Hidden Gems of PA: RoundTop Mountain

Gregg Frantz |
“Gunbarrel” RoundTop Mountain Photo: Gregg Frantz

RoundTop Mountain is located in Central PA and is less than thirty minutes south of Harrisburg and about two hours west of Philadelphia.   RoundTop is a family-oriented resort and offers trails geared toward more beginner to intermediate skiers/boarders.  They offer expert trails that do provide steep drops but are also short in overall length, which is fairly common for Central PA skiing.  One of their trails is named “Minute Man” because you could literally ski/board down it in one minute!

Quick Facts and History:

Roundtop is the closest winter resort to Harrisburg, PA, and it provides a quick ski/board getaway for locals wanting to satisfy their snow appetite without making that long trip.  The mountain first opened its doors in 1964 with one chairlift, one rope tow, and 4 trails.  It now offers 21 trails ranging from beginner to expert and has 5 chairlifts up the mountain.

  • Vertical – 600′
  • Trails – 21
  • Lifts – 5 chairs, 3 carpets (including tubing), 1 j-bar
  • Snowmaking – 100%
  • Uphill Capacity – 11,000
  • Top Elevation – 1,335′
RoundTop Mountain

The day I visited RoundTop Mountain, a storm system was pushing through the area and what began as fresh snow falling quickly turned to freezing rain and sleet.  The overall conditions on the mountain held up fairly well, and we were still able to ski well into the evening.   However, visibility became an issue when the ice started accumulating on my goggles as I made my way down the mountain, and it made it really difficult to see clearly.

There were some patches where a thin layer of ice began to form on top of the snow in areas not used as much, which made it a little challenging.  It was a day where it was just safer to stay in bounds and hit trails that were more heavily used.  The freezing rain and sleet also started accumulating on my helmet, jacket, and ski pants, forcing me to make frequent trips into the lodge to de-ice.

The constant changing conditions on the mountain reminded me why so many professional skiers come to the northeast part of the U.S. to train.  Every trip down the mountain seemed to be a new experience regarding trail conditions, visibility, and the dropping temperatures.  It made it difficult and challenging, but also made every run down the mountain fun and exciting!  The maintenance and ground teams should be given credit for keeping the mountain in fairly good condition while also keeping it safe for all skiers and riders on the mountain that day.

One trail that I really enjoyed skiing down was named “Layfayette’s Leap,” which was an expert trail and offered some small moguls to navigate as you started down the mountain.  After the mogul field, it quickly dropped down into some small but quick turns and gave you the option of hitting other trails as you made your way down to the mountain.

“Lafayette’s Leap” Trail, RoundTop Mountain Photo: Gregg Frantz

RoundTop’s signature trail, “Gunbarrel,” is a double diamond slope and offers a very steep vertical at the start and descends into a very fast and fun run.  Locals told me that the trail is not always open due to weather conditions, so I really appreciated having the opportunity to check it out!  I was also told by locals but could not confirm that the top of “Gunbarrel” is one of the steepest headwalls in Pennsylvania at 50 degrees!  That’s pretty impressive for any mountain, and I had the opportunity to drop in on “Gunbarrel,” and it was a lot of fun!

“Gunbarrel” RounTop Mountain Photo: Gregg Frantz

Overall, I would recommend visiting RoundTop Mountain to anyone wanting to check out a neat little resort in Central PA.  It provides a great atmosphere for beginners and intermediate skiers/boarders to learn in a safe environment and has just enough vertical and speed to satisfy those who want to get that quick adrenaline rush!

For more information on RoundTop Mountain, check out their website at https://www.skiroundtop.com/.

RoundTop Mountain Trail Map

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