Bear Creek Ski Area – Adult Weekend $63 (Adult Season – $445, but $380 before Oct. 31)
Originally called the Rittenhouse Gap Mine, Bear Creek Ski Area used to be an iron mine in the 1800’s. After the mine closed, Doe Mountain Ski Area was opened in 1967 with just a t-bar, a rope tow and two trails. In 1999, ownership of the resort changed hands and it became Bear Creek Mountain Resort. It is located in Macungie, PA.
Snow Quality – Average – The snow at Bear Creek is often hit or miss. Occasionally, there are larger storms that will blanket the area, but the slopes can and do get icy at night. However, the resort is very good with snowmaking and can cover 100% of the mountain if needed.
Crowds – Good to Excellent – If you are a college student and can go during the day during the week you will be blessed with riding only interrupted by the chairlift taking you back up the hill (Excellent). On the other hand, high school kids can make their way out to this mountain after school, due to its close vicinity to a few cities and large towns, and these times usually see a rise in guests (Great). On weekends, the crowds often swell and on holidays it can get pretty crazy (Good).
Lift Infrastructure – Great – The mountain isn’t very big so the lifts they have are very nice to use. They have 4 chairlifts and a carpet lift at Bear Creek. Three of their lifts are quads and they are very efficient at getting people up the hill. However, often times they do not run the one chair, which can be annoying because it would be the chair that services the park but all the park kids then have to go to the next lift.
Trail Variety – 7 Beginner, 7 Intermediate, 4 Advanced, 3 Terrain Parks – One of their black diamond trails always has moguls on it, snowboarders stay away. Also, their terrain parks go according to ability from about 3 or 4 very small features to a full park of medium features, to a full park of large features.
Trail Quality – Good – Given the amount of snow that they receive each year, they do a great job of working with that natural snow as well as making new snow and covering all of the trails. Some do get icy and they are best to watch out for, and as it gets darker, a lot of the trails ice up quickly. Also, one of their black diamond trails “Sasquatch” has a 50 degree slope which, although quick, challenges local skiers who try to navigate down.
Terrain Parks – Great – The terrain parks here are small but nice. They always have a ton of small to medium sized jumps spread around, as well as many different features such as rails and boxes and bonks. Last season, they even set up a little halfpipe type feature in the spring.
Family Friendly – Excellent – Very family friendly resort. Excellent instructors, great food, easy rental process, pool, hot tub, game room, and a ton of different food options. Also they have a Burton Riglet Park to help really young children discover snowboarding!
Cost – Good – The day passes can be expensive for the size of the mountain but if you’re local, getting a season pass is an ideal move because it’s cheap enough that it pays for itself in like 4 or 5 trips. Also, the hotel is very nice, and its not going to be cheap to stay at peak times in the winter. However, if you are local you can find lift ticket deals at ski shops nearby, such as Buckmans in Reading, PA.
Nightlife – Poor – No village at the resort and you have to drive a ways to get to any real cities, so you’re probably not going out if you’re here.
Things to do – Average – Much more to do in the summer than winter around Bear Creek. Mountain Biking, Disc Golf, Golf, Theme Parks, and more. Really only skiing, snowboarding, and tubing during the winter. Also pretty close to many different universities such as Abright, Alvernia, and Lehigh.