Wednesday’s snowfall was just the incentive snow lovers needed to hit the slopes for skiing, boarding and tubing. And for those on skinny skis, cross-country skiing opportunities.
As we’re set for another winter of fun, snow loving folks may want to know what they can look forward to on our local slopes. As such, here’s what’s new at Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Blue Mountain Ski Resort.
The Macungie area resort upgraded their snowmaking pump system and added more snowguns for improved snowmaking.
Over the summer Bear Creek purchased 13 new DemacLenko snowguns, nine of which are mobile wheelguns while the others are large tower guns that replaced some outdated equipment. With these upgrades, Bear says they can produce better snow in marginal conditions.
They also moved their Group Sales Department to the front corner of the rental building so it’s now in clear view of arriving groups for expeditious lift ticket processing.
For snow and slope conditions check www.skibearcreek.com.
A host of new and exciting improvements were made at this Palmerton area ski area. And because of cold conditions, they experienced their earliest opening in their 38-year existence.
If only the late Ray Tuthill, the areas founder and builder, could see it now and see what his daughter, Barb Green, Blue’s CEO, took to the next level at Blue (where I learned to ski many moons ago).
For starters and what most skiers look forward to, Blue added two new trails to their vast network of existing trails. Their “Yeti” trail is located just off Burma Road and is intended to acclimate beginner skiers and riders to terrain park features. “This, says Barb Green in her news release, is the easiest of our six terrain parks and sits on a gentle slope so beginners are invited to test their skills on these small-scale, green features before moving onto more challenging blue and black terrain parks.”
For snowtubers, Blue added a second 450-foot surface carpet lift to whisk tubers up to their 21-lane tubing park. This means less wait time and more tubing runs.
Using RFID ticket and gate technology, Blue Mountain will now be offering only two types of lift tickets; a six-hour lift ticket and the ever-popular night ticket. RFID allows guests to purchase a lift ticket for a six-hour period of their choosing and the clock doesn’t begin to run until their first lift ride scan-through. With this, there’s no more rushing to make it onto the slopes and worrying about missing a few hours of a ticket season, or, waiting for the next ticket season to begin. You can now ski and ride when you want.
Blue’s Mountain Learning Center expanded and it’s for ages 13 and older and now boasts two new surface carpet lifts to help first-timers and riders reach the top of the Valley Learning Hills. By adding these carpet lifts, it enabled the expansion of the terrain-based learning areas and techniques that are an addition to the original surface carpet lift and Valley Triple chair lift.
There’s also a new Kids Learning Center (The Frontier Center) comprised of a new 7,443 square foot area. Here, children ages 4-12 can receive 2-hour Explorer lessons or 6-hour Trailblazer lessons (which includes lunch) on over three acres of terrain-based learning. Within this area are three surface carpet lifts that are dedicated to the Frontier Alley learning center. Frontier Center also offers daycare services for children ages six months to five years.
As winter sports always require more fuel for the body, Blue’s Slopeside Pub & Grill is the areas first 365 day-a-year fine dining restaurant located at Blue’s Summit Lodge at the top of the mountain. At an elevation of 1,285 feet, the 450-seat restaurant boasts unequal views of the Pocono Mountains in the distance, as well as the Vista Trail. To accommodate these many guests, two new kitchens were added to Summit Lodge. The restaurant is open for outdoor après ski during the winter and for indoor dining year-round.
Blue’s Retail Shop expanded and is now at two locations. The True Blue Mountain Sports Shop, that was at the Summit Lodge, has moved next to the Summit Ticket Office and Rental Shop and can be accessed from outside in the Summit Courtyard. The Valley Lodge location now offers all the clothing and accessories that were offered at the Summit Lodge, and is situated next to the Valley Rental Shop.
As for equipment, the Tuning and Repair Center, located next to Blue’s Valley Rental Shop, features the Montana Challenge MAX automated ski and board tuning machine. It is, says Blue, the first and currently only shop in the U.S. to operate this state-of-the-art tuning machine.
Last but not least important is snowmaking. Blue expanded their snowmaking system with a new pump house and added six new pumps that replaced aging pumps. This increased their pumping capabilities by 1600 gpm. That, plus their state-of-the-art automated pump system is able to control their over 14,000 gpm water capacity and their water-main network. These upgrades allow Blue to make better snow and more snow in less time. “We are the leader in snowmaking automation and capacity on the East Coast,” proudly boasts Barb Green.
For the latest in snow and slope conditions check www.skibluemt.com.