The Return to Jack Frost Mountain

The Entrance to the Jack Frost🤷‍♂️ wtf does it look like🤷‍♂️

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

The summit at one park and some dude who decided to photobomb the mother fucker🤷‍♂️

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

What the fuck Rob you geared up for an avalanche🤷‍♂️ Is that a beacon in your pocket or you just happy to see me😳😜

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……

Me @kendallehman and @sprintnski opening weekend

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…………

My Home Mountain, Bear Creek Mountain Resort in PA

Walking into the Entrance Straight to the slopes at Bear Creek

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….

Bear Creek Presidents Day Weekend 2019

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.

#skiwife about to take the plunge on Sasquatch a 50% slope, just jump in🥶🤟

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.

A little Apres’ after a long day on the slopes

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……..

Big Snow American Dream

Skiing and Snowboarding during a Pandemic and how the only open Resort In the US is operating

Featured left to right Twitter Ski Friend @sprintnski The guy on the right with the nice hair is me Rob, twitter @tech_rob insta @robg_ski, the “skier” shirt and hat available for purchase at skibumpodcast.com The mask I am wearing can be found on the skirexmedia.com website, all the other shit Idk🤷‍♂️ The entrance to Big Snow

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🥶🤟

In front of the terrain park at Big Snow, what gave it away the sign behind me that said the park, huh, good call out

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

We know what these are ……..lift lines 🤔 I wonder if I gave it away by taking the pic of lift lines 🤔

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”

Inside look of the lodge of Big Snow American Dream

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🤬

The intermediate slope at Big Snow American Dream

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

Blue slope at Big Snow American Dream

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?

A look from the bottom of the blue slope

The Re-cap

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🥶🤟

Camping at Alpine Mountain, an abandoned ski resort, from guts and glory, to one last run brings closure for me and many others

The Main entrance sign at Alpine Mountain, in the Poconos, Pa

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🥶🤟

Alpine Mountain in it’s glory days
Holy Crap, they had a halfpipe dude? Yep for sure……

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 newly remodeled lodge, I know pretty sweet right🥶🤟
Obviously the rental area, good guess right🤷‍♂️
Yuengling Bar and Grill one of America’s oldest brewry’s and of course my favorite beer🥶🤟

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

Top of whatever the fuck trail

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

Old poster on the wall
old shit on the wall🤷‍♂️
Ski School Bibs on the floor obviously🤦‍♂️
Last Day of somebody’s job, never knowing if thew would return
Yea I know I posted it already, look at the calendar it says March, 2016🤷‍♂️

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.

whew, look at those sticks, can’t believe we learned on them🤷‍♂️
Obviously ski boots🤷‍♂️
old shit from the old lodge🤦‍♂️
Guest services if you didn’t know🤷‍♂️

So what was it like camping there?

Tell us already🤬

Yea so what my finger is in the pic wtf are you perfect🤷‍♂️

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……

half pipe groomer