Bear Creek Mountain Resort
101 Doe Mountain Ln, Macungie, PA 18062
visit site> (610) 682-7100
Taking two toddlers snowboarding for the first time would strike fear into any parent’s heart. Just to note I don’t mean the potential dangers of the sport. I mean the potential dangers of toddlers ruining a perfectly good intentioned family weekend. I didn’t know how the boys were going to take to skiing and snowboarding but with the season wrapping up we decided to make a last-minute attempt and run up to Bear Creek Mountain Resort for the weekend. A quick trip on the PA Turnpike a few turns and in 60 minutes we were there. Kinda awesome.
I know it might seem silly that we made the trip in March but that also gave us the biggest advantage. Not only was it not overly crowded but the boys didn’t have to learn a new sport and worry about being cold or piling on a ton of gear to stay warm.
I am happy to say not only did we survive but I walked away a proud Mama, Henry (4) found his love for snowboarding and Ollie (3) checked off one of his best outdoor pool experiences to-date.
Learning to Snowboard:
Bear Creek Resort is set-up great for families and for a get away weekend. Here is how we did it. First thing we did was stop by the equipment rental shop and got the boys hooked up with their snowboarding gear. At their age they can just strap the boards right onto their regular snow boots. You can rent everything you need including helmets. Then we headed over to Riglet Park which is a separate mini area where the boys could learn how to snowboard.
This is how I know my children are my children. They let me take them to a hill, attach their feet firmly into a fun looking board, toss helmets on their heads and say off you go! They didn’t question it. There was no fussing, no fear…not a peep really. It also might have had something to do with the awesome staff. The boy’s little snowboards had retractable leashes on them so they would go down the little hill and the staff would pull them back up the hill. The boys really got a chance to get used to the feel of snowboarding and they loved it. The staff was a great crew of college kids that put the boys in heaven when they took part in their snowball fight. It was a nice little distraction for them as Mom tried her hand at snowboarding for the first time. (it is pretty awesome even if I spent most the time on my bum)
Next it was onto the bunny slope. The magic carpet (basically a conveyor belt that you hop on and hop off) takes the little ones up and down the gradual hill they came. They would slide down on their boards, bail and then get back up and repeat it all over again until they got to the bottom. They loved it and there was no fear and they did it until they were exhausted.
Later that night Henry took his first official ski lesson at the ski school. This was the really impressive part. The instructor wanted to know all about Henry. She asked what kind of day he had, did he eat, did he have a nap, what type of personality does he have? I thought this extra attention to detail was really great. He got along great with his instructor and they worked together until Henry was pretty much dead weight from all his activity that day. He trucked back to the hotel room with a huge smile to get ready for dinner.
When we were not on the slopes we were at the pools and hot tubs. Bear Creek has a beautiful heated outdoor pool that is right at the bottom of the mountain. It has a great view of the slopes and the contrast of the pool against the snowy mountain is pretty cool. Kids with their much higher internal temperatures were jumping in and out while the adults stayed under. Either way everyone made a mad dash for their towels when they were done but honestly who was going to pass up an awesome change to swim in this pool. Just note that there is no lifeguard on duty and kids under 12 need to have an adult with the. All around the pool kids played while their parents took in some sun and watch the skier or read a book. (Maybe when my kids hit their teens I will read a book again….ahhhhh)
Of course the boys wanted a full tour so off to the inside pool we went. The inside pool is smaller with a hot tub that the boys really enjoyed.
In addition to the outdoor and indoor pool areas there is a big outdoor hot tub and a small outdoor hot tub. Pretty much everywhere you are has great views of the mountain.
For the pool I brought their toy boats, blew up a beach ball and their puddle jumper life vest. Other parents also packed life vest and a few toys. They do not have those items there so be sure to pack them if you child needs them.
I always mention staff when I do a review because I think they really make a difference in your experience. I cannot say enough great things about the staff at Bear Creek. From check-in to the restaurants everyone was very helpful and great. The lodge can be a little confusing because there are different levels and things are spread out. Every time I had a question about where something was a staff member always told me and then took me to the place I was looking for. The college kids were friendly, fun and played with the boys. The high-school bellman,where this was clearly their first job, were polite, eager and professional and the more seasoned staff was experienced and excellent.
Just as an example at dinner our appetizers and main courses came out at the same time. The server was sweet and quick to apologize and could not do enough for us. She could also see the boys were fading and stay close to make sure we got everything they needed.
The food was great. Even better than I expected and after a long day outside sitting down by the fire while hearing the boys chatter on about what they liked about their day and watching night-time skiers what perfect. There are three main places to eat at the lodge and a little spot called bear bites.
We did lunch at The Grill, dinner at The Grill, breakfast at Trail’s End and snacks at Mountain Eatery. Everything was great and because they have lots of options to choose from it really fits any families budget.
Mountain Eatery: If you are just coming up for the day or just want to eat with as little fuss as possible you want to go to the Mountain Eatery. Picture your college cafeteria with all its different options but with a lodge feel with big wooden family style tables, mountain views and giant fireplaces. The Mountain Eatery is right next to the equipment rental and right by the ski lifts and bunny slope. Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (lunch, snacks, dinner). Bear Bites is also located here.
Trail’s End: Trail’s End is at the other end of the lodge and is a great place to grab sandwiches, pizza and a drink. We also stopped in here for breakfast where the boys got giant fluffy pancakes and watched the skiers make their morning runs and the kids jumping in the outdoor pool. Your in a little PA Dutch Country up here and I forgot how good the pancakes are. At Trail’s End you can order at the counter and they will bring it to your table or there is a section for regular table service. Right by the table service section is the Bear Creek’s second bar.
The Grill: We had two great meals in the The Grill. Again you are sitting at mountain view or fireplace tables and there is a big bar almost the whole width of the restaurant. Lunch was great and they had crayons for the boys and at dinner we watched experienced families make night-time runs down the lit up mountain. The food options were great and I had a rare cocktail which was a nice way to end the day (thanks to my server’s recommendation). The kid’s menu had a lot to choose from including the usual and a kid’s sized steak, spaghetti and grilled chicken. The prices on the kid’s menu ranged from $5.50 to $10.95. *I would recommend that you make a reservation at The Grill when you book your trip if you would like to eat there. That way you get the time that is best for your family before they fully book up. Besides skiers and weekenders you also have locals that visit the grill for a night out. It might also help that prices are decent and the portions are large (again…Thank you PA Dutch appetites).
Good to Know & INsider Tips
- There are microwaves and mini fridges in the room. If I did it over again I would have brought oatmeal for the boys in the morning. They were so tired from the day before they slept in till 9:30 a.m. in the morning and I wish I would have had something simple to give them. They also have pizza delivery to your room for an easy dinner. They help you make this trip as easy as possible.
- The rooms are comfy. Great beds and I did not hear hallway traffic or anything from the adjacent rooms. It was a great place to come back to and relax.
- You have full cable in the rooms. After a long day with toddlers if you just wanted to take a break in your room for a little calm down time you are set. They even passed out and I got to watch a non-cartoon show for 60 minutes. #heaven #rare I did however waste it on Storage Wars. I panicked.
- There is coffee in the morning for hotel guest in the lobby or a Keurig in the room.
- Snowtubing is only for ages 6+.
- There is a fitness center that is open 24 hours a day. Just in case acting as your children’s sherpa was way too easy a task for the day.
- Guest of the hotel have a separate equipment rental shop. This will save you from the lines over at the main equipment rental shop. A little tip from the staff…If you arrive late afternoon or at night to save time you can go to the hotel rental shop, get fitted and then pick every thing up when you are ready the next morning or return them at the end of the day, get a claim check and you are in and out the next morning.
- Parking for hotel guest is right by the Lodge entrance. Our car was a stone’s throw away the whole time. It is also free.
- There is a very nice day care area if you would like to drop off the kids and get a few adult runs in.
- They have a full spa that also has its own hot tub and even has kid’s services. Ladies I would barter for a little time off in here.
- They have guest laundry.
Bear Creek is really one long building. But when you get there they give you a really great and simple map of where everything is. LOOK AT IT. It doesn’t take long to get the lay of the land but making a mistake with toddlers in tow might cost you. Just look at the map.
If you want to get your kids skiing or snowboarding Bear Creek is awesome. Since it is 60 minutes away you’re not spending a ton of time in the car. If you stay over night you get to take advantage of everything and give the kids some extra time to take a lesson or hit the bunny slopes and practice. I am looking forward to going back next year. You know I love to dish and I honestly do not have a single bad thing to say. The boys have different personalities and they can be tough. At no time were they scared or upset. They bonded with the staff and by the time we left they were smitten and after watching Henry’s first solo run down the bunny slope….so was I. This get’s a HipsterHenry.com Top Pick.