Camelback 2/15-2/16, 2014

Someone must have been looking over me this weekend. Got up early Saturday and left NNJ at about 5:45 for the 45 minute trip up to Camelback. Son had to be there at 7:20 for a team meeting and the wife and I would take advantage of our season pass 1st tracks at 7:30. Started to hit some snow at about Allamuchy mountain on 80, was light but sticking but no problem for us as we arrived at the mountain at about 10 of 7. We went to the locker room to get ready to go. It starts snowing harder. By the time we came out to go there was a fresh 3/4 of an inch of fluff over fresh cord on the groomed trails.

The mountain got about 15 from Thursdays storm and some of that had been blown around into pockets (more on that later). What had been groomed into the base is just beautiful natural snow, add this nice fluff falling out of the sky and it was absolutely great. Started with a series of groomers (skipping Rocket at this time) working the mountain west to east. Surprise #1: went for Big Pocono to Uncle Bills Way. There is a drop at the junction of these 2 trails that we love to take. My wife went for it, not noticing the sign (she was above it) saying ungroomed. She deserves great credit as she handled it great and bounced to a stop about a 1/4 of the way down a little surprised but not shaken. This is how we discovered Uncle Bills was bumped up. Not only that but between the bumps was this beautiful fluff. Continued our trek across the mountain hitting everything on the way across including Cliffhanger which had a wonderful set of moguls down the right hand side.

Surprise # 2, about 9:30 it was starting to become obvious that this was not a typical holiday Saturday because while not empty the lines were remaining short. About 10 it really started coming down. Skied several things not on the map and there were tracks in the woods next to Cliffy and pockets of pow all over the place, the snow out pacing the traffic. Broke for lunch and watched the snow pile up, still no big crowd. Came out after lunch and went bumping on Lower Cleo and Uncle Bills with that beautiful soft snow in the troughs but it was Rocket that took the cake. The bumps up top were nice but just below the initial headwall on the skiers right were uncut pockets of knee deep powder. Slashed and dashed that all afternoon till 3 when I had to shut it down to do other things with the wife. They got an honest 8-10 during the day judging from my car that I had to brush off. Went for an après ski drink and spoke with many people who have been there a long time and never seen the mountain ski this well, and never expect to see it again. It was like the mountain had been transported out of PA. Stayed over at our friends condo so we didn't have to yo-yo to NNJ.

Got up early Sunday not expecting the same result crowd wise so went for 1st tracks. Everything groomed to perfection except the 3 1/2 bump runs (Cliffy wide enough for 1/2 bumps, 1/2 groomed). Everything skied great as we once again covered most of the mountain. Crowds were busier but sticking to a combination of Sullivan Quad (singles line) and Marc Antony Chair was able to go have fun on Rocket, Lower Cleo and my trail of the weekend Uncle Bills Way. Who ever made the decision to let that bump up deserves major kudo's. What a fun run, lapped it about 5 straight time in the afternoon. The lines getting into Camelback were insane. I heard that there were at least 2 (maybe 3) accidents on the access road and it may have actually been closed for a while. I feel sorry for those people but it may have saved my day.

This probably being my last year as a Pocono home skier, I'm getting quite the send off. Blue was great at the beginning of the month, Camelback great this weekend and I'm looking forward to Elk next weekend. Pass prices for next year were announced this weekend and I'm not sure its going to be in our plans. I will try to find the time to down load some pictures and post them of this last weekend. For the Pocono's it was epic.


Lake Hopatcong, NJ

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