TANNERSVILLE, Pa. — Family and friends can breathe a sigh of relief — I finally went to Camelback Ski Area in the Poconos for my annual ski trip. I won’t be complaining I haven’t hit the slopes yet or asking them to come with me anymore!
Saturday morning, I woke up at regular time and left for Camelback, widely regarded as the best ski area in the Poconos. I arrived a little later than I had planned, but still had a full day ahead of me. Camelback was packed and I had to park along side the unpaved road far from the main lodge. This proved to be advantageous for me since I was near the Glen Lodge, a smaller lodge located on the east side of the mountain. I had to wait almost 90 seconds in line for my lift ticket. Since I had rented my skis from off-site, I was ready for the slopes. I started off on the beginner run, Sun Bowl and then proceeded to longer slopes like Upper Moore’s Ramble and Mark Anthony, all enjoyable runs. I probably took a run down Lower Cleopatra as well. After getting nice and loose, I headed for the Sullivan Express lift to take me up the eastern side of the mountain to reach my favorite slope, the Nile Mile . I believe that Nile Mile is the longest slope in the Poconos. I like it for that reason and also the comfortable degrees of steepness that allow for lots of speed when I want it and not too much when I do not. Additionally, the snow is always quite plentiful on the slope, so ice doesn’t tend to be a big deal.
After taking Nile Mile a few times, I figured I ought to get some lunch. I stopped at the Glen Lodge and ordered the ribs combo ($12.76 with tax) from the cafeteria. This was a major departure from the typical fare offered at most resorts and actually a decent deal, all things considered. The ribs, while quite fatty, were pretty good as were the seasoned waffle fries. It was actually more food than I probably needed.
After filing up, I headed back up the mountain and took another Nile Mile run. I followed that up with The Pharaoh which fed into The Bactrian. Skiing down The Pharaoh proved quite tricky because it was quite icy and I am not in as good a shape as last year when I still went to a gym.
After some more fun on the east side of mountain, I moved over to the Cleopatra triple lift and headed down Mark Anthony again but took Home Again down to the Sullivan Express quad lift. The lines were pretty heavy here and the frequent need for the lift to stop didn’t help matters. Once I did get to the top, I enjoyed heading The Birches, the western-most slope, several times. It is a lot like the Nile Mile, only shorter. It feeds The Meadows and John Bailey.
After buying a Pepsi from the main lodge, I returned to slopes with a trip down Near East (via the Mark Anthony lift) which fed me into Upper Moore’s Ramble and Turkey Trot, each a pretty good run, though Near East starts kind of flat. Seeing that I didn’t have much energy left, I headed to the Nile Mile for the rest of the afternoon and took a few final runs. It worked out that I once I finished my last run of the day< i had about a tree minute walk to my car. That was convenient, but there was a minor drawback to parking on the side of the unpaved road.
I spent almost all of my time on green circles this year, a major departure from last year’s trip, but in fairness many of Camelback’s double greens are more challenging than Jack Frost and Big Boulder‘s blue squares. Also, without an enabler around, I was less motivated to really push myself too much.
Weather-wise it was warmer than forecast with temperatures well into the 30s. With the beautiful, cloudless blue sky and ample sun, the snow was a little mushy. I got a little warm wearing seven layers too.
Using the ski conditions scale, I give it a . Had it been a little colder, I think it would have been double blue, but that is just the way this winter has worked out.