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Blue Mountain vs. Camelback in PA

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I've searched on this topic and the only posts I found sounded outdated.
In PA, I've only been to Camelback and I've outgrown that hill. I've been going to Hunter/Windham more often in the past couple of seasons for my day trips (live in NJ).

I am trying to find out if there is anything closer than Hunter that is worth skiing to save time/money on a day trip.

How does Blue compare to Camelback? Are the black trails longer than at Camelback? At Camelback, they're probably "steep" for 400 ft or so and then get flat...

Elk is just as far as Hunter for me.
post #2 of 34
Going from Camelback to Hunter to Blue is the same as going back to Camelback. Why do you want to do that?

I'm almost in same boat as you, Hunter is only 15 minutes longer of a drive than Elk for me. I like Elk, but Hunter is my preference.
post #3 of 34
I haven't skied Blue for a number of years, but it is worth the drive to check it out at least once and get on your resume. But I think you will find that Camelback is bigger and better.
post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jalexc View Post
I've searched on this topic and the only posts I found sounded outdated.
In PA, I've only been to Camelback and I've outgrown that hill. I've been going to Hunter/Windham more often in the past couple of seasons for my day trips (live in NJ).

I am trying to find out if there is anything closer than Hunter that is worth skiing to save time/money on a day trip.

How does Blue compare to Camelback? Are the black trails longer than at Camelback? At Camelback, they're probably "steep" for 400 ft or so and then get flat...

Elk is just as far as Hunter for me.
If it is the thread that I am thinking of, just because it is outdated, doesn't mean it's not still accurate.
post #5 of 34
Never been to Hunter, but...

Blue > Camelback for DAMN sure!!!
post #6 of 34
Blue is 1000 verticle feet with 2 high speed quads. It has 2 black runs, steeper (also read ice) in the top 300 feet then a decent pitch prior to a run-out. Not a lot of black variety, some decent blue runs and they maintain an ok mogul field on one of the blues. I live just outside of Philly and it's a 75 min drive.

As you stated, Camelback black trails end mid mountain and then merge into green and blue trails. I dislike the mixing skill levels and need to ski slower. It's where I learned to ski many years ago, but, I'd drive the extra hour to Elk rather than return there.

Conversations with strangers while riding the Blue lifts indicate Blue is preferable to Camelback, but, hey, that's like preaching to the choir. I'm just glad it's there!

Philpug and Blue Mt. can't co-exist in the same sentance.

One other thing, Blue can be very crowded. I can ski mid-week and frequently just get a a.m. only ticket. You can do 20 runs in that time frame.
post #7 of 34
I prefer Jack Frost over these two, not because of terrain, it is less, North Face is OK, not because of lifts, they are old and slow..but for a much better snow quality. The slight difference in elevation and being up on the plateau makes a world of difference. The time to get to JF is the same as Blue and less than Camelback and you don't have to deal with 22 and the mall traffic.
post #8 of 34
I think when it comes to the merits of Blue/CB/Elk ... the food has to be an issue that needs discussion.



Blue ... unispired

Elk .... avoid even the pizza and burgers .. bring lunch

CB .... at least the cafeteria is good, pricy, but good. Decent burgers on the deck or in the lounge.

Shawnee ... nobody home if you want challenge on anything steep.

They all have about the same terrain, Montage/Sno Mountain has a few good runs but the lifts are sooooooooo slow. But still you get a good pitch and twenty good turns at any of them and then it all goes flat.

Want a bigger hill with a bit of kick ... not too far ... get a cheap motel and head up the Thruway to the Northway ... to Whiteface.
post #9 of 34
Even though Phil won't admit it, the snow at Blue has improved quite a bit. Overall, it's better than Camelback -- more steep before the runout and fewer merging trails, and a couple of sweet warmup trails, and far superior to JF. But Elk is by far the best in PA and usually worth the drive.

As far as food's concerned, at least Blue has pierogis -- helpful if you have to get your center of gravity lower.
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by evansilver View Post
Even though Phil won't admit it, the snow at Blue has improved quite a bit. Overall, it's better than Camelback -- more steep before the runout and fewer merging trails, and a couple of sweet warmup trails, and far superior to JF. But Elk is by far the best in PA and usually worth the drive.

As far as food's concerned, at least Blue has pierogis -- helpful if you have to get your center of gravity lower.
I will never know.
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
I think when it comes to the merits of Blue/CB/Elk ... the food has to be an issue that needs discussion.



CB .... at least the cafeteria is good, pricy, but good. Decent burgers on the deck or in the lounge.
I just can't stand sitting in their lodge amongst all the fake palm trees left up from Camelbeach.
post #12 of 34
Just curious...

Have any Bears participated in Blue's mid-week race clinc series and if so, how was it?
Anybody planning on doing the series this year? I'm considering it.
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post
Just curious...

Have any Bears participated in Blue's mid-week race clinc series and if so, how was it?
Anybody planning on doing the series this year? I'm considering it.
Considering it. Not sure my work schedule will allow it.
post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments. I might give Blue a try mid-week if conditions are good. From where I am it's only 12 miles more than Camelback. Elk is the same distance as Hunter (i.e twice as far), and I suppose Hunter is better, so I can't imagine it's worth going to Elk?

One other question about Blue.
Don't they sell discounted tickets (like a triple card) or a discount card (like the ones you buy and then get 50% off midweek and 25% off weekends). Most ski areas in the NY region seem to do that or some other type of promotion.
I even called them to ask if they had anything and they responded as if I was from another planet and was talking crazy...
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jalexc View Post
Thanks for the comments. I might give Blue a try mid-week if conditions are good. From where I am it's only 12 miles more than Camelback. Elk is the same distance as Hunter (i.e twice as far), and I suppose Hunter is better, so I can't imagine it's worth going to Elk?

One other question about Blue.
Don't they sell discounted tickets (like a triple card) or a discount card (like the ones you buy and then get 50% off midweek and 25% off weekends). Most ski areas in the NY region seem to do that or some other type of promotion.
I even called them to ask if they had anything and they responded as if I was from another planet and was talking crazy...
So..you won't be going then
post #16 of 34
Happy to announce that Camelback is opening on December 5th, 2008. *early for them, usually something like the 15th*
~Skierboy
post #17 of 34
I skied years ago one night at Blue when I was in the Philly area. At that time they had the 1 High speed chair servicing the steeper run . It was pretty "scratchy" by the evening . What I remember most was at the bottom run out of the run serviced by the high speed chair, somehow I fell down stopping or something and fell backwards with the tail of my ski levering into the snow, I torqued my knee a little bit but was OK. It was the strangest thing I must of been skiing at about 5 mph when it happened. Anyway, I tool it as an omen and never went back. Getting a 1,000 vert. in Pa. is a good thing along with 2 high speeds. Never been to Elk or Camelback.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundturns View Post
I skied years ago one night at Blue when I was in the Philly area. At that time they had the 1 High speed chair servicing the steeper run . It was pretty "scratchy" by the evening . What I remember most was at the bottom run out of the run serviced by the high speed chair, somehow I fell down stopping or something and fell backwards with the tail of my ski levering into the snow, I torqued my knee a little bit but was OK. It was the strangest thing I must of been skiing at about 5 mph when it happened. Anyway, I tool it as an omen and never went back. Getting a 1,000 vert. in Pa. is a good thing along with 2 high speeds. Never been to Elk or Camelback.
Sounds like the "granulated sugar" that Blue calls snow, it is like quicksand. No one turns snow to ice like Blue.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phillycore View Post
Never been to Hunter, but...

Blue > Camelback for DAMN sure!!!

OMG, its that time of year again.


Go the 15 minutes and go to Elk, there's no comparison. Elk is on-par with Hunter and Windham but neither CB or Blue come close. Blue could be a decent place but it has a real problem with their grooming and snow making. Camelback would be the better of the two. Also, blue tends to close off its best run "razors edge" for the ski team very often, including on weekends.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
Sounds like the "granulated sugar" that Blue calls snow, it is like quicksand. No one turns snow to ice like Blue.
exactly, they blow "snow" so it holds better so it's a much heavier, icey granular. They also blow and spred instead of whaling it and letting it dry out and then groom, the result is a lot of death cookies and clumping.
post #21 of 34
Blue looks like it has some decent expert terrain... do the double blacks rate in STEEPNESS AND UNGROOMNESS (lol is that word?) and NOT conditions to Hunter and Windham double blacks?

edit: Camelback and Blue look better than Elk... besides the vertical of course but 200 feet is a small difference
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiking4 View Post
Blue looks like it has some decent expert terrain... do the double blacks rate in STEEPNESS AND UNGROOMNESS (lol is that word?) and NOT conditions to Hunter and Windham double blacks?
In a word, No.

Disclaimer: I have never skied Windham. But remember, as has been written here many times before, the trail rating system is only relative to the mountain (hill). I do know that Blue, Camelback and Elk have nothing that compares to Hunter's west side. I do not konw how the double-blacks at Windham compare to Hunter's west side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skiking4 View Post
edit: Camelback and Blue look better than Elk... besides the vertical of course but 200 feet is a small difference
Is this what you really meant to type? No one in PA would agree with this.
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
OMG, its that time of year again.


Go the 15 minutes and go to Elk, there's no comparison. Elk is on-par with Hunter and Windham but neither CB or Blue come close. Blue could be a decent place but it has a real problem with their grooming and snow making. Camelback would be the better of the two. Also, blue tends to close off its best run "razors edge" for the ski team very often, including on weekends.
+1

Also, both Camelback and Blue are zoos most weekends. Elk less so - but no high speed lifts there. Mid-week days are generally very nice at all three.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by skierboy View Post
Happy to announce that Camelback is opening on December 5th, 2008. *early for them, usually something like the 15th*
~Skierboy
Nice thought. But only if the weather cooperates.
post #25 of 34
IMHO:
Windham has no steep slopes to speak of. <> <> -- a joke. Platttekill is better.
Blue is as described above. Both the praise and the critiques are accurate.
Elk has fine snow, pleasant terrain (with 2-3 decent steep faces), lots of woodsy trails (N.B. woods are closed!), good moguls, crowds on major weekends. A worthwhile place for 1-2 days and a good alternate to Hunter.
CB stinks for all the reasons stated, plus 1 more -- it is UGLY.

Many ski shops (including Buckman's) in greater Philly offer discount tix to all of the above. Acme grocery will too once the season gets started.
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeleMac View Post
Acme grocery will too once the season gets started.

Speaking of Acme, if anyone close to one can send me a package of as many Voortman's cookies as will fit in a USPS box, I will be eternally grateful (or at least until I eat them all!) I'm talking about those flat chocolate ones with the chocolate glaze that are sold by the pound...no luck finding them in NYC yet and I'm craving them! The 25¢ original Peanut Chews sold at Wawa come at a close second...at least I'll be back on voting day and will grab some then!

Back on topic, though, I skiied at Shawnee for 15 years. GREAT SkiWee Ski School (I went through it and then started instructing there), and if all the trails are open there's lots of nice diversity in the trails. One of the better lodges I've been in, as well, if we're talking about that. Better crowd control than either Blue or Camelback. I'll say it again...GREAT ski school.

Snö Mountain (formerly Montage) is pretty decent, and has a nice "small-town" feel to it. Few crowds, decent runs, though not as much spread as at Shawnee. They split the mountain in the middle so that the bottom 500' of vertical are blacks and the top 500' are blues and greens. Snö has some of the steepest trails in PA, though like all trails in the Poconos, they tend to be pretty short!

Elk is also good to get away from the crowds and get some good runs in. The people are great there, and the mountain has some great spread, especially for something in PA. Pack some warm clothes if you go, though: Elk is sort of the Whiteface of the Poconos, bringing in the highest number of frost-bite warning days out of all the resorts in the area! Cold weather means good snow, but they can get some wind up there that'll make you wish you were actually gaper enough to buy a ski mask.

If you're equidistant from both the Catskills and the Poconos, I'd opt for Windham or Belleayre in the Cats. Less crowded than Hunter, same skiing, and (especially true at Belleayre), better grooming/snow. For my own personal tastes, I'm trying to hit up the Adirondacks or the Greens as much as possible...slightly longer commute, but much better vert!
post #27 of 34
Thread Starter 
I want to go to Belleayre this year too.
Have you been to their website this season already - there are some comments about some reduced funding from the State because of the budget deficit. Do you think it'll get much worse or will they still make snow just like before? I don't mind a couple of lifts not running, but quality snow is a priority.

I've been to Hunter and Windham in the past couple of years a few times. I find that the Windham layout is a bit more practical than Hunter's, but every time I went to Hunter and Windham on the same week, the snow conditions were way better at Hunter (all man made snow in those occasions).

For where I live in NJ, Elk is the exact same distance as Hunter/Windham/Belleayre, so just based on the stats, I think it's not worth the drive...
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post
Just curious...

Have any Bears participated in Blue's mid-week race clinc series and if so, how was it?
Anybody planning on doing the series this year? I'm considering it.
I've done it a couple of times (not last year, too much time out west) and I thought it was great for my technique. It's a mixed bunch -- a couple of Nastar hotshots, some club racers, and some casual folks like myself who do it for fun and coaching but will never compete. As a result, they usually break it up into two groups so the gapers like me don't slow up the fast folks. It looks like I'll be around for 4 of the six days, so I haven't made up my mind about this year.
post #29 of 34
I have not yet been to Camelback, but I remember a few years ago asking one of the workers at Princeton Ski if he knew the conditions up there and his reply was: Camelback...man why would you to go to Camelback? Ill save you the trip go find a parking lot that has not been plowed yet, you'll have a better time and have more of a drop. I never forgot that....but I still want to check it out.

I like Windham but I like Hunter better....might just be because I have been there more times.
post #30 of 34
IMO:

for experts:
Hunter > Windham > Belleayre

for advanced:
Hunter > Bellayre > Windham

for intermediate:
Belleayre = Windham > Hunter

For beginner:
Belleayre > Hunter = Windham
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