Four Season. Are there any two words more desired by ski resorts — most of which are on a never-ending quest to plug the non-revenue-producing hole that stretches from April to the end of November?
Over the decades, lift-served mountains have added numerous attractions to generate cash flow during the off season: alpine slides, outdoor water parks, paintball, frisbee golf, lift-served and cross-country mountain biking, ziplines, even skiing on rubber mats — usually with limited success.
More recently, indoor water parks have been added to the menu of off-season options. They have the added benefit of not only attracting paying guests year round, but also providing families with a Plan B for bad-weather days during ski season and a one-stop shop to keep increasingly jaded kids entertained.
Since my son started skiing, we’ve made a point of visiting at least one new hill together each season. Two years ago, we skied at the Poconos’ Alpine Mountain. Last season, he got his first taste of fresh powder at Mount Peter in southern New York.
This year, we checked out Shawnee, another ski area that allows families in the New York City/New Jersey region to maximize slope time while minimizing drive time.
Only a few miles from the Delaware Water Gap and a convenient one-hour drive from my house, it’s easy to see why Shawnee had already gotten our business. For starters, it’s a far less busy place on weekends than nearby Camelback and has a friendly local-hill feel about it.