We live in the Pennsylvania area, so during the winter our favorite place to go for a short weekend ski trip is Camelback Mountain. We have skied other places in Pennsylvania, including Elk and Blue Mountains. Both are great and each has their unique advantages, but due to the lack of lodging and restaurants in the area, they tend to lend themselves to day trips and locals. Camelback, on the other hand, has a great lodge, multiple eating venues, as well as an indoor waterpark with a FloRider. For those that don’t enjoy the slopes, the hotel also has a spa, escape room, laser tag and indoor ropes course and climbing wall. There are numerous communities within a mile or two of the mountain where you can own or rent a home, and several good restaurants near the mountain as well.
A new, recently opened option, is Sérénité. Sérénité is a private vacation club with a location that overlooks the mountain and is a quick, four-minute drive to the slopes. There will be private homes on site, but the best part is the buildings holding 1, 2 and 3 bedroom vacation units. The community is still in its infancy, but as soon as we heard about it, we decided to become a part of this family-owned and operated vacation experience. The units are beautiful and kept pristine with high-end appliances and conveniences. Also, the fact that ownership uses a points-based system (like that of DVC), allows you to book nights instead of weeks at a time. We will discuss Sérénité in more detail later in the post, but it is really a great addition to the Camelback scene.
Camelback Mountain recently changed its ownership to EPR Properties in 2019 and the new owners appear to be investing heavily in the resort. The fact that they own 12 other ski resorts and numerous waterparks should bring a wealth of new ideas and experience to this area of Pennsylvania. Just since their purchase of the resort, they have redone all of the hotel rooms and added new lifts at the Sunbowl (a beginner slope), new snowmaking equipment and new chair padding on the two express lifts, just to name just a few.
There are three options on the mountain to sit down and eat. Trails End Pub & Grille, Berelli’s Italian Chophouse and Kartrite’s Summit House are all ski in ski out. They also have several quick service areas on the mountain, including the Waffle Cabin, a BBQ place and some food trucks. There are also a few restaurants in the hotel as well. Overall, you wouldn’t ever have to leave the mountain and everyone could find food they enjoy, but there is plenty just beyond the mountain with Desaki, for sushi and hibachi, and Barley Creek Brewing Company to name just a few.
Camelback has 39 trails, 3 terrain parks and 2 high speed lifts. As far as skiing goes, they do a great job not just making snow, but also grooming the slopes to give you the best skiing conditions one can get in the Poconos. This year has brought 75 inches of fresh powder which has made the skiing even more pleasant than usual. The 39 slopes (18 green, 11 blue, 6 black and 2 double black, plus the 3 terrain parks) are well distributed for skiers of all levels to enjoy themselves, and even when the mountain gets crowded you can still find quiet areas to take a run. The Nile Mile is the longest and most enjoyable run on the mountain and though it’s a blue, skiers of even modest ability find that the wide slope with multiple areas to stop a challenge but very achievable. Birches, on the other side of the mountain, is a long green that all skiers regardless of ability will find enjoyable and a great way to warm up in the morning. We often start there and then move our way across the mountain following the perfectly groomed trails as it gets busier.
Now for a little more about Sérénité. This mountaintop resort is really a gem amongst beautiful surroundings. Every room has a high-end appliance appointed kitchen with all the dishes, pots, pans, and utensils you would expect to have at home, a Keurig, smart lights powered by Alexa, Sonos speakers, blazing fast Wi-Fi, a porch with comfortable furniture, a fireplace in the den and master, heated bathroom floors and toilet seats (the high-tech toilets provide amusement for any teens in the group), bottled water and numerous other amenities. In this time of social distancing and beyond, it allows you to have all the comforts of home while you are away. In our opinion, these are some of the finest accommodations I have ever experienced and the staff at the sales center is five star. (If you go in for a tour of the facilities make sure to ask for Liz – she is great!) With plans for a clubhouse with many amenities, as well as an indoor/outdoor pool, walking trails and other activities, this place is only going to improve as it grows.
Overall, Camelback Mountain and the surrounding area is expanding and improving year after year. If you or your family and friends are looking for a place in the Poconos to go for a long weekend to ski and vacation, Camelback has everything you need for everyone in your party to have a great time.