Reporting Jay Lloyd
Two ski and snowboard resorts close together, but with dramatically different approaches and lifestyles. And a single ticket gets a skier and rider onto both mountains. JACK FROST is geared toward skiers but with an ample taste of terrain park action and snow blanketed glades to skim among the trees. Nearby BIG BOULDER is a network of terrain parks with all the major features from jumps to pipes. Jack Frost rocks by day, Big Boulder goes day and night. Let’s take a tour. – Jay Lloyd
Jack Frost is the classic “Upside Down” mountain. The lodge, access road and parking lot are at the summit. That means the first run doesn’t require a lift or a lift line. Just gear up, head out and aim straight down. But first, take a look at the trail map. You’ll notice that the easiest slopes and trails are on the left looking down, with connections to moderate pitch intermediate runs. As you move right across the mountain, the trails get progressively more challenging. Blue square runs in the center can be navigated by most intermediates. “One-Park,” a versatile terrain park, is located smack in mid-mountain. The rush of glade skiing beckons right alongside “Exhibition.” Two black diamond slopes, “Challenge” and “Thunderbolt,” on the right, can be handled by most advancing intermediate skiers and riders. A separate lift further to the right whisks sliders to the top of “East Mountain.” This is where advanced and expert skiers take command. The trails here are steep and challenging, with a stunning view of the Tobyhanna River. Mountain specs include 21 trails and slopes served by nine lifts on a 600 foot vertical drop.
Anyone can enjoy the thrill of coasting down a snow covered chute in a raft-like tube. Jack Frost Mountain has carved six chutes and operates a tow line to haul tubers up the hill before launching into a spinning run to the base.
EAT AND DRINK
E-2000 is the prime Jack Frost watering hole. Located on the top level of the main lodge, this active bar and lounge has panoramic views of the mountain summit with full bar service and popular brews on tap. Finger food is available. It’s a Pocono place to be for weekend entertainment. Downstairs, you’ll find a large cafeteria serving a combination of hot and cold meals, from stews and chili to burgers, hotdogs and cold sandwiches. The Cantina, situated near a warming fireplace, boasts a full bar and food service. Plus, food stands in the lodge offer up pizza by the slice, soft pretzels, fries, snacks and soft drinks.
Terrain Parks rule at Big Boulder. Bold and brash jumps, tables, rails, boxes, pipes and unique features aren’t confined to one or two slopes; they’re spread over the entire mountain, with an interconnecting trail and lift system that allows a rider to go from one to another and sample a wide variety of challenges from beginner to advanced. Mid-mountain, a rider can dip from either the “Tannenbaum Park” or “Love Park,” where you can grab some air and ride a rail before soaring into the jumps of “Central Park” in a combination of three versatile, feature-crammed parks. Big Boulder boasts seven separate snow surfer playgrounds served by seven lifts. A pair of top-to-bottom black diamond trails that can easily be handled by an advancing intermediate skier or rider provides feature-free runs. A couple of summit to base cruising trails round out the mix.
Fifteen chutes power Big Boulder’s tubing park. A pair of tow lines and a “Magic Carpet” conveyer gets sliders and tubes to the launch point. Single and multi-rider tubes are available.
EAT AND DRINK
The place to be when the boards are racked up is the T-Bar, a main lodge sippery that draws a crowd for weekend entertainment. Two cafeterias serve up a variety of eats and if the weather is just right, skiers and riders can fuel up on burgers and dogs served from outdoor grills.
Jack Frost and Big Boulder are home to a pair of professionally staffed ski schools that teach everything from beginner lessons to maneuvering the bumps for advanced skiers and riders. Both mountains have fully stocked rental shops featuring high performance skis and boards, boots and helmets.
WHAT IT COSTS
One ticket gets you access to both mountains. Hit the slopes by day at Jack Frost and by night under the lights at Big Boulder. All day adult tags are $44 midweek and $50 on weekends. Browse all the rates and packages for lifts, lessons and rentals here.
It’s simple. Take the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the Pocono exit. Turn left onto Route 940 and go to the first traffic light. Make a left for Jack Frost, a right for Big Boulder. Pay attention to your map for Big Boulder — the road winds through the Split Rock Lodge Resort and around Lake Harmony.