EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Poconos (Lk. Harmony) for a month. Tips: best ski'ing, bars, restaurants...etc.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Poconos (Lk. Harmony) for a month. Tips: best ski'ing, bars, restaurants...etc.

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I am renting a house for a month starting this weekend with a bunch of friends.  I've mostly been skiing in Vermont the past few years (Stratton) but it's harder and harder to get to on a regular basis and with a bit more disposable income I decided to rent for a month in the poconos (although just going on weekends).  I've skiied the poconos recently enough to know that it's not nearly as good (so you can leave out that kinda stuff)...basically looking for any tips from regulars.  Whether it's a suggestion on which local mountain (think I'm doing mostly Jack Frost and might make a trip or two to Elk) or on a local bar to check out at night, restaurant, or even a good band that plays the area.

Again, wanted to take another minute to thank everyone as I've lurked here for some time and have gotten some great info from this site.
post #2 of 26
I've skied the poke-your-nose every year around Xmas for the last decade, or at least those years where there was snow.  Jack Frost seemed to be the best of the lot from a snow quality perspective; the more I ski, the more I realize that good snow is more important than almost everything else.  I haven't been to Elk or Mt Sno.  Blue is worth skiing midweek if the snow is good.  Camelback, BIg Boulder, Spring Mt,  et al are eminently skippable.

Sorry, but I can't offer much more advice.  Your plan for Elk and JF seems pretty good.
post #3 of 26
 Sno Mountain can be fun. The terrain park is a bit over sized for a mountain this size with the average ability of the skiers there. (Never saw a soul even look at hitting the jumps they have setup) They have a decent mogul run in White Lightning when there's enough snow to have moguls (the lighting is horrible in the afternoon though so make it an AM run).

I'd personally say Elk is one of if not the best mountains in PA. There is all kinds of terrain variety plenty of moguls and a good terrain park. Sno has more steep stuff though if you prefer more challenge to more variety. 
post #4 of 26
For sure hit Camelback too.  The high speed quads make it fun to get in the vertical.
post #5 of 26
Elk is the best hands down for a "Mountain" in the ... pick-your-nose .... and just remember ..... You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but, you can't pick your friends nose.

Slo Mountain isn't horrible but the lifts are slooooooooooooooooooow and during spring you will swear you can watch the grass grow.  The kicker about some of the steeper faster trails is that it takes you like a minute and a half to ski down and then spend something like ten or twenty on the way back up.  Man those lifts are slow and ....

Slo Mountain .. the only time I went was on race days and then listen to the wail of the kids .... "My skis are gone" .. and yeah they even tried to wrench my locked skis off the racks in front of the building on a crowded day and man they worked at it and wrecked the top sheets ... didn't get the skis .... but with hundreds of people how did they even try this?  Man check em' or lock em' at Slow Mountain.

Big Boulder and Jack Frost are the same company with two hillls a few miles apart.  Not bad and not as commercial as Camelback but nothing to write to write home to Mom about.

Elk .... just stay from the burgers they are horrible ..... nice people at the place ..... nice hill but man ...... unless things have changed ... the pizza is just OK but the burgers are made from ???? and I wish it was elk ...
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by aszatk01 View Post

  Whether it's a suggestion on which local mountain (think I'm doing mostly Jack Frost and might make a trip or two to Elk) or on a local bar to check out at night, restaurant, or even a good band that plays the area.

Again, wanted to take another minute to thank everyone as I've lurked here for some time and have gotten some great info from this site.
Second Elk and Jack Frost.  Maybe Blue, but only midweek, otherwise it's crowded and icy.

As far as bars, and bands......check out the schedule at Penn's Peak outside of Jim Thorpe; they usually have some pretty good bands and it's a neat venue, like a big lodge up on a hill. www.pennspeak.com/ Or the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe is an awesome place (I live 2 blocks away and go there regularly)....www.mauchchunkoperahouse.com.......they have great concerts and the town itself is pretty neat, too.  Check out the restaurants Flow and Moya, or the bar at JT's or at Molly Maguires.
post #7 of 26
 Elk is a good mountain.  I think the best in PA.  

I had a great Buffalo burger on the way home once.  Also, Scranton is a fun town.  The BOG is a great place to drink, and there are tons of other good bars.

Sno, Camelback, and Jack Frost are best visited mid-week.  You'll never have crowds at Elk.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

Slo Mountain .. the only time I went was on race days and then listen to the wail of the kids .... "My skis are gone" .. and yeah they even tried to wrench my locked skis off the racks in front of the building on a crowded day and man they worked at it and wrecked the top sheets ... didn't get the skis .... but with hundreds of people how did they even try this?  Man check em' or lock em' at Slow Mountain.
 

I'd say check 'em or lock 'em anywhere in the pokeyernose. 

A couple years ago at Spring Mt I stopped for lunch, locked my skis as per usual, and when I returned someone had stolen the lock.  Yes, you heard that right, they stole the lock.  They left the skis behind (Olins, hardly worth stealing)  but took the lock.   The hooligans there steal for practice.

Forewarned is forearmed.
post #9 of 26
I've skied a dozen or so times at sno and never had problems with theft. 2 seasons ago my mom grabbed the wrong skis and we drove home with them.  We called in the morning and her skis were still there, no one had tried to claim the skis we accidentallly grabbed. Even leaving the skis there for hours unattended unlocked they never walked off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

Elk is the best hands down for a "Mountain" in the ... pick-your-nose .... and just remember ..... You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but, you can't pick your friends nose.

Slo Mountain isn't horrible but the lifts are slooooooooooooooooooow and during spring you will swear you can watch the grass grow.  The kicker about some of the steeper faster trails is that it takes you like a minute and a half to ski down and then spend something like ten or twenty on the way back up.  Man those lifts are slow and ....

Slo Mountain .. the only time I went was on race days and then listen to the wail of the kids .... "My skis are gone" .. and yeah they even tried to wrench my locked skis off the racks in front of the building on a crowded day and man they worked at it and wrecked the top sheets ... didn't get the skis .... but with hundreds of people how did they even try this?  Man check em' or lock em' at Slow Mountain.

Big Boulder and Jack Frost are the same company with two hillls a few miles apart.  Not bad and not as commercial as Camelback but nothing to write to write home to Mom about.

Elk .... just stay from the burgers they are horrible ..... nice people at the place ..... nice hill but man ...... unless things have changed ... the pizza is just OK but the burgers are made from ???? and I wish it was elk ...
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hey all, really appreciate the comments.  I'm glad to see a general agreement on my plan of attack.  Unfortunately I won't be making it up mid-week at all, just a weekend thing.  The theft comments will definitely steer me towards being secure.  Which brings up another random question:

Any lockers on Jack Frost that have the combo locks for the lockers or are they all quarter fed like most places? I bought a ton of new gear this year and because of that not sure how my layering is going to work in any given conditions and probably will need to make a few trips to the locker!

Thanks for all the bar suggestions, I will try and give em all a go...but thinking right now--a nice micro brew in the hot tub at the place after a long day of skiiing sounds preeeeetty good right about now.
post #11 of 26
Frost has a free ski and bag check.  There is no real need to pay for a locker there.  The snow at Frost is worth going for, despite the lack of vertical.

Blue has good terrain but their snow sucks pretty much all the time and the weekends are insane.

Elk is the best bet.  Best mountain in PA.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
^^very cool, thanks.

Ok so next question:

Anyone recommend a place to wax and tune?  Preferably in Lk Harmony itself or as close as possible that does a decent job for a decent price?  I'd most likely drop em off Sunday on my way home and pick up the next Friday for the weekend.
post #13 of 26
Only one in that area is 10 miles south.  There was a kid at The Loft on the road to Camelback that did a decent hand or race tune.  I forget his name.

I'd avoid the places on the way in to BB .... two "quick tune & wax" specials that were better not being done.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
did a google map search and came up with Mike n' Matt's Snowboard shop.  only 2 miles away and claim on their website to have all been tuning for 10+ years and take it seriously...
worth a shot i guess.
post #15 of 26
Idlewild Ski Shop, near Elk. Best ski shop in Pennsylvania hands down.

As for skiing, drive the extra distance to Elk. Everything (except the lifts) is better there. Avoid Blue Mountain on weekends- calling it a zoo would be an understatement. It's a decent mountain but the crowds are unbearable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aszatk01 View Post

^^very cool, thanks.

Ok so next question:

Anyone recommend a place to wax and tune?  Preferably in Lk Harmony itself or as close as possible that does a decent job for a decent price?  I'd most likely drop em off Sunday on my way home and pick up the next Friday for the weekend.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
 Awesome I'll definitely try and check that place out...looking for it i realized Elk was much further than I thought (about an hour and a half) verse 30 mins.  Don't know why I thought that but getting the girlfriend/rest of crew to drive over an hour when we're a mile from Jack Frost might be a bit difficult! :(
post #17 of 26
As you have already discovered, the skiing in the poconos isn't great- but it's better than nothing.  I've done the much of my skiing the past couple years in the poconos , and I am likely to do so again this year.  Others have given you some very good information.  As far as bars/restaurants/activities-  Pick up a copy of the local paper or This Week in the Pocons from WaWa. TW in the Poconos lists lots of bars/ect and has an events listings (also online).  You also have several options along the access road to Split Rock -but don't forget about the dollar toll each way. If you are looking for a small but decent restaurant close to you, try Terra Cottage.  Lots of locals like it but its BYOB.   There is also a  ski shop about 1-2 miles west on 940 from the entrance to Jack Frost.  I think its Alpinia Ski/940 Snowboard.   I have skied quite a bit at Jack Frost, Camelback, and Blue Mt, and less frequently at Elk and Big Boulder.

Jack Frost-   Close for you. Good snowmaking and decent grooming. Can get crowded for parking and on beginner/int runs but east mountain rarely has much wait in the liftline.  The lodge has a small upstairs bar and frequently has a band.  If you are lucky enough to be there for a decent snow, they do have some small gladed areas that are open for skiing.  As far as I know, Elk , Camelback and Blue do not allow off trail skiing.  The big downside is the runs are short and limited steeps. Has a demo day scheduled for this Sunday I believe.

Camelback-  More selection of "expert" runs, and reasonably close but can be more crowded than JF and main lodge food may be even worse.

Elk-    A haul to get to.  Longer runs and more steeps and bumped runs, better natural snow but less snowmaking.  Also,  a strange set up with the shuttle b/w parking and  main lodge.

Blue-longer  runs, fair steeps but a real zoo (to the point of being dangerous) on weekends. Also warmer and even more likely to get rain.

Big Boulder-  caters to boarders


Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions, or maybe I;ll see you on the slopes.  Most weekends I will be at Jf or Camelbk, sometimes with and sometimes w/o my kids.    
                                                                                                                     
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
^^Thanks for all the info.  I'll def. make a pit stop on my way in tomorrow and pick up the local paper!

If you're there I'll be the one sporting my new orange Arc'teryx jacket!

PS: Looks like some actual snow fell there this week!
post #19 of 26
FYI:  Elk is having a demo day tomorrow.  A sizable crew of bears will be there...
post #20 of 26
Another Elk shout out here.
My entire family learned to ski there. Me too at age 36/37.

Yes, the "cattle car" from the parking lot to the base is a pain.
But a short pain.

And DITTO to the Idlewild ski shop thumbs up!
Has an amazing selection of good quality skis/boots for a place in the middle of nowhere! Literally!

Has Fishcher/Head/K2 etc.

Some of the staff if VERY knowledgeable about boot fit. They had a dowel there sized for both race/recreation boot fit.
Impressive.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCS View Post

Another Elk shout out here.
My entire family learned to ski there. Me too at age 36/37.

Yes, the "cattle car" from the parking lot to the base is a pain.
But a short pain.

And DITTO to the Idlewild ski shop thumbs up!
Has an amazing selection of good quality skis/boots for a place in the middle of nowhere! Literally!

Has Fishcher/Head/K2 etc.

Some of the staff if VERY knowledgeable about boot fit. They had a dowel there sized for both race/recreation boot fit.
Impressive.



Hate the cattle car thingie but it sure beats walking up that hill!!!

As for Idlewild, I agree about the bootfitting expertise- I got mine done there and I'm very picky about my feet because of diabetes, they get very cold and uncomfortable, especially in race boots. He got me in Nordica Dobermann 130's with a custom footbed which I can wear all over the mountain (and not to mention a SUPER price.) Was supposed to be at Elk this weekend actually but don't think I'm up to the drive.
post #22 of 26

 I forgot to mention a couple of places you may want to check out.  On the road up to Camelback there is a restaurant/brewery (Barley Creek) thats a nice place to stop at the end of the day.  Also, just down the road on route 611 is the Pocono Brewing Co. which frequently has some form of entertainment, including a comedy club.  In between the two are the shopping outlets.  Something for everyone. Hopefully, there will be a bit of fresh snow to soften the slopes for this weekend. Might have to make the drive up, probably to JF.

 

post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Geez, with all these Elk shout outs, I hope I can get the gang to travel up there...might be hard though. 
As for Idlewild I'm glad that it's far way...I've spent enough money this year on gear and such! 
post #24 of 26
Elk is not a "bee-all-end-all" so, depending on where you have been, don't be disappointed.  It is, a quiet decent hill with a pretty good lift and like all PA hills, the trails are short.

Be wary of the one on the SE side if you are with beginners, a few times since it's long and winding they didn't make snow but it look soooooo inviting with the 3 inches of fresh stuff.  Scraaaaaaaaaaaaaape ... first turn .... I did that whole run using a little edge as possible.
post #25 of 26
Elk is really not beginner friendly.  I also wouldn't say its a full 1.5 hour from Lake Harmony.  It is worth the trek a few times though, especially if you have fresh snow.

If you ski Jack Frost, immediately go to East Mountain and hide there until lunch.  It doesn't get crowded until the gapers work their way over from the left hand beginner trails to the right hand East Mountain.  After lunch, it has a tendency to scrape off and ice up pretty quick.  Head back towards the central blues and blacks at that point and play in the trees.  There is no official "out of bounds" areas at JF now.  Within the limits of the area, it is all fair game unless explicitly marked.  Unfortunately, there is rarely enough snow in the trees to do any of the more interesting lines.  It definitely does not work that way at Elk.  Straying from the marked trails is strictly forbidden, so poach at your ticket's peril.
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
^^ thanks that's good info to heed!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Poconos (Lk. Harmony) for a month. Tips: best ski'ing, bars, restaurants...etc.