Suit Up and Head Out to these Family-Friendly Ski (and Snowboarding) Mountains near Bergen County,NJ

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There’s nothing quite like skiing or snowboarding in the great outdoors. You get fresh air, a great workout and amazing views. Not to mention the fact that this year, especially, being outside is the safest place to be. So, maybe it’s time to introduce the family to these beloved winter sports. Whether you’re a family of beginners or you’re ready to share your long time love of barreling down a mountain with your kids, and whether you want to go for an hour or a weekend, you’ll find Outstanding Ski and Snowboarding Mountains Near Bergen County that are just right for you.


Campgaw Mountain: Untold thousands of Bergen County children have learned to ski at Campgaw, conveniently located less than an hour’s drive away in Mahwah. Their Cruisers program for the youngest skiers (ages 4 – 6) runs every day of the week except Mondays and will get your child familiar with the equipment and the sport.  The Mountain Masters program teaches skiing and snowboarding to individuals ages 7 and up and is also available most days of the week. Private lessons and tubing are available along with daily or season passes. The beauty of Campgaw is that once you get your kids up and moving, you can run up there for an hour or a half day and be back home in time for supper. Check the website for deals on season passes and lessons. 200 Campgaw Road, Mahwah, NJ. 201.327.7800.


Mount Peter: Okay, you think you’re ready to take your new skillz out for a spin but you don’t want to try anything too steep yet. Mount Peter is a great intermediate hill located about an hour away in Warwick, NY. At this family oriented mountain, you can drop your kids into ski/snowboarding school for a half or full day session and either head out for some “me” time on the mountain or…in the lodge. Or, if your kids want to get a little more serious, Mount Peter offers a ski racing team for racers ages U8 and up. This program usually includes week day and weekend practices but, since 2020 can’t stop being 2020, plans for this are still under consideration. Visit the website for updates and new information. 51 Old Mt. Peter Road, Warwick, NY. 845.986.4940. 


Mountain Creek: You’ve got a couple years under your belt, your kids are feeling confident and everyone is ready to try a bigger mountain. Head to Mountain Creek for more runs, higher elevation and steeper inclines. Located in Vernon Township, NJ, still an easy day trip away from Bergen County, Mountain Creek offers a ski/boarding school, private and semi-private lessons and trails of all difficulties. This is the mountain to visit if you’ve got a range of ages and abilities in your family. Pro Tip: It’ll be a little painful, but trust us. Get up early and get to the mountain when it opens. In non-covid years, the lifts and easier runs get really crowded in the afternoons so get in a full morning so you won’t be sorry if you feel like you need to head out after lunch. Or, just make a weekend of it and stay at The Appalachian resort, located right at the base of Vernon Peak. 200 Route 94, Vernon,NY. 973827.2000.


Shawnee: Just a day trip away, this mountain, with a summit elevation of 1350’ offers 23 slopes and trails, 2 terrain parks and tubing. Choose from ski or snowboarding school, group lessons, private family lessons, and more. Children’s programs include a helmet at no additional cost and are all inclusive, including both lessons and lift tickets in the price. If you’re planning to stay the weekend, Shawnee offers ski and stay packages in partnership with The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort located just 2.5 miles away (there’s a shuttle service) from the mountain. Apres ski includes s’mores for the kiddos and an onsite brewery with live music for the young at heart. 401 Hollow Road, East Stroudsburg, PA, 570.421.7231


Camelback: Also located in the Poconos Mountains, Camelback is about an hour and a half away. Once you get there suit up to try the 39 ski trails serviced by 15 lifts. You’ll have space to try out some of your best skiing or boarding moves and then relax at one of the three slope side restaurants. Put your kids into the ski school or a lesson and you might even be able to squeeze in a lunch date with your significant other. Once you’ve had your fill of outside fun (and maybe once covid gets under control a bit more), head into the Aquatopia Water Park for more slipping and sliding of a different sort.  301 Resort Drive, Tannersville, PA. 570.629.1661


Hunter: If you’re jonesing to ski but just can’t imagine how it will be possible in the time of covid, check out Hunter Mountain. Owned by Vail Resorts, they’ve “designed an approach across all their properties that can be adjusted throughout the winter in response to local virus conditions and that will set your expectations for your visit. They are requiring face coverings to access the mountain and in all parts of their operation. They are “managing access to the mountains through a reservation system that prioritizes pass holders and limits lift ticket sales.” Pass holders have early access to reservations now through December 6th. They have also “re-imagined the on-mountain dining and ride school experience to help keep guests and employees safe.” Check out their website for details and to purchase an epic pass for early reservations. 64 Klein Ave, Hunter, NY. 


Windham: With 54 trails, 6 terrain parks and 11 lifts, Windham will keep your family busy for a day, a weekend or even an extended stay. Passes and lift tickets are limited and reservations are required for certain days. Windham is operating on a “red day” and “green day” schedule so check their website for availability. Access to the mountain will also be offered through “ski and stay” or lodging packages. Group and private lessons will be available this season but the Children’s Learning Center daycare and babysitting will remain closed for the season. Visit Windham’s website for comprehensive, clear information about what you can expect from your visit this year. 19 Resort Drive, Windham, 800.754.9464.


Belleayre: A favorite for families and groups, Belleayre, located about 2 hours away from Bergen County, has 50 trails, 5 glades, 1 terrain park, a progression park, an X-Course and cross country skiing. Frequent skier and season passes are available but capacity on the mountain will be limited this year and day of ticket purchases are not guaranteed. Belleayre has a snow sport school which will open in phases after the mountain opens. For more information or to pre-purchase lift tickets, visit the website. 181 Galli Curci Road, Highmount, NY. 845.254.5600.


Some other stuff to know:

Rent or buy equipment for the season at Ski Barn in Paramus (pre-registration online makes this a well-oiled machine) or Mount Everest in either Ridgewood or Westwood (visit the website to make a fitting appointment).


In normal years, there are a number of kids ski free programs offered in this area. This year, the Ski NY passport program is being offered. As with all things 2020, it will be different and more restrictions apply but the gist is that 3rd and 4th graders get to ski free midweek with a paying adult. 


The Pennsylvania Snowpass program and the Ski Vermont 5th Grade Passport program have both been suspended for the 2020-2021 season. 

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