Winter is upon us in the Northeast and with that, so is the cold weather. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean snow is falling from the skies here every day in Pennsylvania, but there is plenty of man-made snow at the two ski areas that border Lehigh Valley.
I am all too familiar with the mountains in our region. My son, now 21, is a snowboard enthusiast, it is a huge part of his life. When he was younger, I made the trek to the mountains every single day of the week for every winter season. He started out going for pleasure, and actually ended up working there during the winter, and still does today. He would have lived outside if I let him. Not me. You’d find me in the lodges, next to the fireplaces, with hot chocolate, a good book, or a laptop.
My winters were either spent to the north, at Blue Mountain located in Palmerton, or to the southwest at Bear Creek Mountain Resort located in Macungie. Both have incredible features and vary depending on what you are looking for. Here’s a little synopsis of what you can find at each:
Blue Mountain is home to the highest vertical drop in Pennsylvania. They offer 39 of the longest trails and have the most varied terrain for the most advanced skier to the beginner. There are six terrain parks for those who love the thrill of the butter box, jibs and jumps. And, if you’re really daring, you have to check out the Big Air Bag, the perfect spot to perfect your corkscrews and flips. If you’re like me, you prefer going downhill on your tail end! Blue has you covered there with an enormous tubing park including 21 lanes that are over 100 feet long and easily accessed by three lifts to get you back to the top.
Besides the tubing park, and the pond skimming competition that marks the end of the season, my other favorite part at Blue Mountain has to be the outdoor dining area. Only, I prefer it during the warmer months of the year! Here, you are basically sitting on the mountain with fire pits roaring and outdoor games to take part in. The views are spectacular and the food is fresh with modern presentation.
My other home away from home during the winter months used to be Bear Creek Mountain Resort. I love the layout of this spectacular site from the moment you pull down the long windy roadway that leads you to the bottom of the mountain. Visually, the resort reminds me of chalets out west and it kind of has the same character inside, as well.
To me, a non-skier these days, I think Bear Creek is a bit tamer with their trails, with the exception of the black diamond with a 50 percent slope. When I was young and learning to ski, this was my mountain of choice. The resort features 21 trails more than 86 acres of land. They also have my kind of outdoor winter fun in their five, steep tubing runs!
What’s the one thing you can’t miss when you visit Bear Creek? The Grille! This is an outstanding restaurant that has floor to ceiling windows allowing you to view the mountain from the warm interior. The food is outstanding and it is making me hungry just thinking about it.
So which mountain should you choose? I’d personally check out both of them! The main difference between the two facilities though, is that Bear Creek has overnight accommodations which makes it very convenient for those that just want to plop on their skis and be on the mountain. Bear Creek also has a spa, which is more my speed from being out in the cold.
But, let's be honest, you really can't go wrong if you're looking for some quality outdoor wintertime fun. Do what many local people do and hit up one mountain one weekend and another the next. Not only do you get the best of both worlds, but you can now begin to talk like a true Lehigh Valley ski mountain expert.
Both facilities are open year-round with lots of activities to choose from including a high ropes course, disc golf, mountain biking and hiking trails, event space, and so much more.
So, what are you waiting for? Go discover the mountains for some winter fun! To get you in the mood even more, here are some links to some short videos about each mountain: Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Blue Mountain. Enjoy!