ALMOST anything goes when resorts court the almighty skier's dollar. At the Shawnee Mountain ski resort outside Stroudsburg in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, skiers taking mid-week lodging at the Shawnee Inn get free lift tickets good on all 20 slopes and trails; weekend lodge guests get a 33 percent discount on lift tickets.
Once nearly bankrupt, the resort has spent millions of dollars over the past several years regrading the slopes and trails, adding seven double chair lifts and lights for night skiing, and bringing in snowmaking equipment. The resort is 210 miles from Washington, about 31/2 hours by car. For more information, call 717/421-1500.
If cross-country skiing is more your style and Christmas bills are still devouring the lion's share of your disposable income, consider two of Maryland's State Parks where you ski for free.
In Garrett County near Oakland, Herrington Manor State Park maintains and grooms about six miles of cross-country trails with another 51/2 miles of brushed trails. The park's inexpensive cabins are booked for the weekends through March 7 but there are still mid-week vacancies.
On Wednesday, the park reported having a lot of wet, heavy snow and called trail conditions "poor to fair." Nonetheless, the park will hold a United States Ski Association-sanctioned "Kick and Glide Ski Race" on Saturday at 10 a.m. Call 301/334- 9180.
New Germany State Park, about 175 miles northwest of Washington and about 25 miles west of Cumberland, has nearly eight miles of maintained cross-country trails. The park also has inexpensive cabins for rent but is booked as solidly as Herrington. New Germany will also hold a U.S.S.A. race, this one on February 1 at 10 a.m. Make reservations for lodging in advance by dialing 301/895-5453.
For up-to-date camping and ski information at Maryland parks, call 301/768-0895.
Here's what ski resorts within a two-gton are reporting: BIG BOULDER, 225 miles. LAKE HARMONY, PA. 717/722-0101. All 11 slopes open with base of 24 to 30 inches topped by granular snow. Seven lifts working; slopes open until 10 p.m. nightly. Reciprocal lift tickets with Jack Frost Mountain, 6 miles away. Ski report 717/722- 0104. BLUE KNOB, 150 miles. CLAYSBURG, PA. 814/239-5111. Expects to have 10 or 11 slopes open and four to five lifts operating after getting another eight inches of fresh snow on Monday night. The base is rated at 25 to 30 inches. BRYCE MOUNTAIN, 120 miles. BASYE, VA. 703/856-2121. Four slopes and two beginners' areas open with a primary surface of granular snow topping a base of 15 to 40 inches. Two double chairs and two surface lifts working. Snow report 703/856-2151. CAMELBACK, 230 miles. TANNERSVILLE, PA. 717/629-1661. A base of 20 to 50 inches topped by granular and packed powder on 25 open trails; 11 lifts working. Snow report 800/233-8100. CANAAN VALLEY, 180 miles. DAVIS, W.VA. 304/866-4121. A dozen trails open with a base of 28 to 48 inches; packed-powder surface with three lifts working. U.S.S.A. race for juniors, seniors and masters scheduled for Sunday at 10. Eighteen miles of cross-country trails open with an average base of four to 10 inches. ELK MOUNTAIN, 260 miles. UNIONDALE, PA. 717/679-2611 or snow report 1-800/233-4131. A base of 10 to 40 inches with a primary surface of granular and secondary of packed powder on a dozen open slopes and trails. All five lifts working. Most slopes are groomed; snowmaking continues when cold enough. Ski nightly until 10. ELK RIVER TOURING, 225 miles. SLATYFORK, W.VA. 304/572-3771 A base verage of six to 16 inches on 30 kilometers of cross-country trails. An additional 15 kilometers of groomed, set track; two kilometers of lighted night trails. Received 10 to 14 inches of fresh snow on Monday and Tuesday with more expected by Friday. HIDDEN VALLEY, 191 miles. SOMERSET, PA. 814/443-6454 or 800/458- 0174. Nine slopes and two to four lifts and a rope tow operating. A base of eight to 36 inches topped by granular surface. Received almost 15 inches of new snow on Monday. Ski nightly until 11. THE HOMESTEAD, 200 miles. HOT SPRINGS, VA. 703/839-5079. A base of 10 to 45 inches on all seven open slopes topped by packed powder. All lifts in use. LAUREL MOUNTAIN, 190 miles. BOSWELL, PA. 412/238-6688. A base of 15 to 20 inches with 12 slopes being skied during the day; seven at night until 10:30 except Sundays. A rope tow and a chair lift always in service. Sunday nights, all tickets $8. Monday-Wednesday are half-price days. SEVEN SPRINGS, 190 miles. CHAMPION, PA. 814/352-7777. Received nearly 14 inches of new snow earlier this week on all 27 open slopes and trails. A base of one to three feet is topped by powder and packed powder. All 11 chairs and three rope tows working. SHAWNEE MOUNTAIN, 210 miles. SHAWNEE ON DELAWARE, PA. 717/421- 7213. A base of 15 to 45 inches with granular primary and machine-packed secondary with 18 slopes and trails being serviced by five double chairs. Slopes open until 10 p.m. nightly. Ski report, 800/233-4218. SKI LIBERTY, 65 miles. FAIRFIELD, PA. 717/642-8282. Two to four inches of new, machine-made snow on selected areas with a frozen granular topping. The secondary condition is packed powder with base of six to 36 inches on 13 trails. All five lifts working as needed. Reporting some thin spots. Ski report 800/233-1134. SKI ROUNDTOP, 121 miles. LEWISBERRY, PA. 717/432-9631. A loose granular surface tops base of 10 to 30 inches on eight open slopes and trails; four chairs and a j-bar used as needed. Thin spots reported in some areas. Snow report 800/233-1134. WHITE GRASS, 188 miles. CANAAN VALLEY, W.VA. 304/866-4114. An average of nine inches of wet powder on all 40 kilometers of cross-country trails. An additional five kilometers of groomed trails. More snow expected by weekend. 10K cross- country race scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday. WINTERGREEN, 168 miles. WINTERGREEN, VA. 800/325-2200. A base of 11/2 to four feet on all eight slopes. All five chair lifts working as snow machines groom slopes. WISP RESORT, 185 miles. OAKLAND, MD. 301/387-5503. A base of 26 to 50 inches with a packed- powder surface on all 16 open slopes being serviced by all five lifts.