The first sightings of snow for the 2017-2018 winter season have been spotted over the past few weeks across multiple locations in the Pocono Mountains. Ski areas rejoiced, responding to Mother Nature by making even more snow. For the most up-to-date information on opening dates and snow conditions, visit the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau’s snow conditions page.
Here’s what’s new for the upcoming ski season.
• Big Boulder Ski Area is open on weekends, depending on weather. Its sister mountain, Jack Frost Ski Resort, has snow fans blowing as the temperatures dip into the 30s. New this year for both mountains (known together as JFBB), is a three-day lesson with equipment rentals and lift tickets for just $99. JFBB snow conditions are guaranteed. If riders are not completely satisfied with the trail conditions, they can simply return their ticket to Guest Services within one hour of purchase and they will receive a “Snow Check,” good for the same lift ticket type valid that season.
Projected opening: Dec. 15. There is also an expanded program offering all active duty, retired and honorably discharged members of the U.S. military a free military discount card, which entitles them to 40 percent off midweek/non-holiday lift tickets, and 25 percent off weekend/holiday lift tickets.
• Blue Mountain Resort is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It has grown to encompass 39 trails and 16 lifts. To celebrate this milestone, they will have a birthday bash during Winterfest on Jan. 27. In addition, guests can take part in Throwback Thursday parties featuring live music from each decade, giveaways, a costume contest, discounted lift tickets and more. The resort is also introducing a new state-of-the-art grooming machine. Projected opening: second week of December.
• Camelback Mountain Resort has 37 trails, 16 lifts, 100 percent snowmaking, the largest snow tubing park in the U.S. and the newly launched, after-dark Galactic Snowtubing. With the addition of Camelback Lodge & Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark, Camelback is now a four-season resort. It has made investments in two new snowmaking pipelines, a new HKD snowmaking system and taking on a complete renovation of the Cameltop Lodge at the mountain’s summit for the 2017-2018 winter season. Projected opening: Dec. 8. Triple ticket is three lift tickets for $129 and available for purchase through Dec. 15, with zero black-out dates.
• At the family and beginner-friendly Shawnee Mountain, the Bushkill Park has been retired, and Shawnee has moved its top-to-bottom new freestyle terrain park to the 4,000-foot Delaware Trail, a location which provides access from the Tomahawk Express Quad Lift. The lower section of the new Delaware Park will host a new “Jib Plaza” with multiple rails and boxes.
The Country Club Trail will also have its former Incubator Park redesigned and plans call for both new parks to be full of signature jib features along with stepover jumps for creative airtime. The 3,000-foot Bushkill Trail will open this winter as an intermediate trail for top-to-bottom carving and cruising. In terms of snow making, more than 5,000 feet of new snowmaking pipe has been installed on the Delaware and Country Club trails, and a large electric compressor has been added to the snowmaking system, which will greatly enhance Shawnee’s snowmaking efficiency at marginal snowmaking temperatures. New rental equipment has also been added to the ski and rental facility.
Open now (with limited terrain), Dec. 13 with more. Maxi-Miser is a pack of three lift tickets valid any time this season and transferable between family members. Available through Dec. 24.
• Ski Big Bear has expanded its beginner terrain, allowing more room for lessons, which is what the ski area really takes pride in. It specializes in private lessons for young children, as well as affordable learn-to-ski packages that offer group lessons. The tubing area has doubled in size, from two lanes to four. Projected opening: Dec. 16. Discounts are currently offered off the regular price of the season passes and season rental programs.