There was a period of about 20 or more years that I didn't ski in the Poconos at all. Not even once. The allure of Vermont as a young single guy and/or newly married guy was far too great. The ride to the Green Mountain State didn't bother me much then. It still doesn't. However with a family who loves to ski, taking a 10 hour round trip is not always possible. Sometimes you are just looking for a quick day trip. That is where the convenience of the Pocono Mountains comes into play.
Jack Frost Ski Resort Keeps Luring Me Back
Despite not having been to a ski resort in the Poconos since I visited Jack Frost Ski Resort when I was a senior in high school, I began making my way back there roughly three ski season ago. Where did I end up going? Coincidentally enough, with my family in tow, I made my triumphal return to Jack Frost Big Boulder. The funny thing is, not much had changed there in the roughly two decades since I last paid them a visit. It's still old school and I kind of dig it. So much so that I have been back at least once in each of the following years since.
Last winter, my family and I had a blast during Subaru Winterfest weekend and I hope to see that return when we get back to live events some day. Having had such good experiences at Jack Frost over the last two years, I decided to head back with a friend of mine recently for a little fun. Having thoroughly enjoyed skiing there in the past, I found Jack Frost to be even better this time around thanks to some really amazing snow conditions.
Working With What They Have
2020-2021 has been a good winter here in the NY, NJ and Pennsylvania area. This has been a welcome surprise since It's been a little bleak the last couple of years. So much so that I was really starting to worry about the state of skiing and snowboarding in this region. However, with multiple snowstorms totaling over a foot or two this year, the comeback has been on.
With limited snow the past few times that I have been there, I always felt like Jack Frost did a really nice job building and maintaining a good base. Excellent at working with what they had, I could never really complain about the conditions. This time, however, it was different...in a good way. The conditions were the best that I've ever experienced at Jack Frost.
High Snow Totals Opens Up More Terrain
When it comes to skiing off-piste on the Ice Coast, Jack Frost doesn't really jump to the top of the list. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find too much backcountry skiing and snowboarding at the resorts in this general area. That type of terrain is more reserved for areas that get much higher snow totals. As I previously mentioned though, we've had an above average winter this year and it's impressive what a few decent snow storms can do for a ski resort.
As always, the trails at Jack Frost were groomed beautifully. Perfect for carving some nice GS turns, we warmed up laying arcs there for a few runs. While I cruised down my eyes wandered (as they often do) to the trees. With the snow deep enough, there were tracks carved out in the trees in areas that I have never known people to ski before. Makes sense since the snow had never been this deep on any of my previous trips.
There is a lot of Great Tree Skiing at Jack Frost
Curiosity got the best of us really quickly and we started venturing off the trails to check out the local stashes that were ripe for the taking. Who knew tree skiing could be this good in the Poconos? With the temps hovering just above freezing the snow was soft and supple. Not fresh powder soft but just how you would like it in any other non-pow situation. This made for great tree turns in the areas off Challenge and River Shot (appropriately named I'm assuming for the picturesque shot of the river in the distance).
However, the real icing on the cake was this trail known to the locals as "The Elevator." I hadn't even noticed this hidden gem but as we came off the pretty steep Floyd's Folly my buddy Wally had scoped it and we headed that way next. Located as a side slope off the steepest part of Challenge, The Elevator is more challenging than anything that I've skied at Jack Frost.
It being sloped off to the side, steep and pretty bumped up you can get into trouble pretty quickly if you don't make your first couple of turns. Now I'm not trying to make this sound like "The Goat" at Stowe but this was a challenging and fun run given our current location. So much so that we spent a large portion of our day skiing the trees that led to it and The Elevator itself.
Laps in One Park and Après-Ski in the Parking Lot
Aside from that, we took a few hot laps through One Park which Jack Frost always does a great job with and another couple through the bumps on Exhibition. Given the warmer temps, it was a perfect day for moguls. Not too hard and icy but not too soft that your quads get fried from working through the heavy snow. They were just right!
If I had one gripe it would be that not one bar was open that day at the mountain. Thanks a lot Covid. This kind of sucks because I will say that the E-2000 Bar and Lounge is a fun little après-ski bar at Jack Frost. In normal years, you should visit just to hit that place up. Unfortunately, that won't be happening this season. Good thing we planned ahead and brought some craft beers for a quick little tailgate session prior to hitting the local Barley Creek Brewing for some après-ski sustenance.
Kicking off the ski boots and swigging back some suds at the car, Wally and I marveled at how impressed we were with the day we had. Jack Frost Ski Resort has always been good to me, but some deep snow fall made it that much better. By allowing us to explore new areas that are, more than likely, only known to the locals it opened up a realm of new skiing possibilities. I guess I know where I'll be going in the future when the snow gets good in the Poconos. See you again soon Jack Frost.