If anybody knows me, I surround myself with people more inspiring then me, or better then me, it’s how I live my life, so “Scooter” AKA on twitter and insta as @sprintnski we met on twitter, he was one of my earliest followers, not that he tweets a lot but I do, we would tweet each other from the chairlift, he is also from PA, he is from central Pa not the North East where I am close too, but we had one thing in common, yup snow, well two actually race cars and snow, but this is a ski blog so we’ll keep it to snow🤣
The Meet Up
So I first met Scooter at a dirt track race not too far from me, he had an RV dogs, loved to travel, but most of all he loved his days on snow, we could talk about snow for hours, I met his wife, his dogs, his Dad also a skier, and the best Dad ever, nickname “Pop’s” Scoot, had so many days in for a Pa ski season, I thought I got a lot of days in, he killed it, in his own words “ If you can find anybody in Pa that skis more days in Pa then I, then by all means” PA has a short ski season, even shorter where here is, where I always get the lead, most resorts open by late November, where the mountains by him are not fully open until late January.
The first meet up
So I first got to ski with Scooter at Big Snow American Dream, America’s first and only indoor ski resort, and it was a blast, it was a chilly Oct morning, we both thought #winteriscoming, we had a blast as we went from 60 degrees to 28 degrees, but that was just practice what was to truly come was on the mountain, and little did I know the #1 rule “never follow Scooter”
So I arrive at Roundtop Mountain Pa, the apres mecca of PA, first chair and the smell of eggs and bacon, we unload from the lift to variable conditions, Scooter just rips it, me a little more cautious, hey I have a rod and screws in my leg🤷♂️ But still admiring the conditions, Scoot fucking rips it, snow guns on, moguls, whatever, I was amazed at the ability, he shared with me “I wanted to rip moguls, so on the chairlift I watched youtube videos of people people ripping moguls” here is a guy that studied snow sports to the extreme to perfect his technique, I admire that.
The 20-21 ski season
So I got a ski condo at Cannon Mountain NH for a week turns out he was up there a week before and stayed with me the next week a few days, I got to ski with the real Scooter untamed, he skied shit I would think twice about, I followed him sometimes, and said “what the fuck was that” he stated “you forgot rule #1 never follow “Scooter” and no shit he was right, but I learned to take chances and enjoy myself, do things I never would have done, and take me out of my comfort zone to be better
The New Hampshire Trip
This trip opened my eyes to many things, but I thought I loved snow, what I learned was there was one person in the world that perhaps loved snow more then me, that is Scooter, from taming “upper wildcat” to doing “ Make a Wish” skiing 102k vert, yea he is my hero 4 sure, and his attitude keeps me alive in this world of hate, we have here a sense of love, one love, snow, and i’ll leave you with that……..
As resorts across the east coast continue to drop one by one, the anxiety and doom for me creeps in, a mind filled just weeks ago of whoots, hollers, and high fives, fireball shots, a season filled with parking lot apres, good friends old and new, and one last tour in New Hampshire, I knew what I would return too, I watched the weather report back home, as I sat in my car at Cannon Mountain where it was -2 degrees with -30 degree windchills, knowing I would only return home to most likely not skiing my home resorts. Reality sets in, if I’m gonna go for it, this is it, make it a week to remember, and surely New Hampshire delivered on the goods, but what started off as powder days, quickly turned to rain on the last day, a slight reminder to what was to come, 30 years of skiing on the east coast, you would think I go through this enough that it’s just a way of life, but for some of us bitten by the “snowbug” letting go is harder then it seems……
The Season Couldn’t have ended Better
While most people thought this season would happen, but would most likely suck, I never once believed that, I knew whatever restrictions were in place were just fine, Big Snow American Dream for me was a test run, as America’s only indoor ski and ride resort, They re-opened on Sept 1st 2020, and I was there 2 days later and the long weekend of labor day weekend, skiing and taking notice of covid operations, thinking yep, resorts will be just fine, and as I was on my last trip to New Hampshire, I couln’t help but recall my start of the season there, and where I was now, what a rad trip it was dude 4 sure🥶🤟
So How did You Send off the Season
This week was everything to us, and damn, it delivered, snowed all weekend, into day 4, tailgates, Indy Pass Resorts, old friends and new, we skied our asses off, even on some sketchy terrain Sunday, but the snow kept falling, as the bare spots at this resort began to cover up, and the trails playful again, we skied all week, until the last day, pretty much everybody left, it was pouring rain, as the fog set in, I stay on the lower half of Cannon Mountain, the snow was soft and playful, I return to my room, starting to pack no regrets, only that I didn’t stay longer. All smiles on the drive home the next morning as I drive away……..
So now what, are you going to do buy a mountain bike🤷♂️
I will never know why everybody’s answer to not skiing is a mountain bike, It just doesn’t do it for me, I don’t have the confidence on a mountain bike, that I have on skis, nor the skillset, I like to hike, run, and go to the gym, no bigger rushes for me, except one skiing, but how is that possible? For me it’s a dream come true….
Big Snow American Dream
Snow Sports 365 days a year in New Jersey
Hone those park skills, or race down the groomers all summer, show up in shorts and sandals, and go into a 28 degree dry flake paradise, take the quad to the top, park is on the right, and slopes on the left, knock the rust off, practice those park skills, Test a new pair of boots or skis, alot of people say it’s not a ski resort, Well you look at the pics and tell me, stoke and vibe is the same, no more summer blues for me, you’ll find me here until the mountains open again, but you will also find me traveling around to beaches and lakes from east to west, but the first place I return to is here, is the stoke real? Look for yourself…….
So this was a season of uncertainty, for me it was never that, I knew this season would be epic, one thing that this season did was take me back to explore my home mountains, most now owned by Vail Resorts, but some still by independents, I knew we would have an epic snowfall, I knew, that I would be skiing, what I did not expect was the beauty of what I would capture along the way, the friendships I would build, and a snow sports community that was United and determined to lead the charge through the mouth of covid hell, and as spring nears, I am not done yet, anybody who knows me is that I live the stoke 365, There are only two seasons in my life, this ski season, and the next, misunderstood as not being partial to anything else, or “you should go buy a mountain bike” nope, nothing will ever replace skiing for me, the freedom, the worry free day, the anxiety fix all, the sailing across the east coast crust to ripping ice, flying free, ughhh well you know the feeling. But one thing the season has taught me, is take a step back and look around, with resorts closing early last March, and literally the ski carpet ripped from underneath us, we united, we became close, we became better, we became more appreciative, we opened our minds to new things, and in a world of choas, found one common ground, SNOW…..
Back on Snow in September
Word comes that Big Snow American Dream opens on Sept 1st, I immediately reserve, the stoke was real, as I drive in a light base layer, yep, 95 degrees, driving in a light base layer, gripping my steering wheel, my one and only dream to be back on snow was about to come true, anybody who dismisses indoor as a joke is nuts, its real snow, it’s a real park, it’s a real stoke, from the drive there to the parking lot watching people come in with their gear, yea, we going skiing, more importantly, I knew this would be a lesson on covid operations, and let’s face it they set the standard in the east, oh as I glide on snow again, my only regret was not booking two hours, back to back the first time, as me and #skiwife, knock off the rust along with @sprintnski, and @kendalllehman, we prepare ourselves for something greater, and little do we take a step back and take the time to view what is before us, but this time I did, I was not taking advantage of any moment this season, I was not rushing airport to airport, mountain to mountain, nope I was getting back to my roots staying local, and for my ski chat friends, seemed to be the common theme, but the moments I got to experience with so many people, a picture speaks louder then words……….
So, I wanted to capture a lot of moments this year, little did I know this would be one of them, in the early season as I revisited my home mountains in Pa, they were not big in vert, but they were big in one thing, family resorts, even though I am always lagging behind🙄 I had to step back and show good friend @sprintnski this season was much more then vert, it was about the people that made this season possible, and that was all of us, but most of taking a step back and snapping that moment in time, generations of skiing, father and son, family, the spirit of independent resorts, yea it was all right there, as we start the rewind on mountains that we once ski and rode, remembering the good times, it suddenly appeared, that this local skier, yep me, lost it’s roots and was in a moment of awe, when I suddenly reminisced of the days of skiing with my much older brothers, sister, and cousins, it was much more than snow, but that was the glue that held us together, as it does for these two today……….
An Epic Season to be Had Awaits
I didn’t have to tell you this season would be epic, you knew it, what you didn’t expect was the joy of staying close to home, the joy of slowing down just for a second, to explore and enjoy what was only in front if you all these years, the best was yet to come, but the best only comes, when we least expect it, be well friends, enjoy the pics, from this season connecting with locals and friends, and shout out to @skirexmedia and @skibumpodacst for keeping the stoke 24/7, 365, could not have made it with out you🙏🏻 Most of all appreciate what you have in front of you now, before it’s gone, because one day it just might be, 🤔but then again, not in my lifetime……..
So my first trip to Arizona, I did not even know a ski resort existed, I have been to Buckeye, Glendale, Goodyear, and Sedona, and many others, but I kept glaring in the distance at these white capped mountains, the question was to my self of course, is there skiing in Arizona, I knew there was in Taos, but Arizona? The answer was yes, as I researched the resorts this one stood out, one for it’s local roots, two, the terrain, and three, it’s obscure and different, Sure I have an epic pass, before 2020 I could ski the damn world with that thing, but in my paths, Arizona is a special place, diverse people, terrain, and a rich history, its big mountain skiing at little mountain prices, let’s take a look shall we…….
Psh!!! Pah-leez How Great Could it be🤷♂️
Well let’s take a look at the History of Snowbowl
Snowbowl is located southwest united states, located on the San Francisco peaks of northern Arizona, seven miles from the town of Flagstaff, the ski area occupies only 1% of the peaks, facing slopes are west and northeast, it started 83 years ago as a ski area, Ole and Pete Solberg were skiing wooden skis in the Flagstaff area in the 1915, in 1938 the US Forestry service allowed a special use permit for a ski area, and operates that permit within 777 acres of a special use permit, lodges showed up in 1969. It’s annual snowfall is 260 inches per year, not including snowmaking, it has 2300 vert with the new gondola servicing 11,500 ft, hike too is 12,000ft, served by 5 chairlifts, 1 Gondola, and two lodges, and they have yurts! Consisting of 55 trails, and when you drive the 6 miles to the base you are at 9,200ft you’ll sleep in Flagstaff at 7500 to 8000ft😳 oh yea 4 real🥶🤟
Enough of the Stats, get to the Goods🤬
Ok, so as an east coaster in the west, i’m hype, I want to hit it all, and WC is like 🙄, but I took my time to appreciate the mountain, I was truly in awe of the surrounding terrain, the views, that good ole mountain feel, I felt at home, relaxed, I wanted to explore, and that week we had powder everyday but one, I took the lift for 11,500ft back then, now serviced by the new Arizona Gondola, #skiwife and I were watching were few unloaded, yea, we followed them through a catwalk, and through the trees and wow😍 came across a wide open upper bowl😳
So in ending, lets go sum it up🤬
ok, ok, sheesh, so listen skip the lines at Taos, Flagstaff has a bunch of local breweries, and plenty of places to eat, it’s a college town, Snowbowl rarely gets packed, but got a rap this year, but what resort didn’t, anyway, enjoy the midweek lift tickets at 49.00, whattttt😳, yup 49.00, the friendly staff, diverse terrain, upper bowls, and challenging terrain will have you begging for more, I loved skiing here, the terrain was amazing and the views were sick, the peeps were chill, and the terrain parks were amazing, check out this hidden gem if you a chance too 4 sure🥶🏔⛷
So I don’t know about west coast resorts, but the under Vail Resorts the east coast is dying, once die hard epic pass fans, meet disgruntled employees, laid off ski patrollers, over worked liftees and unhappy employees, best to say that this survey was taken without every employee feedback, lack of snow making, lack of employees, and patrollers have shut down a mountain in the east to get this award is a disgrace, i’m a cuban Italian american, and too get mentioned because you raised awareness now it has become a subject is a disgrace, I’m not here to trash vail resorts as well as I am a fan of actions speak louder then words, let’s take a look shall we as we go skiing with no filter.
I made a statement
Well good for you, and what did you do to back up that statement nothing, your are required by law not to discriminate, but what did you do to change anything, the fact of the matter is on the east coast nothing, operating in primarily white areas of the North East where so did you find your diversity? Please tell me, the answer is nothing, the survey’s were bullshit in the east, not everybody got to participate, so where are we getting this data🤔 ahh the large corporation hold, me having many friends and followers of Vail Resorts don’t believe that for a second, again actions speak louder then words.
So congrats you own most of the ski industry, good job, during BLM movement we released a statement, wow applause, notttttt, as far as diversity prove it, I dare you in the east, your nothing but a money machine only worried about its return on investment face it,
Well if this isn’t the greatest coffee cup award on the best desk I don’t know what is, why we applaud resorts like these are beyond my mind, you may be the biggest employer, but as far as benefits, racial injustice, diversity, and, and safety, I call bullshit, lift lines long, tickets over booked, employees laid off, overworked employees and social injustice exist, why got this award is because of big corporate greed and I wouldn’t boast about that, in the end I will not be at any of your resorts, and supporting the independents next season, have your award, we know who you really are in the east……….
So when I first got on Social Media, little did I know the impact or influences people would have on me later on, and it works both ways, being on twitter since 2014, I kind of sat back and relaxed, didn’t interact much, really just sitting back to watch what was going on, in the 2016-2017 season, I started posting and slowly gained followers, little did I know or dreamed of having over 350 followers, no not a lot by any means, but the interesting thing is that as I started sharing my experiences, my local mountains in PA, and my traveling experiences, really started to set it off, but the most impactful was my love of snowsports, and my stories of dealing with a lifetime of anxiety and depression, and how I was able to overcome, and how skiing saved me, but little did I know how much of us would have so much in common, this build is not on followers, it built a community of people, my love for the outdoors connected me with so many different people, so many different backgrounds, and so many different levels, it felt so freeing to say “these people get me”
So get to fuckn point already🤷♂️ Enough of the foo foo shit🤷♂️ The Point is Influences
Well you have the power to close the page my friend, or you have the power to write another chapter, which will way will you choose? I will say all of my followers in same way have influenced me some way or another, to be better to be stronger, now I am a good dude, nobody has ever met me that didn’t like me, my level head, fiery soul, and free spirit living, and the calm cool vibes, people seem to love, I would rather see the good in people then hate them, hate will eat you alive, while common ground with disagreements can be found uplifting. So ok enough foo foo shit as you are thinking lets get a little deeper, and why I love all of my followers and ski and board peeps.
“The Whole is Greater then the Sum of it’s Parts”
So the quote is Aristotle, not like you give a fuck, but in case you do there is the credit, so what do I mean, some of my most earliest followers were the most influential, @gotseacrets, @bobzeucher, @gmovestr, who btw was a pa skier and eventually rode the lifts of people like Picabo Street, and many others a competitive mogul skier, @TormeyL @albaadventureny, @tthrash, @spottedmahn, @sprintnski, @kendallLehman @skirexmedia, @simonJburgess, and @skibumpodcast for keepn’ it real, @…….grower(he doesn’t like when people @him) @reallyitsmenotu, and later as my views changed @skiingrogge yup, who brought back #MountainGazette, honorable mentions of later followers @aliwines, @partunia, @inglewitch, @Tully03830, @snowbunnyhug is not a follower but any interaction with her has been more the pleasant, man there are so many, if I missed you please dm me, I will edit the article, but the point being, many of you have completed me in a way for something I was searching for that was so much greater than itself, and as I traveled and got to spend time with some of you or just conversed with you, whether or not you know it, you were an inspiration to me whether you know it or not, somedays are bad, and there is no better day then I’m talking to that common bond with my peeps our love of snow🥶🤟, Though the years through a pandemic, we have had our highs and lows, but never did we question who we are, or what we will continue to do. That’s right we will continue to love what we do, continue to share from coast to coast, and ride on🥶🤟🏔
Skiing With No Filter is Born, but why?
So you can read the earlier posts on people I have met or skied with, but this year I wanted self fund a no ad website with my own money, many of you know how many causes I donate to or support, I am not a rich man, I don’t do bad either, we all know I will hand over my last dollar and make myself suffer before you have too, thats who I am, I have had met a lot of you in my travels this year and it has been a blast some of you are on the calendar, and some because of covid is next year, I started this website because skiers of beginner to intermediate were reaching out, looking for a place in this world, and also people of different race, creed, religion, and sexuality, it’s all good here my friend you are always welcome, the soul of this website was built for you, I will never judge you, and I wont allow others to judge you, you do what you do, from pizza slice to french fry, from the wind lip, to the trees, all are welcome, you have all taught me so much, and helped more than you think I helped you, no we ain’t all heli skiing, no we ain’t all dropping off steeps, but we are doing one thing skiing, and that is all we need and have in common right now. Be well friends🥶🏔⛷
So while trolling twitter for ski content one day, I came across a post, the ice sounded familiar, the crunch sounded familiar, the trail looked familiar, I asked is that challenge @jfbb? She said “Well hi there PA fellow skier” I followed the perfect S turns down the mountain, I seen her before @jfbb but this is one of those elusive skiers, one that skis first chair, makes the turns and goes home, why ski alone I wonder, I mean we all have done it, but what was the reasoning, well as over a year I conversed with her, and and I found out bits and pieces of this skiers life, one would compare the elusiveness to Luke Smithwick or Ingemar Stenmark, hidden away from the spotlight, leading a very private life, what I would eventually find out is the person, not the profile………
So one day as we go back and forth Sherry says ok I’ll be on the mountain at 8:30 I am waiting, see her pull in, see the car, she gets out, deadhead plate on the frontend, she says “I haven’t skied with anybody in 20 years” me yea I was honored, we approach the lifts and start talking, and nothing but good vibes, if skiing with no filter was the title this was it, I will tell you what only what she has put online, former competitive swimmer, Cheerleader, and years long skier, we board the lift and start talking, the bubbly personality comes alive, we exit the lift and now ready to go down, now what???
Ok maybe it was time to take Sherry down the icy steeps, she’s a cruiser now because of multiple injuries, but damn she followed me down the icy chutes, proving that she still has it, sometimes leading the way, chairlift talks and snacks, leading the way into perfect s tuns, and to the elusive skier……..
We call her “Sherry Sunshine” because of her ability to bring to bring sunshine wherever she is, we talked about local mountains, not taking yourself too seriously, and if you think she has not skied with the best or doesn’t watch the FIS world cup, then your crazy, she may be elusive but not dead……..
Well in ending, to make perfect S turns with this skier was an honor, if only you knew her, not a negative vibe in her body, but one cannot help her good vibes, while hidden accomplishments and a humble beginning elevate this skier on the local list, she will surely put the sunshine back in your day….
So when I started this website it was to highlight the hero’s of skiing and riding, the locals, the guys that kill it, and never get recognized for it, they are your everyday people, hard working, good ethics, generous, grateful, but the bond of snow knows no means, social media has escalated that in a way that you would never expect, it enables us to connect with people we have never met before, people who inspire us, And this yesssssss this is why I do it, to meet locals just like this, profiled today is two followers of mine, my earliest ones, what better place then home to profile this before I travel farther north, these are two or the most fun, and inspiring people I have met, one is super impressive, and the other is the “worlds best okayiest average skier”😳😂 by him not me😜 here is their story and mine, as I was inspired to meet such great people along these adventures we call life…
What in the hell, what bond?
A Moment in Time
So the backstory a little bit, we all know my twitter is the stoke 24/7, 365, no exceptions, even though I have been on twitter since 2014, I never really posted because I didn’t really think anything I said would matter, one day while Scooter @sprintnski was at Roundtop Pa, probably working from the chair lift on conference call, we shared photos all season long, this day he was lively on twitter and I was at work ummmm…….. Multitasking? 😳 , anyway we started talking and small world we work for the same company and share the stoke, kept him company on the chairlift and he kept my company by enjoying his stoke, after hanging out over the summer and fall with him and his pops @kendallLehman, camping, races, and then skiing, I have grown fondly of these two, as the dedication to to skiing was so great, and sharing stories over a campfire wasn’t enough, these two are dedicated, even though my busted ass with a rod in my leg and screws find it hard to keep up, I found something special this day that I just had to take a picture, usually I capture the snow, this time, I captured something greater, a Bond, between father and son, now this ain’t f’n twitter so don’t give me shit, I am profiling these two but you get it🤷♂️ I walked out of the lodge to capture this pic, Scooter has told me his story and how him and pops after a few years off got back into skiing, there is no denying that snow can heal and mend any relationship, and bring people together, but this moment in time I had to capture, Scooter may have been ready to hit the mountain, but I had to step back for minute and take a pic of them, we can relate no matter what the situation, “it’s the common bond”
In the End?
Well I learned there is no better place to meet then snow, I highlight and hat’s off to these skiers who kill it every day, beyond that I have met some great people, my father never skier, but made sure I did all of the things he never got to do, he brought us to the mountains, I am grateful for that, all is healed in the mountains, I am more then elated to ski with these peeps, most of all I am happy to call them true friends, if you only knew what your generosity meant to me……… I was elated to be part of the crew, and never regret meeting such great people, and if your think your stoke is high, Scooter has a dedication like no other, you’ll be hard pressed to find somebody that skis that many days on the east coast, whether family or friends, snow is the bond that keeps us together, and will continue like that for generations…… with that I leave you…….
How The Epic Pass lived up to it’s promise newsflash Epic does not know East Coast skiing at all and a local just proved that
So while Ikon stood by and did nothing for most of the summer, epic sold passes with insurance that was too good to be true and it was, while local mountains figured out their operating plans, Vail had it all figured out, but the one thing that remains out of touch for Vail is East Coast Skiing, we are crazy and will ski whatever, but there are days when when we call it, evidently when you “call it” and cancel your reservation more then 3 times, they restrict your reservations, which is not fair, this is the east, the land of warm ups and the great re-freeze, if I have the time why cant I reschedule for a better day if I’m skiing all week🤦♂️🤷♂️🤬
@Sprintnski ’s experience just goes to show how far out of touch vail is with it’s customer’s and patrons
So here is the issue, we all seen long lines for day tickets, and we have all seen the videos online, yea it’s a hot mess, but one we expected, but what if your resort opens with less then better conditions and you cancel your reservations there and re-book at your home resort? well interesting🤔 after three cancelations you get a restriction, well wtf. ? The resort was not open, changed to one that was, too bad, I cancelled because I was sick, too bad, I cancelled because I got injured the day before and did my due dilligence by letting somebody else book🤷♂️, nope you will get flagged and only be able too book week of reservations, this is what happened to one local skier, see for yourself……..🤷♂️
Now what do I do🤷♂️
Well @sprintnski thought he was doing the right thing by canceling, but evidenly got flagged when he cancelled even though the resorts where not open, but wtf, he was reserving the so called priority days🤷♂️ Now he is blocked,🤷♂️
Vail you have alot to learn about east coast skiing🤦♂️
Well you get the the point, but passholders get penalized🤷♂️ Obviously#skitheeast means nothing to you so here it it is vail😤😤😤😤😤 just for you😂😳🙄😳😂, regards #overselling #fckvail
This mountain is important to me, why you ask, well, we’ll have to go back a wee bit, so directly across from Jack Frost is Split Rock Resort, at about the age of 10, I learned how to ski there, one two rope, one lift two trails, I picked it up fast, my parents were not skiers, they grew up in south philly, my pops a drill Sargent in the marines, outdoor lover, he would introduce us to a getaway, something special, something greater then us, something greater then city life, the pocono mountains. His dream was to always have a second home here, he always wanted to ski, but never did, (probably cause my strong Italian mom didn’t let him) but he got us lessons at split rock, which is no longer a ski resort, but its where I learned to ski, and my siblings and cousins, who were at the youngest 10 years older then me, always skied across the road at Jack Frost, I often wondered what was to behold over there, I would ski and ski and ski, until pops said the magical words, “ I think your ready to join your brothers, sister and cousins at Jack Fost” 😳🥶🤟⛷ the words I have been waiting for, my stoke level was plus 10, I will finally get to ski with the big guys, and all at Jack Frost, we had an A Frame mountain house 10 mins away, skiing was to be mine, skiing was my destiny……….
My First Experience at Jack Frost
So Jack Frost is one of the few mountains where you actually drive to the summit, and park there, and your first run is really your first run no chairlift needed. Surrounded by my brother, a big mountain skier, my cousins and family all at the min about 10 years older then me, they were like you ready? I was stoked, we crossed the golden arches of Jack Frost Mountain, go to the ticket window, get the ticket, and boom, I’m in surrounded by a family 10 deep, I learned to parallel ski, jibs, jab’s, jumps, it was fucking epic, following my family, we even shared a beer on the chair lift, when they were independent they had a 50 gallon drum with plywood wings where you can drop your empty cans off before you got off the lift😳🤟, man I was in heaven, I got to ski with the big boys and girls, I kept up, learned alot from following them, and the best part, my ski day tackling the diamonds, a nod from brother in his 250 dynastar’s and we were off….. well I was on my ass alot, but hey I made it down, props or nah……..
Still in all its Glory
So with covid brought a blessing in disguise, no airports, no out west, no nothing, just some good ole’ home skiing, and the best part was where it all began, I’m not gonna give you mountain stats or anything else, it doesn’t matter, well Vail owns this once independent mountain, but the nostalgia is still there, 50 cents per locker, yep two quarters, honestly the place has not changed in 30 years, and I would not have it any other way…… I lived 10 minutes from this mountain for most of my life, and i’m happy not to see changes, but also unhappy not to see upgrades to lifts etc… and we all know I am an epic pass holder who hates Vail, but that’s another story……
So How was it
I thought the opening weekend vibe would be different this year, but it wasn’t, still, white knuckle driving to first chair had me stoked, I was going to the place where it all began, where it most likely will end, and where I am forever grateful to have skied and learned, there is something special to be had at your home mountains, never forget them, never doubt them, never snub them, they made you who you are today…………
Well I’ll keep the history of Bear Creek simple, it’s always been local, so no need to explain there it started out at Rittenhouse Gap Mines in the 1800’s, in 1967 it opened as a ski area known as Doe Mountain, had a T-Bar, a Rope two and two trails, in 1999 they changed ownership and it was re-branded Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Conference Center boasting 23 trails and 7 lifts
over 330 acres with a very much needed upgrade to everything, still keeping and old ski area charm with top notch ammenties, such as year round activities, hotel, indoor and outdoor heated pool, too notch dining, and events, as well as that old lodge feel with a modern look🥶🤟
Why Here Rob🤷♂️ 23 Trails, are you nuts🤷♂️
This is as local gets, We are not going to talk statistics because unless your frick’n Cody Towsend, I don’t want to hear about your perfect line, and this isn’t f’n twitter so shut it🤬 We are talking supporting a local mountain, and why is that important to support these places? Because this is the place where people learn and advance, what it lacks in terrain, it will surely make up for in Charm and Challenge, you’ll be hard pressed to find out of state plates in this parking lot, few and far between, and I wouldn’t have it any other way….
So this shot does not due the mountain much justice, but realize I was pretty far away, it was busy, but as you travel the route 100 corridor, you see it in the distance, a glimpse, the anticipation of something epic, something local, something special, you travel these winding backroads wondering where the mountain is, and then you see the sign, turn in, and it suddenly appears before your eyes, the heart races a little faster, the knuckles on the steering wheel get lighter in color, you just know what kind of welcome you’ll get here, and the whole vibe of the place is bliss, as you approach your walk towards the locker, the friendly staff, welcomes you, ski school and patrollers all over the mountain, best part, never met a rude or unfriendly person there, never, you feel as if your part of the family, a skiing and riding family, from beginner to expert, all ski it from beginner to expert they have you covered, what it lacks in vert, it will surely give the expert a run on sasquatch, a 50% slope, or how about a narrow icy chute on extreme, or the bumps on grizzly, bored? Take a hike to the Timberline Race trail, Park Rider? No problem two parks, snowmaking and night skiing? Yep no problem 100% any other questions?
Ok I’m interested, but what else, wutcha got?
Because Bear Creek sits in the lower lehigh valley, prone to warm ups, and refreezes, this terrain is challenging from day to day, you’ll never know what to expect, I was here on a pow day during a 14 inch dump in the nor’easter of 2018, it was me and 20 other people on the mountain, close die hards, man it was epic, who doesn’t love a pow day, far and few between in the east, I’ll take it, now this place does not have alot of vert, but challenging terrain yessssss, drop off the cliff at Sasquatch, or ski the bumps on Grizzly, or late season ski the bumps on Sasquatch😳😮 oh no they didn’t, oh yes they did😮🤟, go racing two nights a week on timberline, hear the music the hoots, see the high 5’s, during night skiing, locals at their best, truly the vibe is one to be had near any other resort.
Ok Rob good for you, a local what does that have to do with anything🤷♂️
While others flock to nearby resorts I tend to flock here, why, in 2017, I heard my brother a big mountain skier say you should try Doe Mountain, I always loved it there, best night skiing hands down, I searched I found, then I found even better, Bear Creek, as being from airport to airport flying all over the US over the years, I was stoked at that fact I would be home, bought a season pass, and abused it at this place, I see people wanting to learn, people wanting to ski and ride, people of every race all having one thing in common, snow. What a beautiful place the world can be when everybody gets along, it also has an over 70 ski club, yep those guys still hitting those steeps and those bumps, respected now, but snubbed earlier by me, from traveling I became a #snowsnob, look at all I was missing out on, I met a family from the Netherlands, people from Australia, all over the world here, they love the small mountain local feel, so when it comes down to it in the end, all about local, and that is where my heart has been since, you ski your big lines, you do a backflip off of the windlip, but you can’t replace the vibe that the locals have here at Bear Creek, from snowmobile races, to pond skims, the crazy east coast reigns. And the terrain parks are sick🥶🤟, they other resorts around me, don’t have the vibe this place has, and gets me going just to rip it every run.
So what is Local my Friend🤷♂️ Sounds like a typical ski resort🤷♂️
well no it’s not, look I am not going to get into evert little detail of the operation, you can read the press releases, I will tell you this mountain is one for its followers, locals, and community, it has supported many inner city programs, as well as adaptive programs, it has introduced people to a world when then was none for them, Covid-19 response was limit passholder sales, ski and stay sales, and day sales, everybody wins, and it kept it’s programs for the youth, a vital part of a continuing operation, besides local and community support, enjoy the summer events like “music under the stars” or this winter enjoy the deck with the food truck, evermore, enjoy your day on the slopes, if any east coast resort deserves this much attention, then hands down, Bear Creek it is……..
Skiing and Snowboarding during a Pandemic and how the only open Resort In the US is operating
So as Resorts have tried to re-open, many have not had the success Big Snow American Dream has had except Timberline on MT Hood, yea I know there were others that opened, calm down, and just listen this ain’t f’n twitter, it‘s my blog and I am going to tell you how they reopened in times of pandemic okay? Cool🥶🤟
So what is it like skiing and riding indoors
I know it’s indoor this, indoor that, there is no steeps, it’s not a real mountain, blah, blah, blah, well let me paint the picture and you can decide for yourself. So the announcement came from NJ that malls were allowed to open, I patiently waited for the announcement and boom my skier twitter buddy @skirexmedia hit me up, Big Snow is opening Sept 1st, I rushed to my computer texted my boarder friend #skiwife no not my wife, idk🤷♂️ She likes to be called that ask her, she is like look the third homie, I was like sweet🥶🤟 the stoke was real, 6 months off snow, I needed this skiing was my outlet, I am never so happy and free when I am skiing, yea I know move it long🤷♂️🤦♂️, but seriously, a sufferer of depression, and at one point crippling anxiety, whenever i’m on snow I am confident, I have no fear, no anxiety, No nothing, You’ll be glad to know that I have overcome most of it, but it creeps in from time to time but I’m not having it, none of that shit will ruin me ever again.
The Stoke Begins
So you gonna tell us or what?
Alright, Alright, moving along, sheesh, so I rushed to my laptop, booked for Sept 3rd, I received a QR confirmation, don’t worry if you lose it they can look you up, It’s 1pm on Friday Sept Third, I pull up to Lauren’s house 15 mins early, she is yelling at me telling me “ I knew you would be f’n early” give me 5, I was like ok, threw her board and shit into the car and we off 1 hour and 40 mins away from being back on snow, despite being 90 degrees out with like 90 percent humidity yuk, anyway, my car has a twin scroll turbo, I am flying to the place, it’s. Friday, reservation was for 1PM, 5 mins away we see the NY city skyline, and what else do we see, the massive slope extending from the building, aww shit was about to get real fast. We arrive in the parking lot in basically gym clothes, we enter into this beautiful vestibule and just follow other skiers and riders up 2 stories of escalators and arrive at some cool colored signs and saw those two words “Big Snow”
Tell us already how was it dammit🤬
Alright sheesh i’m getting there🤷♂️So anyway, we arrive now I have been there 4 times, so the refined operation is smooth now, so you got your QR code? Get it ready, they scan it, take your temp, Whew, passed that, now put you in a waiting line, cool, almost there, they take you back in small groups, lets say 6 to 10, they one at a time bring you to get you to get your RFID wristband, they activate it, you are escorted to the lockers, only use a locker with sanitized sign and throw the card away, take a pic with your phone of your locker number, the lockers are locked by holding your RFID band up and press it on the locker button, here we are locked and loaded🥶🤟
Well tell us already i’m dying over here🤬
Alright shit here we go, so time starts when you scan your wristband and enter the slope, now it’s 28 degrees low humidity, but with no wind feels warm, I wore a jacket the first time, wore a Hoodie the next times, no wind, it feels great, my friend slams her board down, I slam my skies on the snow, click in, oh fuck yea, my heart flutters, i’m back on snow, 6 months of bullshit, and here I am the day I dreamed of, we take the 4 person express quad to the top as we make our first run, edge to edge, I start #dancing, not a steep slope but fuck it, back on snow, and the snow quality is buttery, nice dry flake, so cool, the rating of the slope is blue, and I think they are right, steeper blues in the east for sure out west, but I say it qualifies for now🤷♂️
So What was your first run like
Well shit you to get to the point?
Alright, shit, so I just point down the groomed fall line, honestly forgetting I was indoors, I didn’t care, I was back skiing my first and only love, 😳well that may ruin future relations😳 oh well anyway, shit my first time was great, 6 months off snow fuck yea, my only regret was not booking back to back sessions☹️ Honestly you forget your indoor🥶🤟
What do they have?
They have a terrain park, blue run and a green run, no ski gear, no problem, rent a snow day package, they include rentals, and gear, have your own shit, buy a single day ticket, can you buy two? Yes you can buy 2 2 hour sessions, go back to the ticket counter and remember to recode your locker with the new RFID band, if doing multiple sessions book them 15 mins apart, your time starts when you scan in, and ends 2 hours pass that time, and yes they have check points, don’t try to cheat, you will be caught, They have snow bikes, instructors, And ski patrol, you must wear your face covering properly, or they will call you out, you only ride the lift with your party, and your only allowed be with the party you came with, there is no food or beverage except for water bottles, but shit man, I was back on snow, F‘It
So how fun was it, anything else we need to know?
Look man, you forget your indoor, your on snow, the first time was with Lauren, the second time was me, the third time was with my twitter ski buddy @sprintnski, have your Qr code ready twice, be prepared for temp checks, and 6ft social distancing, Very strict enforcement.
In the end?
So in a nutshell, book two sessions 15 mins apart, I did this the third time I went, bring your gear and its 34.99 for a two hour session, great place to practice, Knock the rust off, The Terrain Park is cool with the upper progression park, and skinny rails and jumps your session starts when you enter the slope, cleaning and Sanitizing a main focus, masks or face coverings mandatory, Bring your chairlift snacks, no food or beverage available, except water, temp checks and masks mandatory, my first time I wore a surgical mask, it fell apart, use a cloth mask and bring more then one, most of all, enjoy, your back on snow🥶🤟
From 1984 Alpine Ski Resort was born, this resort was a hidden gem in the poconos, financial problems, bad winters, lack of upgrading, Once voted by Onthesnow.com in 2013 as PA’s best ski area for families, to ripping off investors, the resort would close in the worsts PA ski season ever 2015-2016, failing to invest more in operation and more in looks, mismanagement led to it’s demise, one day in a twitter ski chat, somebody said does anybody remember Alpine Mountain, I was like right here🙋♂️, he said my cousin owns it, to be invited on this camping trip meant alot to me, it gave me one last run down the mountain I was supposed to hit it in 2017, little did I know, its owners had abandoned it, and for the first time in 40 years, it would not be open. But sold for 412,000 dollars, Yep you read that right. It will never be a ski resort again.
The Resort Back in the Day🥶🤟
In 1984 the poconos were booming as the greatest honeymoon destination in the US and for family vacations, I should know I lived there until, the late 90’s for weeks and weekends, and yes I have skied at Alpine Mountain in it’s glory days, originally sold to the now defunct Penn Hills resort which went bankrupt in 2010, yep the honeymoon was over the owner of Penn Hills sold the mountain to keep Penn Hills open, you know heart shaped jacuzzi, wall to wall red carpet, and round beds yea baby, bow chica wow wow! It’s no secret they catered to honeymooners and swingers, when flights became cheap, mega destinations appear, and the poconos, left behind, in the 2000’s you needed to change your operating model like others did to survive, camelback and shawnee mountain both survived by adding the alpine slide and water parks and catering to families, and heavily invested in snowmaking, as Jack Frost and Big Boulder which Big Boulder is 80% terrain parks, they knew, Alpine thought they would get fancy on looks, in 2013 rated by onthesnow.com as Pa’s best ski and ride resort for families, they added the terrain park and half pipe😮🥶🤟in pa dude a half pipe for real? Yep 4 sure dude an f’n halfpipe.
The New Owner’s Vision
The new owner took charge and redid the old charm, upgrades, new lodge, what went wrong, well lots man. Upgrades in snow making but not the pond, upgrades in millions of dollars, new snowcat, new lodge, place was beautiful, new ski school, new everything except what they needed the most, snowmaking, from taking sponsored money, to the repossessed snowcat, and snowmaking equipment, the writing was on the wall, the new investor started with a big vision, the big mountain investor failed to realize what if we had a bad winter, yep you need snow to ski and ride asshole. Why he didn’t see the trend, because money blocked his vision, handed a turnkey operation, only to waste millions in the wrong thing, yep I work in finance, I know what operating costs will be, and the return you need to recover them, unfortunately 2015-16 ski season was one of the worst in PA skiing history, with no high efficiency guns anymore, no snowcat the 2015-16 ski season would be its last.
Alright dude so what is it like today? Da fuq
Well, I had to go into a secret entrance, I drive around backroads and backroads, and drive down past one of the slopes, ahhhh memories, never skied here with the new lodge, but an overgrown access road, and gunshots from hunters made it super creepy, its 4pm, daylight is short, I need to get to camp right now, and I did, as all of us set up camp around a wood burning stove bust out the food and beer, we explore the old ski school
We explore the old ski school building, newer to the property, still filled and as busy as the last day, these employees jumped ship when they saw the writing on the wall, files with ski school operations, once the season was over the employees all knew they would never return, the sad part mostly locals☹️ So we go on to explore the basement of the lodge, the owner kept and buried all of the rentals for what I have no clue, but kinda of creepy check it out.
So what was it like camping there?
Tell us already🤬
In the end……….
Well, I skied here as a kid, sleeping there that night I swear I could still hear the whoots and hollers, and high fives in the distance, that morning we hiked to the top of the trails, as I descended down my last run, finally some closure for this place, that I loved so much growing up, the unfortunate part is that nobody else will ever get to enjoy it, so enjoy the pics at the end, some call it sad, some call it creepy, I call it closure as I drive away……