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Mountain Creek observations and questions

Domeskier

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I've had fun at Mountain Creek after a storm when they let some of the trails bump up. Crowds are definitely an issue on mid-winter weekends, but no worse than the Poconos or Hunter. I think Blue and Camelback ski bigger. The most similar place I've been is Wachusetts. I go the extra distance to the Poconos because it's the closest place to NYC with consistent bump skiing. I'm not sure it would be worth the extra drive time if I were just interested in skiing groomers or hanging out in parks. If the chance to ski between trees mattered to me, I'd probably head to the Catskills.
 

deadheadskier

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I can only go on photo evidence, but I've seen many trip reports on here from Bellyare over the years showing great spring bumps on numerous runs. That would be reason for me to visit.

The reality is that it's unlikely I ever ski down there. My 2-3 visits to Mahwah a year are always between April and November. It would be cool to experience the Catskills, but they are 5 hours away; same distance as the Adirondacks. Id rather hit Gore and Whiteface

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ScottySkis

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I can only go on photo evidence, but I've seen many trip reports on here from Bellyare over the years showing great spring bumps on numerous runs. That would be reason for me to visit.

The reality is that it's unlikely I ever ski down there. My 2-3 visits to Mahwah a year are always between April and November. It would be cool to experience the Catskills, but they are 5 hours away; same distance as the Adirondacks. Id rather hit Gore and Whiteface

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Catskills about 2 hours from that part of NJ
 

burntpancakes

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Mountain Creek is 45 minutes from me. The Cats are 2 hours. So for me the choice is easy. I would much rather drive an extra hour or so and ski vastly superior terrain (and conditions) in the Catskills. The season at MC is also shorter than the Cats. They get less snow than the Cats. The terrain is less interesting than the Cats (Cats have a decent variety of groomed, moguls, natural trails, and even glades while MC is mostly just groomers).

To me any negativity towards MC is justified based on my personal experience. Now I can't compare it to the MA feeder hills you mentioned. So I can't say whether or not it is better than any of them. But to me the Cats are close enough to day trip to over MC any day.

Where do you go in the Cats?
 

drewfidelic

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+1 Grew up in NJ and never skied Vernon Valley-Great Gorge (Mountain Creek) — I’ve always assumed it’s only the starter jacket and jeans crowd (which is only a percentage of the crowds at Hunter)
 

Zand

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I can only go on photo evidence, but I've seen many trip reports on here from Bellyare over the years showing great spring bumps on numerous runs. That would be reason for me to visit.

The reality is that it's unlikely I ever ski down there. My 2-3 visits to Mahwah a year are always between April and November. It would be cool to experience the Catskills, but they are 5 hours away; same distance as the Adirondacks. Id rather hit Gore and Whiteface

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I know I'm an hour closer than you are to NY, but after one of those Catskill Special type storms where they get 3+ feet, the ADKs are too far north to get much, and Eastern NE is rain, take a ride to Plattekill. One of the most fun places I've ever skied in the east.
 

deadheadskier

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Maybe. Google maps says 4:47 door to door for me. That's under the best of driving conditions, which given the traffic hell hole Mass has become over the past ten years means basically never. It would likely be closer to six hours. If I'm spending that much time in the car, it would have to be for at least three days of skiing.

My tolerance for long drives to go skiing is low. I apend 800 miles a week on the road for work on average. Adding another 600 for a weekend skiing isn't appealing.

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BenedictGomez

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Adding another 600 for a weekend skiing isn't appealing.

Dunno if it changes anything, but you'll get more vertical in one day than you would in several days at most resorts. There are powder Saturdays at Platty when I cant make it the full day and retire by 2:30pm. Ski-on always. That's saying something. Obviously you cant do this regularly, but if there's a Presidents Day Weekend or MLK you were going to skip with great conditions, you'd have a blast at Plattekill.
 

Siliconebobsquarepants

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Dunno if it changes anything, but you'll get more vertical in one day than you would in several days at most resorts. There are powder Saturdays at Platty when I cant make it the full day and retire by 2:30pm. Ski-on always. That's saying something. Obviously you cant do this regularly, but if there's a Presidents Day Weekend or MLK you were going to skip with great conditions, you'd have a blast at Plattekill.

Storm Riley was Plattys busiest day in their history . It took me 45 minutes to leave the cars were parked literally 2 miles out the entrance road, the longest lift line wait was 5 minutes . The place is Heaven on earth!!! It's 3 hours for me and worth every minute !!!
 

deadheadskier

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Dunno if it changes anything, but you'll get more vertical in one day than you would in several days at most resorts. There are powder Saturdays at Platty when I cant make it the full day and retire by 2:30pm. Ski-on always. That's saying something. Obviously you cant do this regularly, but if there's a Presidents Day Weekend or MLK you were going to skip with great conditions, you'd have a blast at Plattekill.
I would certainly appreciate that. Of course where I ski most is probably the best Mountain in the East for cranking vertical. Between a HSQ hitting 2100 vert in 7 minutes with usually a 5 minute wait 10 tops on weekends and two other chairs that are ski on, Wildcat is the best I've skied for that.

I would actually love to ski Platty. It's my no frills kinda place with old school terrain. I think more than anything I'm being stubborn because of "life". The 800 miles a week on the road, usually involving 2-3 overnights, a wife, a 9 month old, a 4 year old, a new puppy....long list of shit that makes me say, "How the hell do I find the time to head over there."

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Zand

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Not that it changes the drive time or mileage, but every year around St Patricks Day Platty has a ski for free with any season pass day.
 

ScottySkis

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DHS I think if u check out plattekill maybe wait few years to both your children can due family stuff their they great for family.
 

BenedictGomez

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Storm Riley was Plattys busiest day in their history . It took me 45 minutes to leave the cars were parked literally 2 miles out the entrance road, the longest lift line wait was 5 minutes . The place is Heaven on earth!!! It's 3 hours for me and worth every minute !!!

I recall 3 or 4 years ago being there on a PDW Saturday, and the lift attendant was actually apologizing for the "wait", which was maybe 2 or 3 minutes. LOL

DHS I think if u check out plattekill maybe wait few years to both your children can due family stuff their they great for family.

I dont know if I'll still be in the northeast in a few years, but either Platty or Magic (or both) is where I think I'll want my daughter to learn. Both are relatively empty mountains with an unusually high density of experts, which I speculate has to be a safer environment for toddlers on the hill. Dunno if either of them have decent ski instructors or programs, but for kids recreational skiing I cant imagine better places.
 

cdskier

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If you only have 1 day, there'd never be a reason to hit Belleayre instead of Hunter or Platty.

I disagree with that. If it is a Monday-Thursday and Platty is closed, I'd still take Belleayre's bumps, natural runs, glades, and additional natural snowfall over Hunter.

I can only go on photo evidence, but I've seen many trip reports on here from Bellyare over the years showing great spring bumps on numerous runs. That would be reason for me to visit.

Yes, even mid-winter Belleayre does a nice job with having a good variety of trails with bumps. They also have glades that are open more often than any of the woods at Hunter (Belleayre sees more natural snowfall typically).

Where do you go in the Cats?

Platty or Belleayre typically, although now it is only 1-2 days a winter at the most in the Cats as I'm usually in VT most weekends.
 

JimG.

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I disagree with that. If it is a Monday-Thursday and Platty is closed, I'd still take Belleayre's bumps, natural runs, glades, and additional natural snowfall over Hunter.

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Belleayre sucks definitely go to Hunter.
 

x10003q

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Do not waste a day Mountain Creek. The terrain is universally boring at this point. There used to be many more trails and the trails were narrower and possibly steeper (they seem to have graded certain trails) . We skied the place quite a bit when it was still Vernon Valley/Great Gorge. Despite being less than an hour away from our house, we have not been there in 15 years.

Now, for day trips, we always head to Plattekill on weekends and Hunter midweek. Belleayre is fun, but the steeper sections are short. From the Sheraton Crossroads in Mahwah, Plattekill is 1:45, Hunter or Belleayre is about 1:25. Hunter midweek skis steep and huge with 3 high speed lifts and Hunter has monster snowmaking capabilities. Hunter is an absolute joy midweek. Plattekill is the weekend choice with zero crowds and great terrain, but they have less snowmaking than the other 2. They also get more natural snow than Belleayre and a lot more natural snow vs Hunter. Platte also has a go anywhere policy which is awesome when they have a normal snow season.

I have only managed to ski Elk once due to its location. It is 2:30 from me (Platty is 2:00, Gore is 3:10). It skis similarly to Platty, but with more people, less natural snow, and less steepness. The owners kind of suck, too, for various reasons including a zero skiing in the woods policy. I did enjoy the place the one day I skied it.
 

NY DirtBag

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I recall 3 or 4 years ago being there on a PDW Saturday, and the lift attendant was actually apologizing for the "wait", which was maybe 2 or 3 minutes. LOL



I dont know if I'll still be in the northeast in a few years, but either Platty or Magic (or both) is where I think I'll want my daughter to learn. Both are relatively empty mountains with an unusually high density of experts, which I speculate has to be a safer environment for toddlers on the hill. Dunno if either of them have decent ski instructors or programs, but for kids recreational skiing I cant imagine better places.

I can highly recommend Magic Devo program for 5-8 year olds. Good group of people. Kids and families down to earth. Daughter loved it. we are signed up again this year. I don't know about further up racing or freestyle programs yet. I 'think' the race coaches get poached by OMS/KMS/SMS as I would imagine its better $ and more resources for them.
 

gladerider

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There used to be more trails on granite...but they've closed some of them over the years (Pipeline apparently had too many injuries or so I heard). But yes, that peak is largely under-used and just a relatively pointless connector for the most part.

Personally I skied there a bunch when I was in HS and just starting to ski (my school did our ski club trips there either my Junior and Senior years or just my Senior year...prior to that we went to a mountain up the road called Hidden Valley which I don't even think is open any more or at least not open to the public). After HS I re-visited Mountain Creek only once a couple years after I was out of college with my dad.

Here's my take:

My favorite terrain was on South and Bear peaks. Those peaks are now mostly giant terrain parks. (Strike one)
The Cabriolet sucks (seriously...taking your skis off and having to stand the entire ride up is horrible) (Strike two)
Back in HS I felt it had decent pitch. When I re-visited it several years later it felt very flat and seemed to ski shorter than the vertical supposedly is (Strike three)

Mountain Creek is 45 minutes from me. The Cats are 2 hours. So for me the choice is easy. I would much rather drive an extra hour or so and ski vastly superior terrain (and conditions) in the Catskills. The season at MC is also shorter than the Cats. They get less snow than the Cats. The terrain is less interesting than the Cats (Cats have a decent variety of groomed, moguls, natural trails, and even glades while MC is mostly just groomers).

To me any negativity towards MC is justified based on my personal experience. Now I can't compare it to the MA feeder hills you mentioned. So I can't say whether or not it is better than any of them. But to me the Cats are close enough to day trip to over MC any day.

you pretty much wrote what i had in mind.

i grew up skiing MC. learned how to ski there. proximity to NYC has pros and cons. it draws the crowd as you would expect but the real skiing population from NYC will head up north. any devoted NYC day tripper they had got turned off by the types of kids they attracted all season round. years ago they were hurting pretty badly due to low snow level. started selling season passes to local kids at a real cheap price. these local kids would hog up the hills and cause havoc and the patrols really didn't help. and the worse part of it is the words travel fast. their rep was ruined.

years ago Intrawest thought they can turn this place around. they sold. i heard the current owner took over a few years ago. he took over with a debt. i heard the debt is to the township for water bills? the township needs them for local businesses so i would expect to see a deal.

if the local rats were not around, i would hit MC over any poconos hills except Elk. Elk is a far better mountain IMO. Blue is a little better than MC.

for Golfing, Ballyowen and Crystal Springs are great courses. NJ has some great PGA competition level courses. those courses around MC are really well maintained.
 
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