Ask most skiers what's their favorite time of year, and the answer is almost always "winter." While that's true as far my favorite outdoor activity, autumn is without a doubt my preferred season. I love the entire aesthetic package -- watching the foliage change colors, the smell of fallen leaves on wet ground, the colder temperatures, everything. Also, I'm a big fan of Halloween and where I live in NJ, people are pretty serious about it with a majority of houses decorated pretty extensively. Our neighbor down the street transforms his front yard into an impressive multimedia spectacle with dry ice, strobe lights, mechanical coffins, and various sound effects. So popular and well done, he could probably charge admission:
So while heading home after visiting my brother in the Poconos, we timed it to stop by Camelback for the opening weekend of the resort's Monster Mountain Halloween experience. Part of its ongoing transformation from an old-school ski area into a four-season family funpark that features skiing during the winter, we only had time to check out a portion of the offerings: the mountain coaster with 3-D holograms (quick but fun), the nocturnal zipline (my wife said that riding it in the dark is a nice twist), and one of three haunted houses:
My son loved it:
It concludes with this "spinning time warp" -- only about ten yards long but disorienting enough for all three of us to get dizzy:
They also premiered two new on-mountain restaurants, a Deer Valley-esque three-level Italian eatery at the base with a gorgeous patio and wine cellar, Berrelli''s:
And a summit restaurant at the top of the main lift with long-distance views of the Poconos and Delaware Water Gap:
We had a great time and similar to my other recent visits there, it's pretty astounding how over the past decade Camelback has gone from a sleepy ski hill into what feels like a bustling small city that's jumping year-round. Not for those interested in a quaint, old-school time in the outdoors, but perfect for families looking for high-energy, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink fun.
Are any other ski areas doing something similar to this right now? Feel free to post any Halloween stoke.
The food at Berrelli's -- high-end Italian -- was excellent and as mentioned, they did an impressive job repurposing the existing building. I'd skied past it with my son dozens of times and never gone in because it was only open on weekends.