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WinterFun – Skating, Snow Tubing, Snowshoeing, and More!

by Janet Jonus Photo

Now that winter is really here, with snow on the ground and cold temperatures, it is time to play in the snow. The Pittsburgh area offers plenty of WinterFun for the entire family. There is outdoor ice skating, snow tubing, skiing and snowboarding, and cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

photo by Pixabay

Outdoor Ice Skating

There is nothing like outdoor ice skating. Skating outside harkens back to the time and place when ice skating was done on a frozen pond.

(The Pittsburgh Area has many indoor rinks. Look for an article on FamilyFunPittsburgh soon.)

1. The Mass Mutual Ice Rink at PPG Place

The MassMutual Outdoor Ice Rink at PPG Place is in the heart of Downtown, at PPG Place. (The big glass building that looks like a castle.) The Ice Rink is a popular place to skate. It is high on ambience as it is in the middle of PPG Place, near Market Square. The rink is large, 2/3rds the size of an NHL rink, with plenty of space to skate. There is a clear barrier at the edge of the rink for safety. Skating on the rink is in the classic counter-clockwise direction.

The Rink at PPG Place is open daily through March 3rd (weather permitting). Hours on Mondays through Thursdays are 1100AM through 300PM and 600PM through 1000PM. The Rink hours on Fridays and Saturdays are 1100AM through midnight. Sunday hours are 1100AM through 1000PM. Special hours on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents Day are 1100AM through 1000PM.

The Rink also hosts Special Event Skates. Come out to the Superhero Skate on February 9th from 200-400PM. Dress as your favorite superhero. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Valentine’s Day Skate February 14th from 700-900PM.

Admission is $10.00 for adults 13-49 and $9.00 for children through age 12, seniors 50 and over, and military (with ID). You can get a Monday through Friday Lunchtime monthly pass for $25.00 valid 1100AM -300PM. Tuesday nights are Family Nights with one FREE child admission for every full adult admission. Wednesday nights are Student Nights. Students with a valid ID (or report card) skate for $3.00.

The Rink at PPG has over 700 pairs of skates for rent from sizes 9 Junior through adult 13. Skate rental is $4.00. You can also bring your own skates. The rink offers skating lessons and skate sharpening for $5.00. You can also have a party at the Rink. Party packages start at $16.00 per person.

The MassMutual Rink at PPG Place is located at 1 PPG Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15272  /412-394-3641 /   http://www.ppgplace.com/directory/the-rink/ Parking is at the PPG Parking Garage or anywhere downtown. Port Authority has numerous bus routes in the area. The Gateway Center T station is the closest station to PPG Place.

2. The Schenley Park Rink

The Ice Skating Rink in Schenley Park is a favorite with Pittsburgh families. With easy access from the city, east, and south, the Schenley Rink is a great place to spend an afternoon skating. The full-size rink has standard board barriers for skater safety.

The Rink is open daily for open skating. Hours on Mondays are 430-630PM, Tuesdays 700-900PM,. Wednesdays 130-330PM and 515-645PM, Thursdays 130-330PM and 630-900PM (this is a Family Skate time), Friday 130-330PM and 600-900PM, and Saturdays and Sundays 130-330PM, 400-630PM, 700-900PM. Family Skate Night is Thursdays from 630-900PM when one child skates free with each paying adult. There is an additional session on January 21st from 130-330PM. The Rink accepts credit cards, Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Admission to the Schenley Rink is $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for seniors and military (with ID), and $3 for youth 17 and under.

The Rink has skates for rent for $3.00. Skate sharpening is available for $5.00.

The Schenley Rink has a Learn to Skate program for kids 5 and up. There are no session sign ups right now but check their website for more information. Lessons are Wednesdays and Fridays from 400-500PM. Sign-ups are in person only and must be paid by checks.

The Schenley Rink is located at 10341 Overlook Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15213 / 412-422-6523  / http://pittsburghpa.gov/schenley/rink

3. North Park Ice Rink

North Park has a full-size Ice Rink with an indoor building for non-skaters to watch from. There is ample free parking and a snack bar. The Rink can get crowded on Friday nights and weekends with waiting times to get in.

The Ice Rink is open for public skates on Tuesdays from 730-900PM, Wednesdays 900-1100AM and 430-600PM, Thursdays 730-900PM, Fridays 900-1100AM, 400-700PM, and 730-900PM, Saturdays 1200-400PM, 430-700PM, 730-930PM, and Sundays 1200-400PM, 430-700PM, 730-900PM. The Rink is closed Mondays. The Rink is open on January 21st and February 18th from 1200-500PM.

Admission per session for Allegheny County residents is $5.00 for adults 18—59 and $3.00 for kids (0-17) and seniors (60+). Admission for non-residents is $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children and seniors. Winter Fun Wednesdays are from 430-600PM. Allegheny County families pay $10.00 per family (2 adults and up to 4 kids), non-residents pay $13.00 per family. Season passes are available.

The Rink has skate rentals. The fee is $2.00 for residents and $3.00 for non-residents. Skate sharpening costs $4.50 for residents and $6.00 for non-residents. (Skate sharpening may not be available at all times.) Parking is free.

Skating lessons are available too but most sessions have already started.

The North Park Ice Rink is located at 1011 Pearce Mill Road, Allison Park PA 15101 / 724- 935-1280 / http://www.county.allegheny.pa.us/parks/activities/winter-sports/ice-skating---hockey.aspx

4. South Park Ice Rink and Skating Trail

South Park has a full-size Ice Rink and a Skating Trail. The Ice Rink has traditional skating for all ages and levels. The Skating Trail is a 230 foot long oblong ice trail through the woods near the rink. The ice trail weaves in and out of trees and bushes providing a unique skating experience. The South Park Rink has an indoor building for non-skaters to watch from. There is ample free parking and a snack bar. The Rink can get crowded on Friday nights and weekends with waiting times to get in.

The Ice Rink and Skate Trail are open for public skates on Wednesdays 900-1100AM and 730-900PM (public skate and stick time, skaters can practice basic hockey skills), Thursdays 730-930PM, Fridays 900-1100AM, 400-700PM, and 730-900PM, Saturdays 1200-400PM, 430-700PM, 730-900PM, and Sundays 1200-400PM, 430-700PM, 730-900PM. The Rink is closed Mondays. The Rink is open on January 21st and February 18th from 1200-500PM. The Skate Trail has additional hours. The Skate Trail is open Tuesdays 730-900PM and Wednesdays 430-600PM.

Admission per session for Allegheny County residents is $5.00 for adults 18—59 and $3.00 for kids (0-17) and seniors (60+). Admission for non-residents is $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children and seniors. Winter Fun Wednesdays are from 430-600PM. Allegheny County families pay $10.00 per family (2 adults and up to 4 kids), non-residents pay $13.00 per family. Season passes are available.

The Rink has skate rentals. The fee is $2.00 for residents and $3.00 for non-residents. Skate sharpening costs $4.50 for residents and $6.00 for non-residents. (Skate sharpening may not be available at all times.) Parking is free.

Skating lessons are available too but most sessions have already started.

The South Park Ice Rink and Skate Trail are is located at 30 Corrigan Drive, Bethel Park PA 15102 / 412-833-1499 / http://www.county.allegheny.pa.us/parks/activities/winter-sports/ice-skating---hockey.aspx

from Pixabay

Snow Tubing

Snow Tubing is a FamilyFun activity. Almost all ages can enjoy snow tubing; it doesn’t require any special skills. Snow tube parks have lifts so you don’t have to hike back up to the top.

Snow tubing is recommended for kids at least 42” tall. Every snow tubing venue has their own restrictions.  Most venues require parents to participate with smaller and younger kids. You will get wet and snowy while snow tubing so dress appropriately. (Ski pants, coats, hats, and gloves. Snow boots are recommended. Ski boots are prohibited.)

5. Boyce Park

The only Snow Tubing in Allegheny County and the closest snow tubing to the city is at Boyce Park. Boyce Park’s smaller ski, snowboard, and tubing area is less intimidating for “newbies” than the bigger ski areas in the Laurel Highlands. It is also close enough to head out for a few hours in the evening.

Boyce Park’s snow tubing features a snow tubing hill and a lift. Kids must be at least 42 inches tall to tube. Kids between 42 and 50 inches tall have to tube attached to an adult tube. (Don’t worry, they have the attachments and will help you.) ALL kids under the age of 10 must be with an adult. Sessions last for two hours, and participants are limited to 200 for any session.

Boyce Park’s Snow tubing is open on Fridays through Sundays plus on holidays. Friday sessions are 430-630PM and 700-900PM. Saturday, Sunday, and President’s Day sessions are 930-1130AM, 1200-200PM, 230-430PM, 500-700PM, and 730-930PM. Sessions can sell out and get crowded, especially on weekend days. You can buy tickets online before you head out. Session rates for Allegheny County residents are $17.00 for 13+ and $13.00 for 12 and younger. Session rates for non-Allegheny County residents are $21.00 for 13+ and $16.00 for 12 and younger.

Boyce Park also has a snack bar and locker rentals in the lodge. Lockers are coin operated and $0.25 per locker. Lost keys are $5.00 for Residents and $6.00 for Non-Residents.

Boyce Park has to have snow to open. Since it is so close to the city, Boyce gets about the same amount of natural snow as Pittsburgh does. To check on snow conditions, call their automated line at 724-733-4665.

Boyce Park requires a signed waiver for snow tubing. Waivers can be found here: https://alleghenycounty.us/parks/activities/winter-sports/snow-tubing.aspx

Boyce Park is located at  901 Centerview Drive, Plum PA 15239 / General Information 724-733-4656 / https://alleghenycounty.us/parks/activities/winter-sports/snow-tubing.aspx

The Laurel Highlands have three major snow resorts – Hidden Valley, Seven Springs, and Nemacolin Woodlands. All three have the major winter sports – skiing and snowboarding and they all have snow tubing

6. Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley has a lot to offer Pittsburghers who make the drive up to the Laurel Highlands. Hidden Valley is smaller than Seven Springs but still is a major ski area. In addition to the winter sports, Hidden Valley has an Inn with hotel rooms and suites, a spa, and dining.

The snow tubing hill has plenty of room with multiple chutes for tubing plus a lift so you do not have to walk up again. Kids have to be at least 4 years old to tube. Kids 4-9 have to have adult supervision. Ski boots are not allowed. Everyone must ride in their own tube. A limited number of tickets are available for each session. There are no advance reservations.

Thursday night is Tube-A-Palooza from 600-900PM. For $25 per person, you get three hours of tubing, all –you-can-eat pizza, hot dogs, soft drinks, and hot chocolate. If you don’t want the all-you-can-eat buffet, you can tube on Thursday nights for $21 for adults 12+ and $19 for kids 4-11.

There is another three hour tubing session on Friday nights from 600-900PM. The cost is $21.00 for 12+ and $19.00 for kids 4-11.

Tubing sessions on Saturdays are only two hours long. The sessions are 1000AM-1200PM, 1200-200PM, 200-400PM, 500-700PM, and 700-900PM. The 1000AM session costs $19.00 for adults and kids. All other two-hour session costs $16.00 per adult 12+ and $23.00 for kids 4-11.

Sunday tubing sessions are 1000AM-1200PM, 200-400PM, and 400-600PM. The 1000AM session costs $19.00 for adults and kids. All other two-hour session costs $16.00 per adult 12+ and $23.00 for kids 4-11.

It is always best to check the snow before you go. http://www.hiddenvalleyresort.com/snow-report/

Hidden Valley is about an hour and a half from Pittsburgh. The address is 1 Craighead Drive, Somerset PA 15501 / 814-443-8000 / http://www.hiddenvalleyresort.com/

7. Seven Springs

Seven Springs is a large resort with many amenities. Seven Springs has 33 slopes and trails for skiing and snowboarding and terrain parks, a large lodge and hotel, an indoor pool, bowling, arcade, indoor mini golf, hot tubs, a spa, numerous dining options, and more.

Seven Springs has a large Snow Tubing hill near the Lodge. The hill has multiple chutes and a Magic Carpet system to whisk you and your tube back up the hill. Snow tubing is for children 4 and up. Children 4-9 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Everyone must ride in their own tube.

Seven Springs has Snow Tubing daily. Sessions Mondays through Fridays are 100-300PM, 300-500PM, 600-800PM, and 800-1000PM. Sessions on Saturdays and Holidays are 900-1100AM, 1100AM-100PM, 100-300PM, 300-500PM, 600-800PM, and 800-1000PM. Sessions on Sundays are  900-1100AM, 1100AM-100PM, 100-300PM, 300-500PM, and 600-800PM.

Session admission Monday through Thursday and Friday through 500PM is $23 for everyone 12 and older and $20 for children 4-11. Admission on Friday after 500PM and Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays is $32 for everyone 12+ and $26 for children 4-11. The 900-1100AM session Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays is discounted. Admission for this session is $25 for 12+ and $22 for children 4-11.

Tuesday nights are Tube-A-Palooza. For $25 tubers four and up can enjoy four hours of tubing and an all-you-can-eat pizza and hot dog bar plus soft drinks and hot chocolate. Tube-A-Palooza is from 600-1000PM every Tuesday starting on January 8th.

You do not need any special equipment for snow tubing but ski boots are prohibited. You can rent snow boots at the Lodge. Snow pants, coats, hats, and gloves are recommended for snow tubing.

Seven Springs is located in the Laurel Highlands. It is about 1½ hours from Pittsburgh. Parking is free but you can upgrade to Preferred Parking for $20 on weekends and holidays.

Seven Springs is located 777 Waterwheel Drive, Seven Springs PA 15662 / 866-437-1300 / https://www.7springs.com/

8. Nemacolin Woodlands

Nemacolin Woodlands has an 800 foot snow tubing hill and a lift for snow tubing fun. The hill has multiple chutes and plenty of space for tubing. Children must 33 inches tall to tube. Children between 33 inches and 41 inches must ride with an adult in a double tube. Ski boots are prohibited (wear regular snow boots instead).

Tubing sessions are two hours long and cost $20 per person per session. Nemacolin Woodlands is open Fridays through Sundays and on Holidays.

Nemacolin Woodlands is located off of Rt. 40, south on Uniontown. The Resort has luxury accommodations, fine dining, and activities for the entire family. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is located at 1001 Lafayette Drive, Farmington PA 15437 / 866-344-6957  / https://www.nemacolin.com/activities/snowsports/activities

by Pixabay

Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing, and more!

If you own your equipment, you can go snowshoeing or cross country skiing anywhere there is snow. Snowshoeing lends itself to exploring. Head up into the woods and away from the crowds in your favorite park. Explore hiking trails. Go anywhere you want. Cross Country Skiing can be done wherever the terrain is good. Many walking trails do not clear the snow making them the perfect, relatively flat place for cross country skiing. Cross country skiing is also popular on the Allegheny Parks Golf Courses.

If you want to learn snowshoeing or cross country skiing, there are places that have the equipment and the experts.

9. Allegheny County Parks

The Allegheny County Parks system offers snowboarding lessons and hikes throughout the winter season. Sessions include snowshoes and a guide. The sessions occur at various County Parks throughout the winter season. For listings and more information, see the FamilyFunPittsburgh Calendar here: http://familyfunpittsburgh.com/events/

10. Nemacolin Woodlands

Nemacolin Woodlands is a “Four-Season” Resort located on Rt 40 south of Uniontown. They have Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding at Mystic Mountain. Mystic Mountain also has a snow tubing area. Nemacolin also offers Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Dog Sledding.

Nemacolin has had Cross Country Skiing at the resort since the 1970’s. There are extensive trails through the Resort property. Rentals are $20 for skis, boots, and poles. There are lessons available for beginners and intermediate skiers.

Snowshoeing is a winter sport the whole family can enjoy. Snowshoes let the user “float” over the snow by distributing the person’s weight over a larger area. Snowshoeing is a simple as walking. The showshoes are strapped to regular snow boots. Nemacolin Woodlands has numerous trails for snowshoeing including some trails with beautiful views of the Laurel Highlands. Rent snowshoes at the Sundial Lodge for $20 per person.

Nemacolin has a team of sled dogs that can take the whole family out for a ride. Guests get a half hour tour of the dog kennels and learn about the dog team and dog sledding and a ½ hour ride on a dog sled. The cost is $150 for the first person plus $25 for an additional rider. Total weight for the riders is 275 pounds.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is located at 1001 Lafayette Drive, Farmington PA 15437 / 866-344-6957  / https://www.nemacolin.com/activities/snowsports/activities

11. Seven Springs

Seven Springs offers guided snowshoeing tours daily as long as there is 5-6 inches of natural snow. Tours on Mondays through Wednesdays are at 1000AM and 1200PM. Tours on Thursdays through Sundays are at 1100AM, 100PM, and 300PM. Tours cost $30 per person and include rental equipment. Tours are $20 per person with your own equipment.

Private snowshoe tours are available too. The fee is $40 per person with a four person minimum with rental equipment included. The fee is $30 per person if you have your own equipment.

While Seven Springs has a lot of hiking trails, including outside trails that transit the property, snowshoeing is only permitted as part of a guided tour. (FamilyFunMom spent many years snowshoeing through Seven Springs many hiking trails and is sad to see this is no longer allowed.) Snow boots and winter sports clothing is recommended for snowshoeing. Reservations are required for tours. Call (800) 452-2223, ext. 7899.

Seven Springs also has Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides and Snowmobile Tours.

Seven Springs is located in the Laurel Highlands. It is about 1½ hours from Pittsburgh. Parking is free but you can upgrade to Preferred Parking for $20. On Saturdays and Sundays, day skiers should enter through the North Gate. Lift tickets are available at the entrance gate so you do not have to stand in line in the Lodge. Non-skiers and hotel guests should enter through the Main Gate. Mondays through Fridays everyone should enter through the Main Gate.

Seven Springs is located 777 Waterwheel Drive, Seven Springs PA 15662 / 866-437-1300 / https://www.7springs.com/

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