You’ve been inside for the holidays long enough. Your pants are tight, the kids are fighting and you need fresh air. The tristate area boasts some great ski slopes for those of us that are not quite ready to be dropped at the top of a mountain by helicopter to ski down. That being said, the three mountains we have tried have each given us, a family of beginners, a great starting point. Having been to Hunter Mountain and Belleayre Mountain both in New York, this year we tried Jack Frost in Blakeslee , PA, a short two hour drive from Westchester County.
Ok, so the kids picked up a few new words as we helped them into their ski boots. The guys at Hickory and Tweed in Armonk made it look so easy! That’s where we rented our skis back in August, got a great rate, along with fantastic customer service. It saves a lot of headache if you don’t have all the apparatus, rather than waiting until you get to the mountain.
Once the sweating stopped and we almost broke our feet getting them into the ski boots, we decided to leave the lodge and hit the slopes. We picked up our skis outside and trudged and trudged to get to the right area. Jack Frost has a decent area for beginners. With the weather not exactly cooperating so far this year (who was ready to ski October’s snowfall?!), they have been making snow on the mountain since the beginning of December. Only about half of the green (easy) and blue (intermediate) slopes, and a few black diamonds were open, but we were ready. The wind was whipping and my husband and I looked at each other thinking “Puerto Rico next year”.
All that changes when you are on the ski lift with your child. It’s peaceful, calm and the bird’s eye view cannot be beat. Granted the first few minutes were talking about the game my son got for Christmas, or my daughter asking what was for dinner, all that slowly subsided when we were halfway up. It is quality time that you cannot get when the phone is ringing or work and school schedules get in the way.
We skied all day, getting the most out of our money. During a holiday week, lift tickets are pricey. For a family of four, 2 adults and 2 children we paid $188 for holiday rates. Unfortunately Jack Frost does not have half day options, but the great part is that Big Boulder ski area, about 10minutes away, honors the lift tickets, and is open for night skiing. While I thought it was a great idea, my husband smartly pointed out if we were freezing midday, night would be worse. We’ll try that another time.
There are plenty of places to stay in the area. We hooked up with Homeaway.com and stayed in a great condo in Snow Ridge Village, right on the slopes. Our condo was too far to walk to the slopes, but in a few minutes we were parked and ready to go.
The first night we got there was after the mountain had closed, we headed over to the Split Rock Resort to their H2O indoor water park. We got a twilight pass coming in after 4pm and the kids had a good time on the rides. Not as big as Great Wolf Lodge, it was not crowded and clean.
It’s never too late to learn how to ski, and those of you that know, grab your kids for some great healthy fun. Check out the mountains around us. We are looking forward to some day trips with friends, but not looking forward to getting those ski boots on. I will just have to remember the solemnity of the ski lift ride.
Check out these sites for more information:
Jack Frost Ski resort:www.jackfrostbigboulder.com (has a great beginners guide)
New England and Northeast Ski resorts by state: http://skiing.alpinezone.com/resorts.htm
Hickory and Tweed: www.hickoryandtweed.com
Home Away(search for Jack Frost: www.homeaway.com