PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Presidents Weekend on skis, boards and tubes is the last long mountain weekend of winter. It can be split up into day trips or a 4 night destination weekend on the slopes, within 2 hours of home. Here’s what and where.
Don’t want to commit the budget to lodging and 3 meals a day? Day trip to a trio of mountains close enough to spend more time on the slopes and tubing parks and less in the car. The criteria is under 1-1/2 hours for most area sliders. Just watch the weather forecasts and the mountain condition reports. Then pick your day or days.
This familiar central Montgomery County ski area can be reached by most area snow sports boosters in under an hour. For me it’s 12 minutes. It’s a small, full service and very skiable mountain that includes a terrain park and snow tubing runs. It’s most enjoyed by skiers and riders from beginner through advanced intermediates. You’ll find a fully stocked rental shop, active ski school, table service bar and eatery, fast food cafeteria and an outdoor fire pit.
Set in the rolling hills of nearby Berks County, Bear Creek offers an enjoyable family friendly mountain for day tripping, but also hold a rustically designed, modern lodge for overnighting. It’s accented by a range of eateries and bars along with ski school and rental shop. The Mountain features 19 trails that include a learning slope, 3 terrain parks and snow tubing. Get to the launching point on 4 chair lifts, a Magic Carpet for beginners and a tubing lift. A highlight is the “Grille” where parents can dine by candlelight while watching the offspring run the mountain under night lights.
Within an hour of our northern suburbs, Blue Mountain, in Pennsylvania terms, is big. It holds 38 slopes that encourage new skiers and riders to advance while providing double black diamond challenge for advanced sliders. The mountain which touches the Appalachian Trail is a gem. You’ll discover versatile terrain parks, Seven chair lifts including a high speed quad and an array of conveyors, snow tubing, ski school, rental shop and a variety of bars and eateries that make Blue Mountain a totally enjoyable resort.
PENNSYLVANIA DESTINATION RESORTS
There’s nothing like a winter getaway with mountain vistas, mountainside lodging and an outdoor snow sport vibe. If it’s within two hours of home for most suburbanites and many city dwellers, that’s the bonus. Here’s a duo that meets the criteria in the nearby Pocono Mountains.
Jack Frost in the western Poconos is a “Upside-Down Mountain” with “Ski-In, Ski-Out” lodging. “What’s that?”, you say. Simple. The ski lodge and parking are at the summit, so you don’t need to ride a lift for that first run. The lodging is closer to the base and many of the rental condo homes allow you easy access to the slopes for just a short run on skis or boards to the lifts. Frost is a daytime mountain holding 20 slopes and trails serviced by 9 lifts. It’s an easy mountain to navigate. Looking down, the learning slopes and easiest trails are on the left and the difficulty level expands progressively as you move across to the right. When you get to the “East Mountain” you’re in expert territory. Jack Frost has a versatile terrain park and a snow tubing center, rental shop and ski school which was a trailblazer in “Adaptive Skiing” programs. https://www.jfbb.com/adaptive-program/ If you want to continue skiing by night, your Jack Frost lift ticket is good at nearby sister area, Big Boulder.
Camelback Mountain has morphed from a local ski area into one of the largest four-season resorts in Pennsylvania. A major hotel with a towering indoor water park, restaurants, bars and lounges offers “Ski-In, Ski-Out” access to the lifts. Thirty seven trails and slopes hold beginner through expert terrain along with multi-level terrain parks. Ten chair lifts including 2 high speed quads whisk you to the headwalls. It’s all lighted for action by night. Between the hotel and main ski lodge, you’ll find 42 chutes of dynamic snow tubing backed up by an amazing light show. The ski lodge and the hotel are the settings for an array of bars and restaurants including “Cameltop” The mountain summit lodge with a view of the slopes below and the distant mountains and valleys.
NOTE: If you’re going for the Presidents day weekend, check your destinations for any special money saving packages. You’ll often find them at nearby hotels and resorts that combine their own lodging rates with discount lift tickets.
Enjoy the last long weekend until it’s time again for shorts, tees and flip-flops.