A mountain of fun
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Barb Green, president of Blue Mountain Resort, gives on overview of the ski area.
It boasts the highest vertical in the state, the region's best terrain parks, and the most family fun.
Nestled on 1,200 acres in Lower Towamensing Township, Blue Mountain Resort continues to expand its horizons in its quest to be a premier entertainment destination.
With the highest vertical (1,082 feet) 150 feet more than anyone else in the state, and the most variety of runs, Blue Mountain Resort is able to stick out from its counterparts.
Blue Mountain tends to market to the south, according to Barb Green, president.
In addition to Carbon County, Blue Mountain also markets to the Lehigh Valley, as well as south Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Green said.
This year, the ski area opened on Nov. 29 earlier than usual amid much fanfare, according to Green.
"It was our best opening ever," she said. "The more snow we get helps with marketing."
Green said the company has invested nearly $10 million in the last seven years alone on snowmaking.
She said 60 percent of the snow is automated, which gives the ski area "consistency of snow."
"We make snow every single night we can in the winter based on the temperatures," Green said. "Every two or three days, we put an inch or two of fresh snow down."
Green noted that automation, "Makes it more efficient. It saves electricity, and improves what we can give our guests."
"It's a continual process," she said. "We still have 40 percent of our runs we'd like to get automated."
While it's best known for skiing, boarding, and snowtubing in the winter, Blue Mountain has ventured into the whole hospitality business, according to Green.
Other winter sports include terrain parks, big air bag, and USA Luge.
Seasonal activities consist of the Slopeside Pub & Grill, disc golf, mountain biking, birthday parties, Laser Tag, Adventure Camp, and the PA Blues Festival.
Special events include the Spartan Race, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Oktoberfest, the Harvest Festival, and Microbrew, Green said.
"The trend throughout the whole industry is to use your plant all year round," Green said. "We have been very successful here, and we're going to continue to grow our summer activities."
Summit Splash Water Park
Originally slated to open in the spring of 2015, the $20 million park likely won't be open until 2016, according to Green.
Green said it has taken Blue Mountain close to five years to obtain all of its permits.
"Technology has changed due to filtration systems," she said. "We are in the process of redesigning all of our buildings."
Green added that one of the main reasons to delay the park's opening is so that its employees can work all year long.
"For the last 35 years, our employees have been out building new trails," she said. "We only have one more trail we can do and are permitted for."
Green said, "I'm not in as big a hurry to get it (the park) up than I am to keep my guys employed," she said. "We want to do it slowly so that we can have that constant employment."
"We reinvest what we make; we make the money, and go ahead and use it," she said. "It's worked for 37 years, so we're not going to change something that's working well."
Once completed, the park is expected to create more than 200 full-time jobs, and will include a giant wave pool, a lazy river, and tubing slides all in a beautiful mountain setting.
The overall theme of the park will be 'playful fun in a beautiful mountain setting'.
Green said that Blue Mountain is in the first phase of the construction of the park, and added that the plan is to start on the inside of the park by April.
The idea for the park began several years ago, when Green envisioned expanding the resort to a year-round facility.
Summit Splash will be located in a Resort and Recreation Zoning District, adjacent to the ski area on about 20 acres of the 58-acre parcel at 1660 Blue Mountain Drive.
It will be built in phases, Green said, adding that the first phase will be the water park, and the second phase will include hotels/time-share, and more rides, if the water park proves successful.
Summit Splash will be an outdoor water splash park that will include rides themed after historic areas of the county, such as the Lehigh River, mining, railroads and the rich canal history, Green said.
For students, Blue Mountain now offers Science of Sliding field trips at its snow tubing park.
The program teaches students about speed, friction, energy, and power. Students learn average speed; instantaneous speed; force of friction; coefficient of friction; potential energy; kinetic energy; and work and power.
"It's such a cool program," Green said. "It's about getting back to nature, and learning science at the same time."
For more information on Blue Mountain Resort, call 610-826-7700, or visit www.skibluemt.com.