What’s New on the Pennsylvania Ski Slopes
A major game changing expansion on the Pocono Mountain winter sports scene and a blizzard of enhanced snow-making across Pennsylvania sets the tone for a welcome winter on skis and boards. This season, it’s about expansion and snow. The Pennsylvania slopes will positively gleam with a mantle of white as snow-sport resorts across the state give nature a boost with the latest in snowmaking and grooming technology. But a new season also brings new terrain to explore, new hotels and accommodations, unique ticketing plans to provide more vertical footage for the buck and dynamic new slopeside spots to kick back after a day on the mountain. So, what’s new at your favorite Pennsylvania downhill destination? Let’s take the tour.
Camelback Mountain is bursting with expansion. The doors have opened on Camelback Lodge, a $163 million “Ski-In-Ski-Out” hotel that has been crafted around the largest indoor waterpark in the northeast. Camelback visitors this year will find 453 suites for destination accommodations, seven pools and 13 water slides in the naturally lit “Aquatopia”. Trail’s End Pub & Grille is the cool spot to be with its outdoor bar and patio, ski-in, ski-out service and warming fire pits, but there are additional bars and restaurants indoors as well as throughout the ski resort’s many guest lodges. Amenities and spas are all part of the dream that sparked owners Arthur Berry and Ken Ellis to launch the largest investment in Camelback’s 52 year history. But it doesn’t stop there. On the slopes, learning programs have been expanded to maintain the mountain’s reputation as a leader in converting beginners to lifetime ski and ride enthusiasts. The Snow Tubing Park is the largest in the nation with 42 chutes and two magic carpet lifts. PATT has decided to invest in photography and have reviewed various models of a 360 camera . This will let us explore new technologies and advanced ways to market PA Travel.
At Shawnee Mountain, the most popular black diamond slope is getting a major snowmaking boost. Two new SMI Super PoleCat tower mounted snow machines have been planted on “Lower Tomahawk”. Electrically powered, the Super PoleCat is a high-performance, big throw snow machine that is energy efficient and fully automated. Mounted on towers high along the edge of the trail, the radio controlled and oscillating Super PoleCats are expected to quickly and efficiently cover and keep covered, Tomahawk’s steep headwall with a dependable deep base of machine made snow. The Shawnee Rental Facility is now able to outfit over 4000 skiers and riders, making it one of the largest rental shops in the country.
A new full service restaurant is on the menu for the dawn of a new season at Jack Frost Mountain. In winter sports tradition, burgers and flatbreads will top the menu items – finger food that’s perfect for that laid-back lunch between runs or while relaxing after the lifts close with a nibble, a toddy and some acoustic music to keep the action alive. On the mountain, it’s back to ramping up the snow with an expanded arsenal of hi-tech SMI fan guns to keep the powder inventory growing. Also look for an expanded stock of new high performance gear in the rental shop. Meanwhile sister-area Big Boulder joins the snow blast movement with its own wizardry. New SMI fan guns here will boost the ride and slide experience on parks and trails. And for the tubing crowd, the way to the top will be enhanced with a new 600′ Magic Carpet to ease the way up before the thrill of the ride down. Winter buffs will also glide into newly refurbished lodges and have an enhanced choice of rental equipment.
Innovation is alive and well at Blue Mountain. The learning experience takes a new twist for new and young skiers and riders. Beginning this season a pair of ski school programs starts off right in the rental shop where first timers and upwardly mobile learners will be paired up with their instructors to take the guess-work and stress out of everything from selecting equipment, to stepping into boards and skis and then taking those first steps on the snow. And what snow it will be. Fifty brand new low energy snow guns have been added to an already impressive arsenal. The Blue Mountain snowmaking system is now over 50 percent automated. And to keep the fun rolling during those evening hours, Blue Mountain will be offering a special “Ski, Ride and Dine” package that includes lift tickets and dinner.
Elk Mountain, which rises over northeastern Pennsylvania and dominates the Endless Mountains, has continued its impressive multi-year tree planting program, with 800 new trees growing on the popular and scenic “Wissahickon” trail. This past summer saw extensive modifications and upgrades to the lift system that offers an eye-filling ride to the 1,000 vertical foot summit. The Elk snowmaking system gets another boost with enhancement to the pond, supplying the crucial water supply that morphs into a blizzard of fresh snow to start the season and keep powder on the mountain throughout the winter.
Alpine Mountain Resort in the heart of the Poconos has taken another step to make the weekend fun a lively affair when the skis and boards come off, and it’s time for apres ski relaxation. Construction has been completed on the Yuengling Bar and Grill. A new outdoor deck has been planted on the second floor of the lodge for those sunny days and there are new locker rooms for greater storage convenience. On the mountain, all lift towers have been refinished, snowmaking equipment has been upgraded, and brand new fan guns have been added to get more terrain open faster and keep it open, longer.
The big news at Montage Mountain is dynamic additions and improvements in the parks. Test ride the new surfacing on the fun boxes and improved stability on existing features plus some brand new action on tap. In Whistler Park, get ready for a new set of special features that will be the first-of-its-kind in mid-Atlantic riding. Advanced box and rail features will be a major part of improvements to the popular Spike Terrain Park.
Chutes, snow and sushi are the news at Bear Creek Mountain Resort this winter. The snowmaking system has taken another leap forward with a major expansion of the eye-filling lake that feeds an impressive array of blizzard-making pipes and guns. The Bear Creek snow tubing park has seen a major growth spurt as the chute-channeled action has doubled and pumped more flexibility into the fun for groups and families. But it’s the Grille which has become a local sipping and supping hot spot that takes the snow sport dining experience to the summit. Bear Creek has added a sushi bar and two expert sushi chefs to the mix. Look for sushi related events and specials to liven up the vibe around the Grille fireside.
Stunning panoramic vistas of Liberty Mountain and the neighboring Carroll Valley Golf Course are part of the dramatically designed 83,000 square foot Highland Lodge. Surrounded by the beauty of Central Pennsylvania’s wooded setting, the brand new lodge which will open for the start of the season is an oasis of terraces, new hotel rooms and suites, a pair of tempting restaurants, pool, hot tubs, saunas, spa and a warming central fireplace.On the mountain, futuristic Techno Alpine snow guns have been added to a vast snowmaking system that is now connected to a nearby lake.
Skiers and riders will enjoy a new natural look on Roundtop Mountain this season. Electric lines have been buried on four popular slopes that now sport a new pristine appearance. Meanwhile, Roundtop piping that carries water to power snowmaking on slopes, trails and chutes has been replaced with the latest that technology has to offer. Portable sleds have been fitted with another 11 snow blasters to be moved when and where they’re needed. For more comfort heading to the summit, new padding has been added to the “Ramrod” and Fife and Drum” lifts.
Moguls will get a massage at Whitetail Mountain this season. New Techno Alpine snow guns will be planted on the popular “Exhibition” trail to keep the snow replenished, deep and rooster -tail powdery. But they’ll also enhance those finishing touches on the mogul fields to put that smooth gliding motion in quick turns on the bumps. Advanced skiers and riders will get their kicks with new snowmaking capacity on the black diamond, “Drop-In” trail. “Snow Park” conditions will have a ballroom finish thanks to the addition of new HDK green-energy snow guns.
Nordic skiers get a new outlook on life at the Crystal Lake Ski Center this winter. That lake-view wrap-around dining hall has been fitted with new windows to open a spectacular panorama on this central Pennsylvania winter wonderland. The Longhouse Ski Center is getting a revitalizing facelift and the trails have been brushed. Crystal Lake will be hosting some new and upgraded programs this season including monthly “Full Moon Skis,” “Wild Wednesdays” and combination guided trail tours and catered lunch. Cross-Country skiers will be able to pre-order sandwiches on weekends. Look for hot soup to be another weekend addition – just to take the chill off an invigorating day on the trail.
If you’re heading for State College this winter to visit or study, Tussy Mountain is an added attraction for skiers and riders. The rental shop has expanded its inventory of boards, boots and skis, making it more tempting to rent rather than tote. Look for a bigger blast of snow with the addition of new guns to the recent snowmaking system expansion. At the Snow Sports School, the popular children’s program has been extended to both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Lunch breaks will be getting more creative with the addition of a new chef, and a brighter look in the lodge after a paint-up facelift.
Western Pennsylvania is going western with a snow sports form that’s already sweeping the mountains of Colorado and Utah. Seven Springs Mountain Resort will begin allowing “uphill access”. “What’s that?” you ask. It’s simply the invigorating sports of skin and cross-country trekking that allows uphill and lateral movement. It’s a first for the Pennsylvania slopes. And there’ll be more snow for Seven Springs skiers, riders and trekkers. The resort also welcomes a new Ski School director. He’s no stranger to Seven Springs. J.B. Brier has a history with the resort’s Snow Sports school and holds top level certifications for instruction and training. For sipping and supping off the mountain, Seven Springs newest eatery, Foggy Brews will now have its doors open seven days a week.
Some of the most scenic glade skiing in the picturesque Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania gets even better this season at Hidden Valley Resort. Over the summer, crews were busy clearing the glades for a more exhilarating and challenging experience in a pristine wooded setting. To boost the rich Alleghany Mountain natural snowfall, Hidden Valley has bumped up its arsenal of portable snow guns backed up by a pair of new Prinoth grooming snow cats. The resort also welcomes a new Director of Snowsports. He’s Brett Lesnick, a Professional Ski Instructors Association level II Alpine Coach with a degree in Recreation and Park Management. He comes to Hidden Valley from his post as Director of the Kids Ski and Ride School at Wisp Mountain. And there’s a new look at the Hidden Valley lodge after a remodeling and paint-up overhaul.
For more information on PA Skiing experiences and information visit the PA Ski website.
Pennsylvania to undertake Comprehensive Tourism Marketing Study
Harrisburg, Pa. (July 29, 2015)—The Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism & the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association today announced Tourism Economics, in association with Longwoods International, will conduct one of the most comprehensive tourism marketing studies since the state of Colorado’s in 1993.
“We believe this Pennsylvania study will show a clear connection between increased marketing funds and increased visitor spending, with a high return on investment” said John Longstreet, PRLA president & CEO. “In 1993, Colorado cut its tourism promotion budget to zero, ultimately losing more than $2 billion annually in tourism revenue.”
“We are concerned that Pennsylvania is heading down the same path,” added Rob Fulton, PATT president & CEO. “Funding for tourism marketing in Pennsylvania has plunged from $30 million in 2010 to a proposed $4.3 million in 2015/16, and we have seen a steady decline in our share of all marketable leisure trips.”
Pennsylvania’s tourism marketing budget currently sits at 41st among the states despite tourism’s role in Pennsylvania’s economy. In 2013, tourism generated nearly $40 billion in visitor spending, produced more than $4 billion in state and local taxes, and sustained 479,000 jobs.
By marketing Pennsylvania as the prime tourism destination that it is, there will be a resulting increase in visitors. This will lead to increased business activity, tax generation and employment opportunities.
PRLA and PATT spearheaded the bid process on behalf of several other state tourism-related associations, as well as the state’s 49 destination marketing organizations, which are tasked with promoting the unique assets of their local areas. The RFP process yielded four proposals from which Tourism Economics was selected to analyze the economic impact of tourism marketing funding on the state’s overall general fund.
“Dedicating funds to tourism marketing from the hotel tax dollars we already collect will actually increase general fund revenue due to increased spending by out-of-state visitors,” said Longstreet. “Sometimes you need to spend money to make money.”
About Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association
Founded in 1937, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association promotes, protects, educates and improves the hospitality industry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. PRLA represents more than 2,500 members and their more than 7,500 locations. It conveys the unified voice of the hospitality industry to the Commonwealth’s citizenry and elected officials. Pennsylvania’s hospitality industry plays an integral role in the state’s economy, employing more than 960,000 people and generating revenues of more than $42 billion annually.
About Pennsylvania Association of Travel & Tourism
The Pennsylvania Association of Travel & Tourism strives to unify and lead Pennsylvania’s travel and tourism industry, presenting one voice on public policy while serving the needs of its diverse investors.
Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism
Director of Communications
Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association
OTHER TRAVEL AND TOURISM NEWS……
Bad news from Georgia. The House and Senate passed a new $5 tax on every hotel room in Georgia to fund transportation infrastructure.
NEW YORK STATE PROMOTES SKIING FOR SPRING BREAK
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed giving millions to the “I Love NY” advertising campaign, and is promoting the rest of April as “Ski NY Spring Break,” to encourage people to ski one of New York’s 52 ski areas, according to published reports.
The latter part of the ski season was good in the North Country, and tourist interests are hoping the initiatives aimed at bolstering ski tourism in the Adirondacks and elsewhere around the state will make an impression on winter sports lovers.
The ski promotion is being marketed through the I Ski NY website where a variety of discount options are available, including “learn to” packages that in the past have attracted 15,000 skiers, according to Cuomo.
Cuomo’s office says the governor is including in his 2015-16 budget proposal $25 million for the “I Love NY” advertising campaign. About $5 million of that will promote the Adirondacks, Cuomo said.