While the snow might not be fun to deal with on your everyday commute, it can be an awesome time when you’re specifically there to play in it! While looking for ideas to feature on Bronxmama for some fun winter weekend getaways, we decided to try out Camelback Mountain Resort which is less than 2 hours away from the Bronx. We had the great opportunity to be a media guest and try out all that there is to do at Camelback, located in the Pocono Mountains. This was also our first time EVER skiing, so if you’re looking for a first timer’s point of view- then here goes!
Camelback is super family friendly. We had the chance to bring our girls in the summer to Camelbeach (their waterpark which is located at the base of the mountain) and had a blast. However with Valentine’s Day and our 11 year anniversary approaching, we figured it would make a fun little getaway for just myself and the hubby.
Getting There and Staying There
Getting to Camelback from the Bronx is less than a two hour ride (so basically a train ride to Brooklyn-ha!). The ride is smooth and you’re there before you know it. We stayed at The Chateau Resort, a nice hotel located at the base of the mountain with views of the slopes off of our balcony. This was the same hotel we stayed at during the summer and it was cool to see the difference in seasons. Wintertime felt cozy and the full parking lot was proof that lots of families and friends hitting the slopes choose to stay at The Chateau. With the lights on the slopes as the sky darkened and the awesome view in the morning when we awoke, I definitely suggest trying to book a room on the back end of the hotel. However, just being in the mountains with snow filled trees makes for a great view from any angle.
Although as a kid living in Virginia I had memories of flying down hills in my plastic sled, I was scared yet excited about trying my luck with skiiing. Luis had never been either, so it was sure to be an experience.
When you arrive after purchasing your tickets, you enter the building where you will pick up your boots and your skiis. There are plenty of Camelback employees around to help you with your boots if you need to try a different size or even to figure out how to tighten them. Since skiing is all about using your lower body, having your boots on correctly is important- this means nice and tight but not so tight that you can’t feel your feet. I used to give credit to women in NYC who have to walk over subway grates with heels- but now I’m giving that award to skiers walking in ski boots. It definitely takes some getting used to, I heard someone say, “heel to toe” as they walked by me. I’m guessing that is the trick. In the snow it’s much easier, by the way. Ski Boots 1, Nicole 0
Since we were first timers, we were set up with group lessons and then split up with different instructors based on our skill level. It was nice to be grouped in with others who had either never been or still needed a lot of help because I planned on falling a lot.
Our instructor was Dave Rock, he reminded me of a high school coach- funny but at the same time had high expectations for his team. I felt like I was going to be sent to do pushups at times, but in the end I didn’t fall once, so I guess it worked like a charm. We started with the very basics, like how to stand, bend your legs, and the purpose of those sticks. We also learned how to get onto the magic carpet lifts- which take some practice getting onto with skis on. We then went on to moving down tiny little hills and turning and stopping. We learned how to walk uphill in skis, which is super important if you don’t want to slide backwards down a hill every time you try to make your way up. At the end we were taken to a bigger slope and put into practice what we had learned. This is where Dave said his goodbyes and sent us off to the bunny slopes.
What I learned about skiing
While I thought I wasn’t even going to be able to stand, I actually did okay with the skis on and going down small slopes. But as great as I am at multitasking, I still need a lot of practice at going down a hill, remembering not to bend my upper body, trying to do turns so that I don’t fly down the mountain, and avoid hitting other skiers all at the same time. As a first timer, I definitely recommend taking some private or group lessons and learning the basics, because it helped me tremendously. Camelback is a great place for both rookies and seasoned skiers, and it was not intimidating at all. Of course, we didn’t make it onto the chairlifts, but I am sure with a few more lessons and plenty of practice, I’ll get there eventually. Until then, you’ll find me at the bunny slopes.
As I watched the kids in the children’s ski and snowboarding classes and how awesome they were doing, I could see for myself that learning to ski as a kid is so much easier than as an adult. I definitely plan to bring my 8 year old back and let her try it out. I’m sure she will be teaching me a thing or two in no time.
Wait, there’s more.
If learning to ski or snowboard is not your thing, there is still plenty of winter fun to be had at Camelback. After our experience on the slopes, we headed down to snow tubing! I was really looking forward to plopping down in a tube and enjoying the fun after our ski lessons. Camelback offers 3 hour sessions for snow tubing, which is a great amount of time to enjoy without dealing with overcrowding. Don’t forget to snap a picture with your friends or family at the photo backdrop before grabbing your tube.
If you remember from our summer trip, there is also a mountain coaster to ride! The coaster lets you control the speed, and the views on the way up the mountain are pretty awesome. Littles ones have to be at least 3 years old and 36″ tall to ride, so it truly is a family friendly place to spend your weekend.
Where to Eat
By the time you’re done having fun on the mountain, you’re ready for some good food. In comes Desaki, a family friendly Habachi restaurant located just a few minutes away from Camelback. When we say family friendly, we mean it. On weekends Desaki offers entertainment for the little ones while families wait to be seated, and there are even tvs with video games located on one side of the restaurant so that kids can have some fun while waiting or mom and dad savor those last few bites.
Of course adults and children love the experience to be had during the food preparation. Desaki chefs make the experience so much fun, from onion volcanoes erupting to spelling out I <3 U with veggies and rice- perfect for upcoming Valentine’s Day.
In addition to every day dinners, Desaki is a great place for private parties- with two private spaces available to accommodate large groups and then an entire separate side of the restaurant where weddings, sweet 16s, and more take place.
Desaki also offers plenty of great specials for those coming from the mountains or nearby attractions, so be sure to follow them on Facebook to learn more.
A Great Weekend
So whether you’re looking for a fun family weekend getaway or just an adult weekend to enjoy the outdoors, Camelback is the perfect local getaway from the Bronx. Check out more photos from our trip and learn more at skicamelback.com.
You can also follow along and see other’s photos and videos using the hashtag #MYCAMELBACK
Thanks to The Cheateau Resort, Camelback Mountain Resort, and Desaki for having us out! We were not compensated for our review and opinions are our own