Reality hits pretty fast.
Just topping a rise on the access road to Bear Creek Mountain Resort in nearby Berks County, your perspective fills with broad ribbons of white plunging down toward the lake on your right. To the left, the eye picks up a parade of snow-fringed chalets and lodges that form the ski-in, ski-out hotel, spa, gourmet dining spots and ski complex.
Is it possible? Snow and a total destination resort, on a single tank of gas in the Pennsylvania banana belt? As a much-quoted snow bunny might say, “You betcha.”
Step into those bindings and let’s take the tour. – Jay Lloyd
The mountain, like the resort, has developed over the years to accommodate advancing ski and snowboard skills while still retaining the ability to make enthusiastic novices comfortable. From a dedicated learning area that blocks off faster traffic to a quartet of steep headwalls that provide downhill and mogul challenge, the slopes offer variety that allows families of different ability levels to ski or surf together. Come to a fork in the trail and it’s a “You take the high road, I’ll take the low road” moment. One kid splits for a plunge in the steep, the cruisin’ crew takes the scenic fork and everyone meets where the trails rejoin. Over a mile of cruising across the summit and down the back unveils a pristine mountain snowscape. The terrain parks keep active young knees pumping and boards in the air. Snowmaking and trail contour give this mountain a solid measure of family-friendly versatility.
Vertical Drop: 510 Feet
Slopes and Trails: 21 including 3 Terrain Parks
Lifts: 5 including a beginner area carpet.
Night Skiing: 100%
Tubing: 5 chutes served by 1 carpet lift
SKI AND SNOWBOARD SCHOOL
For the beginners in the crowd or advancing skiers and riders who want to advance faster, the Bear Creek ski school has a reputation for inventive children’s programs, women’s programs, group lessons and custom crafted private teaching that focuses on curing bad habits and creating new possibilities. Check out programs and package pricing here.
Bear Creek boasts one of the most efficient rental shops in eastern Pennsylvania. The stand-alone building alongside the lodge features standard and high performance equipment. For hotel guests, equipment can be fitted and picked up at the hotel lobby.
WHAT IT COSTS
Adult Open to Close Lift Ticket: $48 mid-week, $63 weekend
Adult 4-Hour Lift Ticket: $41 mid-week, $54 weekend
Youth and Senior Open to Close: $41 mid-week, $54 weekend
Youth and Senior 4-Hour: $35 mid-week and weekend
Seniors 70 and over and children under 5 ski and ride FREE
Check out equipment rental and special package pricing here.
There are burgers and a full range of ski lodge finger food, soups and stews under the cathedral ceilings of the Mountain Eatery cafeteria or a pizza in the more intimate Trail’s End Café.
The Grille is pure romance at a fireside or slopeside table, a dinner that defies all ski table expectations and an evening that becomes an event. Our first stop is the popular bar, warmed by a fireplace that’s reflected in the glass and shiny mahogany. It’s an apres ski spot where conversation ranges down the line but usually revolves around the day on the mountain and anticipation of the dinner yet to come. The menu is a high end presentation that covers the entire fin, fur and feather spectrum, from steak frites and a Cajun flavored barbecue salmon to an Amish country chicken breast. A favorite is the sausage Bolognese. The wine list is carefully selected and travels a range that covers most palate and wallet comfort zones. You get the idea: It’s a spot for Mom and Dad to have some personal time while the kids are getting in those last runs under the lights.
Scoring one of the ground floor, mountain view rooms pays off with more than a stunning vista. The sliding glass doors open directly on to the slopes. Simply step out and into skis, then glide and pole to the nearby main lift. Sixty of the spacious 118 rooms here offer mountain views.
“Ski and Stay” packages are available. For non-skiers, there’s a spa alternative. Check here for room availability and rates.
From Philadelphia (54 miles)
Take I-476 North (the PA Turnpike Northeast Extension) to exit 44/Quakertown. Turn right onto Route 663 South towards Pennsburg. Turn right onto Route 29 North and follow to the Route 100 intersection. Continue straight at traffic light (do not follow 100/29) for 4 miles to Bear Creek.