort for the first time. Here’s the scoop on how to have fun at Seven Springs whether you’re and advanced skier or a newbie.
First Timer’s Guide to Seven Springs: An Overview
Seven Springs Mountain Resort (that’s its official title, but locals love to just call it Seven Springs) is just around an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, PA, in the Laurel Highlands area of the state. Apart from about a 15-20 minute drive on local roads, it’s highway/turnpike all the way from Eastern Ohio. If you’re coming in from Pittsburgh International Airport, you’re looking at about 90 minutes to two hours depending on traffic.
When it comes to Seven Springs ski and snowboard offerings, it has 33 slopes and trails. There’s also seven Terrain Parks and 10 ski lifts to get you to the top of the mountain peaks. If you want to work on your carving skills, there’s also a NASTAR Course with 12-14 giant slalom gates. It’s on moderate terrain so beginners can enjoy just as much as more experiences skiers.
New for 2019, 17 snowguns were added to the Avalanche Slope with three additional snowmaking stations at the Tyrol Slope. Translation? There’s snow even when it’s not made by Mother Nature.
How long is Seven Springs Mountain Resort open each year? Think roughly around Thanksgiving through late March/Early April. Of course, each is based on snowfall, so it may be earlier or later. As for its hours, it’s 9am to 9 or 10pm, depending on the day of the week:
- Monday – Thursday: 9am to 9pm
- Friday-Sunday: 9am to 10pm
- Holidays: Lifts close at 10pm
First Timer’s Guide to Seven Springs – Resort Areas
The Resort is divided into roughly four areas: Hotel, Main Lodge, Convention Center, and Ski Lodge:
- Hotel: Seven Springs on-property hotel. please see below for more details on lodging.
- Main Lodge: This is where you’ll find indoor activities, plenty of dining, shopping, and Trillium Salon. Trillium Spa is located just outside in its own building.
- Convention Center: used for, well, conventions.
- Ski Lodge: The beehive of the Resort. You’ll find dining, equipment rentals, lockers, and shopping here.
First Timer’s Guide to Seven Springs: Lift Tickets
In general, there are three types of lift tickets at Seven Springs: All Day, Twilight, and Night. Here’s how each works:
- All Day: Tickets are good from open to close.
- Twilight: If you’re not worried about getting those first tracks in, then you may want to choose a Twilight ticket. It’s good from 1pm to close.
- Night: 4pm to close
In a nutshell, the less time available on the ski lifts, the less expensive the tickets. Also, the slopes start to clear out around dinner time, so if you want more room on the slopes, consider it.
First Timer’s Guide to Seven Springs: Rentals
It’s absolutely cool if you don’t own your own ski or snowboard equipment; neither do we. So, when we visit Seven Springs, rental equipment is definitely the way to go. Through the week, you can rent by the day, but on the weekends special rental pricing is offered. As always, you’ll want to stay safe on the slopes, so helmet rental is encouraged. Yes, it’s an additional cost, but it’s worth it to stay safe. You’ll need to head to the Ski Lodge (separate from the Main Lodge) to rent your equipment.
Renting Tip: Especially on weekends, make sure you arrive early enough to have plenty of time to be fitted for your rental equipment. Even on slower days, you’re looking at 30 minutes or more for a complete fitting from boots to skis/snowboard to poles and helmets.
First Timer’s Guide to Seven Springs: Lodging
You’ve got three on-property options for lodging at Seven Springs. Depending on how many is in your traveling party, there’s everything from single rooms to chalets.
- Main Lodge: Called the Slopeside Hotel, it’s ideal for couples and single families. Of course, it does offer adjoining rooms so that’s an option as well for larger families. During our visit, we stayed in the Tower section and had a gorgeous view of the Tyrol Slope. I also dig the fact that you can walk everywhere in the Lodge area without having to put on a heavy coat. Each section connects to the next. The Lodge is also where you’ll find indoor activities and plenty of dining (see below for more information). Seven Springs offers packages that include a breakfast buffet at Slopeside Restaurant, too. There’s more on Slopeside below.
- Townhomes/Condos: Some offer ski in/ski out privileges which is awesome for folks that want to hit the slopes anytime during their stay. Each townhome and condo has a maximum number of guests and may be rented by the night/week/month.
- Cottages/Chalets: The largest of the lodging options at Seven Springs, each is fully equipped for making meals. There’s also complimentary wifi, parking and shuttle service, too. If you’re looking for privacy, this option is your best bet.
I know many wonder if pets are allowed and the answer is yes, but in special sections of the hotel.
First Timer’s Guide to Seven Springs: Tubing
Maybe you want to take some time away from the slopes when you visit. Or maybe you want the rush of flying down a hill without skis or a snowboard. That’s where Seven Springs Tubing Park is ideal. It offers 11 snow tubing lanes and a magic carpet ride back up the hill.
Each ticket is good for a two-hour session per person, and I definitely recommend locking down a specific time in advance, especially on weekends/holidays. Monday – Friday, the tubing park opens at 1pm. On weekends and holidays it’s at 9am.
If you’re looking for a really good deal, on Tuesday nights it’s Tube-A-Palooza. From 6-10pm there’s plenty of tubing, but you’ll also get an all-you-can-eat buffet of pizza, hot dogs, fountain drinks and hot chocolate with your paid admission.
Guide to Seven Springs: Snowsports School
I have to mention that Seven Springs has nine levels of ski expertise. If I had to qualify myself and my family, we’re about fives or sixes. So, that means we definitely have room for improvement.
That’s where Seven Springs Snowsports School comes in super handy. We took a family lesson one morning during our visit and our instructor really helped us to hone in on our ski skills. Before we even began, we were separated into skiers that has been up a lift or not. From there, our instructor asked us what we could do and what we needed improvement on. Before you know it, we were heading up the lift and headed back down the slopes.
During our time, she ran through things like carving and “doing garlands”, proper ski etiquette, and tips on how to stop properly and safely. Honestly, I’m elated that we had the change to bruch up on our ski skills and felt the lesson made us much more relaxed while skiing.
Guide to Seven Springs: Indoor Activities
At The Lodge, you’ll find plenty of indoor activities to keep the kids happy. apart from the indoor pool, there’s an additional charge for each.
- Bowling – $9.50 per person. Hours vary, so double check before you go.
- Miniature Golf – $6 per person. Hours vary, so double check at the Front Desk.
- Bear Trap Fun Zone & Game Room – Open 9am to 10pm each day. It offers 60+ games including our favorite, Skee Ball.
- Yoga – Mondays from 5:30 – 6:45pm
- Roller Skating – Open daily from 12-10pm. $10 per person and includes skate rental. If you have your own, it’s $7.50.
- Indoor Pool. During summer/warmer weather, the outdoor pool is adjacent to the indoor pool.
- Trillium Spa – Ideal for folks that want to relax.
While we spent most of our time on the slopes, we did have a chance to check out the indoor activities. The bowling alley is small but still fun, and the miniature golf course is absolutely adorable.
Guide to Seven Springs: Where to Eat
There are plenty of dining options (at least 12) at Seven Springs. Whether you want a quick bite to eat as you’re heading to the slopes or want to dress up and head to dinner, it’s got you covered. During our stay, we dined mainly at Slopeside with a few counter service-style restaurants thrown in. Her are my choices:
Pizza Place – Ideal for lunch or dinner with the kids. Each pizza is freshly made (I like the Margherita) and is New York style. On our first night of our visit, it’s where we dined for dinner. Honestly, it’s very affordable, offers pizza and sandwiches, and is in the Lodge portion of the resort.
Slopeside – Slopeside restaurant is definitely my go-to spot to dine at Seven Springs. We had a package that included its breakfast buffet and it was amazing. Seriously, amazing. An in-house chef made custom omelettes, and every item from pastries to breakfast meat was perfectly cooked. Add in the fact that there’s a great view of Tyrol Slope and lift and it’s great for families and couples.
Slopeside also has a really good dinner menu with a buffet option. My teen daughter loved the fried tofu dish, but I was all about the buffet – again. Perfectly cooked meat, fish, and poultry, homemade side dishes, and a dessert table that would make any restaurant envious. Just sayin’.
Guide to Seven Springs: Weather
As with any Mid-Atlantic state (although, it’s pretty close to Ohio in the Midwest!), you’ll can expect to experience everything from single digit temperatures to 50’s and 60’s during any given season. When we visited in Late January, we experienced a really warm weekend (it was in the 50’s all weekend) so you’ll need to be prepared for every type of weather. We had a teeny bit of snow on our first day, rain, sun, fog, you name it.
Tip: At the Ski Lodge, you’ll find plenty of rental lockers to store your stuff. They come in very handy, but make sure you purchase some spare tokens so you’re not hunting for token machines at the last minute.