Travel Review: Shawnee Mountain Ski Area with Kids



Jun 30, 2024

Looking to take your young kids skiing for the first time and wondering if Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort fits the bill. It did for our family when we took our two boys, aged 3 and 5, for their first time skiing. Even though the weather wasn’t perfect, the trip was better than we could have anticipated. 

two boys and mom and dad skiing Shawnee Mountain

We started with a husband and two toddler boys who couldn’t ski and myself who grew up skiing. We came home with two boys who passed the Ski Wee program and moved to the next level, able to ski down the bunny hill and excited to go back again. And my husband, well after falling down tons, he was able to ski all the green trails! 

I, on the other hand, learned to ski backwards to help my toddlers learn how to ski and came home with cherished memories. I even got a couple hours each day to go ski on my own! A novelty as a mom of 3. 

Facts About Shawnee Mountain Ski Area

  • Size: 125 Acres to Ski
  • Trails: 23 Click for map
  • Lifts: 5
  • Terrain Parks: 2
  • Summit Elevation: 1,350 ft
  • Longest Trail: 5,100 ft
  • Snowmaking: 100% of trails
  • Nightskiing: Available on weekends, holidays

Places to Stay Near Shawnee Mountain Ski Area

Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort

I will admit I will be biased in my opinion here, but we loved staying at the Shawnee Inn on the Delaware. My husband and I got married there in 2016 and enjoyed going back to where it all started.

The Shawnee Inn is located about 6 minutes from Shawnee Mountain making it the closest lodging choice. The Shawnee Inn has been around since the late 1890s, and while it may be a bit outdated, there I said it, it is comfortable and affordable with lots of packages and amenities making it fun for everyone.

porch of the shawnee Inn and Golf Resort
The Porch my Husband and I got married on 8 years ago
One of our favorite bonuses of staying at the Shawnee Inn, other than reliving our wedding day, is visiting the Brewery onsite. The ShawneeCraft Brewery is a stone's throw from the main Inn and a perfect spot for food and drinks after a day of skiing. The Brewery serves wood-fired pizza that my kids found hilarious since all day we were talking about doing the “pizza” to stop. 

my husband and I with a beer at the brewery
A drink at the Brewery at Shawnee Inn

The Shawnee has nightly campfires where you can roast s’mores which is a big hit for the kids and the Shawnee Inn sometimes even has live music. Check their website to find out when.

Other Accommodations:

I won’t lie, I haven’t stayed at any of the other close accommodations when skiing at Shawnee. But if you go to Shawnee Mountain Ski website you can look through all lodging they partner with.

Why Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort is Great for Young Kids

Ski School

The main reason we selected the Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort is for its Ski School. I was looking for a ski area that would be the perfect spot for my two boys to learn to ski. I researched many ski schools in the Pocono area, closest to where I live, based on cost, age of child to start, length of program and bunny hill offerings.

Shawnee had a very attractive deal. If you sign up a child for ski school that child gets free rental and ski pass for the day. Although, due to their age and size they would have gotten a free lift ticket anyway, their rentals would not have been free.

two boys gruadating skiwee school program at Shawnee mountain
My boys graduated Skiwee program

The children’s program offered three different group lesson options; Skiwee, Mountain Cruisers and Young Riders. Since neither of my kids could ski Skiwee was the first right option for my kids. Also if you sign up for an afternoon class in the week you get a discount!

To enroll for Skiwee you are to be between 4-6 years old. No problem for my 5 year old, but my 3 year old I wasn’t sure. I talked to the program director and they let me enroll my 3 year old in the program as well. This was what made the day great for me!

Both my boys were in the same class, a 2 hour beginning to ski class, and my husband and I were free to ski ourselves. My 3 year old felt comfortable since his older brother was with him and the instructors were attentive, informative and seasoned. The instructors made sure of two main things; each child had waterproof gloves and high ski socks.

After the 2 hour class, which included a break for hot chocolate and cookies, both my boys graduated the Skiwee program and were told they could move on to Mountain Cruisers. I was given a report card, showing me what they mastered and could do as well as how they did overall.

5 year old boy in a ski lesson at Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort
5 Year Old during his lesson

I can honestly say, even though I am a decent skier and love my kids, I couldn’t have taught them as well on their first day. The instructors knew what they were doing and the right methods to encourage and motivate my kids.

The next day was hot for skiing, in the 60’s. Even though the conditions weren’t great, my boys still really wanted to ski. The children’s program didn’t have any other students but found an instructor to take my boys on another 2 hour lesson. 

The Magic Carpet at Shawnee Mountain

The mountain also has a magic carpet in the learning area. This was perfect for my young kids who initially were afraid of the chairlift on the bunny hill. The magic carpet took them halfway up the bunny hill to the less steep section.

kids using the magic carpet at Shawnee Mountain

My boys would happily ride the magic carpet up and ski down on their own after the first day, a real success!  The staff was friendly and helped my boys with loading and unloading each time. Even got to know their names and make jokes with them!

Terrain Park

Once your kid has gotten the skiing basics, most will want to mess around with jumps! Shawnee Mountain Ski Area has two terrain parks that add to the fun! The terrain park is on easy green ski runs and any adult or child who wants to avoid them easily can.

However, any adults that are young at heart will enjoy going off the jumps! I went off a couple and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Kids are more risk takers and more likely to want to test them out once they are comfortable on their skis. 

Food Options at Shawnee Resort

When our little ones needed a break we could easily head inside to the Hope Lodge Cafeteria. Even on our 60 degree day, when the mountain had more workers than customers the cafeteria was open with plenty of options for our kids. 

The Tavern, which is a bar, is also open daily. My husband and I didn’t partake in drinking on the Shawnee mountain during our visit, but for those interested it is located right next to Hope Lodge Cafeteria. 

Depending on the day, other options exist. Thursday to Monday Groomers Grill and Bar is open. Open on select weekends there is also a Summit Bar and Grill found on the top of a ski slope.

Downsides of Shawnee Mountain Ski Area

Size of the mountain

The main downside of the mountain is the size. It is not the largest ski mountain, which is perfectly fine for new skiers and young children. It will be a couple more years before my kids are able to tackle other parts of the mountain.

However, if you are a family with older kids that all ski well, you might want to look at other ski mountains. 

Night Ski only Thursday till Sunday

Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort only offers night skiing Thursday through Sunday 3pm to 9pm. If you plan on going during the week you might not have the option of night skiing.

This wasn’t an issue with us, because young kids don’t have the energy to ski all morning, afternoon and night. After 8 hours at the mountain my kids were ready for dinner and bed!

Food Quality

Shawnee Mountain has a cafeteria and a couple other food options, depending on which day of the week it is. The cafeteria, which is open daily, has basic food, food to serve the masses more than high quality.

For example, I got soup one day for lunch, and realized it was soup from a Campbells jar. Most of the food is not cooked onsite, but rather heated up to serve. That being said the kids all got chicken strips and fries which were yummy and went down well after skiing. So perfectly fine for the kids, but don't be expecting too much as an adult.

Other Family Activities at Shawnee

If you are at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area for multiple days you might want to take a break skiing and try something else. Below are some fun family activities you can do:

  • Snow Tubing 
  • Mini Monster Mountain: kid playing area
  • Hang out around the fire at the lodges
  • Stay at Shawnee Inn and partake in some of their family activities (campfires with S’mores, swimming, hiking, and more)

Tips for Visiting Shawnee Mountain Ski Area with Young Kids

  • Plan accommodations first
  • Book Ski School in advance and remember it comes with free rentals and ski lift ticket
  • To reduce costs buy rental and lift passes in advance
  • Arrive to the mountain early to avoid rental lines
  • Stop for lunch early to avoid main rush
  • Plan on breaking often with young kids to recharge
  • Read Skiing with Young Children for more tips on how to prepare for a ski trip with kids
  • Check out Best Snow Outfits for Toddlers for some waterproof ski outfit ideas
  • Read Teach Your Giraffe to Ski to get your child excited about skiing!

Overall, I would highly recommend Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort for any family with young kids. I think the Ski School is one of the best in the area with competitive pricing and friendly knowledgeable instructors. 

mommy and toddler on ski lift at Shanwee Mountain

The mountain is large enough for an adult to get some good ski runs done, especially when kids are at ski school! 

For more winter ideas for kids read 25 Great Outdoor Winter Activities.