By Bob & Sandy Nesoff
Members: North American Travel Journalists Association
American Society of Journalists and Authors
Eastern Ski Writers Association
North American Snowsports Journalists Association
Camelback Mountain has been for many years the preferred destination for skiers in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area. It’s convenient location just minutes off I-80 in Tannersville, PA and about an hour and a half from the George Washington Bridge make it as convenient as could be.
There are other ski areas in closer proximity than Camelback but none offer the range of ski slopes, accommodations and activities found here. Opened in 1963 Camelback offers 34 named trails and 16 lifts. It boasts the biggest snow tubing facility in the United States.
Take a break from skiing or boarding and try the snow tubing runs. Want some more excitement? Ride the Mountain Coaster and hang on for dear life as it hits twists and turns at near highway speeds.
Crave an activity that will put your heart in your throat for a few precious seconds? Hit one of the two 1,000 foot zip lines that races down a thin wire cable from atop the mountain. But make sure to keep your eyes open so that you can take in the full beauty of the surrounding Pocono Mountains.
Between I-80 and Camelback is the Crossings Outlet Center with more than 100 shops representing top and luxury brands. It’s a common sight to see skiers heading for the highway stopping off at Crossings and wandering through many of the stores
Only minutes west of Camelback is Mt. Airy Lodge and Casino that is a draw for skiers of the slope and a host of boutique shops on the way.
In short, visitors can spend the day skiing or riding and then delve into myriad ways to lighten their wallets.
Those seeking to extend heir stay at Camelback also have a number of options such as The Chateau hotel only yards from the base lodge. How convenient can you get. The Chateau also has a couple of great dining options.
But as if all of this wasn’t enough, there are plans to create a fantastic new option that will solidify Camelback’s reputation as a year-round destination.
Scheduled to open next February, the Camelback Lodge, sitting atop one section of the mountain is already under construction. The site offers a magnificent view of the mountain, ski trails and beautiful vistas of the Poconos.
The new project will provide some 453 suites and rooms in a 533,000 square foot, eight-story resort constructed in a mountain modern design. There will be an arcade for the kids to occupy themselves when they come off the slopes as well as a game center and a laser tag facility for those who want more adventure in their leisure time.
Mom and dad will be able to relax in a luxury spa with all the amenities found at top locations in the world. There will be four restaurants catering to any eclectic taste and pocketbook.
But the crown jewel of this new resort will be the massive indoor water park. At 125,000 square feet it will lay claim to being the largest water park in the Northeast. Indoor temperatures will be maintained at a comfortable 82°F and the entire area will be bathed in natural sunlight (as long as the weatherman cooperates) under a clear Texlon transparent roof.
This is the same material used in the recent Sochi Olympics over one ov the major venues. Natural sunlight is far more comfortable than most artificial lights and will give the water park the feeling of an outdoor site.
With the opening of this new facility Camelback will be offering far more options than virtually any ski resort in the Northeast. That will carry over into summer when Camel Beach opens and bathing suits replace ski jackets.
There are, of course, other ski areas that have similar amenities near their location. But none come to mind that will have all of these offerings right on site.
The announcement of the new resort came about at the celebration of Camelback’s 50th anniversary celebrated last week with a reception for hundreds of people. Camelback’s base lodge was transformed into a site worthy of a celebrity wedding and was topped off with a night time parade of skiers carrying red flaming torches from the top of the mountain. That was followed by an amazing fireworks display. Fortunately for the assembled guests the temperatures were the mildest since last fall.
The owners, Arthur Berry III and Ken Ellis, friends since their days at Skidmore College in 1982, bought the resort in 2005 and have spent the past few years transforming Camelback into the premier resort destination in the Northeast.