Review: Camelback Ski Resort With Kids

Camelback Mountain

For some relatively local (to us) Pennsylvania skiing, we headed to Camelback Ski resort with kids this year. It’s funny to see the outdoor water park slides covered in snow, as this resort is also a summer destination.

Camelback is in the Poconos. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Camelback is in the Poconos. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Given all the crazy weather this season, we were happy to see a solid base. Plus, they make snow, and we got to experience that ourselves, with snow machines at the base and on some of the slopes. I never realized how loud they are. It’s like going past a jet engine. After one run where about 6 of them were blowing in a row, we had to go in and take a break, as our faces were so cold from the blowing snow.

As for mountain stats: Continue reading “Review: Camelback Ski Resort With Kids”

Teach your kids to ski!

I learned to downhill ski in Arizona. Yes, there’s snow in Arizona – it’s up north. I learned at Snowbowl in Flagstaff (of Route 66 fame) – with my family. We still have a lot of laughs over those early skiing days. We took a family lesson, and my father tried to correct us kids, showing us what to do, even though we had an instructor there. Let me add that my father was also a beginner, with no more experience than us.

We soon switched to separate lessons. And we finally learned how to get three of us off the lift without falling into a pile.

After college I moved to California and was fortunate to have Lake Tahoe relatively close, spending many a ski weekend with coworkers and friends, and eventually my husband – at the various mountains there.

The kids took their first ski lessons at Bear Valley, in California. My son was so wiped out he fell asleep during snack time and they didn’t dare wake him for his second lesson. That one day of skiing taught us something important. If you’re going to learn to ski, you should immerse yourself for a few days to do it. And then keep it up. Continue reading “Teach your kids to ski!”

Review: Mountain Creek Tubing

As I posted earlier this week, we went ziplining at Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon, New Jersey. As part of the package, we also went tubing at Mountain Creek. Last time we went tubing was probably 3 years ago, so we were quite excited to go.

Mountain Creek apparently has the largest tubing space in the United States, if all 30 lanes are open. They weren’t all open when we were there (I think I counted 15 open, but don’t hold me to that).

One of the tubing hills at Mountain Creek resort in NJ. It's empty because all the tubers go down at the same time, and they haven't shoved off yet. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
One of the tubing hills at Mountain Creek resort in NJ. It’s empty because all the tubers go down at the same time, and they haven’t shoved off yet. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

You book a 2 hour window for tubing. Reservations are highly recommended because apparently they sell out. But if you make a reservation and show up late, you still only get your reserved 2 hours. Just so you know.

Unfortunately we missed tubing with Juicy Joe and Teresa Guidice and family, who were there about a week before us. Bummer! I would have LOVED that photo op. Continue reading “Review: Mountain Creek Tubing”

Review: Mountain Creek Ziplining

When I told my husband we were going ziplining, he said “In WINTER? Don’t they offer it in summer?” I started having second thoughts, thinking about the cold wind in our faces and the waiting time in the snow. But it was a little late to cancel. At the worst, I figured we’d have something to laugh about in our holiday letter -how stupid were we to zipline in the winter?


Turns out we had nothing to worry about. The skies were blue, and even with temperatures in the 30s, it could not have been a nicer (winter) day to be “flying.”

We arrived at the Zoom Zipline office at Mountain Creek’s Cobblestone Village (across the street from the Red Tail Lodge) at our starting time. Inside they had waivers to sign and the harnesses and helmets laid out. They helped us put them on and adjust them, going over a few rules.

ziplining harness and helmet? check. copyright deborah abrams kaplan

 We headed over the pedestrian bridge to the right of the Cab Ride (the lift at the lodge base). The first zip line was a practice one, low to the ground and only 200 feet long. We learned about the correct flying position (seated in our harness, legs straight out, hands wherever you want them) and the landing position (knees pulled in to the chest, hands on the bar above) and we all had a turn. There were 13 of us, so it took awhile.

The intro zipline - 200 feet long. copyright deborah abrams kaplan
The intro zipline – 200 feet long. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Continue reading “Review: Mountain Creek Ziplining”

Review: Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort

It’s been almost 2 years since the kids learned to ski at Vermont’s Smuggler’s Notch. We were worried they would forget everything. So we planned a day trip over the MLK holiday weekend to Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania, which was close enough for a day trip and offered plenty of beginner-friendly hills.

Shawnee’s Lodge

We were surprised how much the kids improved in that one day, and we were impressed with Shawnee.

We used Shawnee’s Quick Rental program to book the kids’ rental/lift ticket package online. It didn’t save us money, but it saved us time (and it was easier on the staff as well). It was a little confusing, but here’s what you do. Bring your booking form (print it out when you order) to the Guest Services office. They’ll give you the lift tickets (but only for those who are part of the package. My husband and I had our own skis and paid for tickets ahead of time – we had to get those at the ticket window). Continue reading “Review: Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort”

Review: Smuggler’s Notch in Winter with Kids

When we found out the kids had President’s Day Week off, we started looking into vacations. The kids hadn’t yet learned to ski properly (a two hour lesson three years ago didn’t count). We figured they should learn to ski at a place specializing in teaching kids. And after a lot of research, we booked our vacation at Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont. We don’t know the East Coast resorts very well, but this one was highly rated as both a family resort and a great place to learn to ski. I’ll cover all that!

Bottom line – we had a great time and the kids learned to ski. There was plenty to do off the slope, and on. The best way to sum up the resort is that it’s like a cruise on land. Or a quasi all-inclusive (lots of free activities, pay for your own food and lessons).

Continue reading “Review: Smuggler’s Notch in Winter with Kids”