Woodloch “Unplugged” – Weathering the 2018 Blizzard

~shared by J. Ranner

If I can sum up everything I’ve learned over the past three decades of my life, it would be in two statements from two of my favorite movies:

  1. “Plan to be surprised.”Dan in Real Life
  2. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This past weekend at our resort, I think both of my life mottoes came to fruition.

If you had visited Woodloch during the President’s Week midwinter recess, you probably wouldn’t have believed it. Everyone assumed that Phil the Groundhog was wrong and that we would be getting an early springtime after all- temperatures soared as high as 73(!) degrees with lots of sunshine. Our grounds were bare of any snow (save for our man-made tube runs), the lake was just about thawed and everyone had a little bit of spring fever.


Winter isn’t over after all. March came in like a lion with Winter Storm Riley, featuring heavy rain on March 1st that transitioned into snow. Over the course of 24 hours, Woodloch was covered in about 20 inches of wet heavy snow. Coupled with sustained winds of 30 miles per hour gusting up to 60 mph, it was a recipe for a power outage. Which (surprise) happened just as our first March weekend guests were set to arrive.

Trying to stay ahead of the storm, efforts were made Thursday to either encourage early arrivals while dozens of our guests had to cancel. Needless to say, we still had approximately 400 guests weather the storm with limited electricity and running water. They were here to have a good time and by-golly, we were going to give them one. Even if it had to be a little “unplugged.” With a little optimism (“the light”) great things are possible!

Thankfully, Woodloch has emergency generators that switch on in the event of power failures. Emergency lighting, water and even our North Lodge stage and Nightclub can operate in some capacity. While we were able to do our famous Winter Olympics, Cake Wars and even some Name That Tune and Movie Game, amenities like Bumper Cars, our Indoor Pools and game rooms were unavailable.

Our guests kept their smiles as they still enjoyed archery, skating, snow tubing (there was no shortage of powder, to be sure), indoor Forest Playground (courtesy of flood lights, maybe even adding to the “jungle ambiance”) and all sorts of trivia. Proving the fact that we don’t need technology or even electricity to have a good time- often, we just need each other.

The hardworking folks at Pennsylvania Power & Light (PPL) sprung into action and restored power to our resort at approximately 5:30 Saturday evening- roughly 36 hours without power. As the adage goes, “the show went on” as our Broadway style Theme Show took the stage as usual.

At the end of the day (and as we still continue to dig ourselves out of this) we are reminded of how fortunate we are. Between all of the relief workers braving the elements to restore energy, PENN DOT and emergency personnel keeping everyone safe and our own staff for making it to work (many even staying over), we consider ourselves very fortunate to have what we have. Without the teamwork (and our guests that had faith in us), the weekend could have been a mess instead of something that we’ll smile back on when strolling down memory lane.

Check out some of the photos from the weekend below!

“My daughter and I were there during the outage. We were supposed to leave Friday but stayed until Saturday due to the storm. I just wanted to say you guys were amazing. Even though things were limited, the show still went on and we still had an amazing dinner and lots of fun. I was so impressed at how well you held it together and made it so enjoyable considering the circumstances. This was our first time and we will be coming back with family!!”

Stefsrosie420, Instagram

“If I could choose a place to be stranded, it would be Woodloch.”

Jay Mickenberg, Facebook user

“Thank you for all you did to try to make a bad situation better. So appreciative for the staff that were concerned about our friends who were stranded on I-84 and Route 6. We are all home safely. Great job Woodloch Pines! Sorry we didn’t have the weekend we hoped for, but you are an amazing staff.”

Susan Soldano, Facebook user

“It made the weekend an adventure! The entire staff was great and very accommodating. We own a four seasons and with no power/heat we were welcomed at the resort with open arms! My son said it was probably the best time he ever had at Woodloch!”

Jacqueline Traina McCabe, Facebook user