This is my review on the Handicapped Accessibility of the ski mountain resorts I
have visited. This review is geared to the independent mono-skier, so he or she can have a heads up as to what to look for when skiing these mountains. The rating is based only on Handicapped Accessibility.
|OKEMO, VT||Hunter Mountain, NY||SkiWindham, NY|
|Pico, VT||Sugarbush North, VT||Sugarbush South, VT|
|Belleayer, NY||Mountain Creek, NJ||Camelback, PA|
|Hidden Valley, NJ||Jack Frost, PA|
Hunter Mountain is great. The parking access is good, it is on the far right side of the lodge as you pull up. There is a bit of a hill to go up if you take your gear up around the out side of the lodge, (not recommended if the ground is covered with snow), or you can enter the side doors by the handicapped parking. Once in the side door, on your right will be the First Aid office, They have a nice accessible rest room. Down the hallway there is another rest room and then through the next set of doors is ticket sales. There is an elevator across from ticket sales, that will access all the floors. On the second floor to the left out of the elevator you will find the restaurant. In it, there is another accessible rest room, a lounge, and a sun deck. To the right out of the elevator is a hallway and a ramp leading to the main lodge area. Food concession, lounge, and level access to the snow is in the main lodge. The food concession area is large and easy to negotiate, and the staff are very help full. Out side the main lodge is another sun deck. It is one step, but not hard to pop up. There are plenty of ski racks and level places to transfer into your ski. The Lifts at Hunter are very friendly. The "B" lift to the left (the red quad) is a real easy push from the lodge. It accesses some of the lower half of the mountain, and it is a great warm up. The "AA" (the blue lift) quad accesses the summit. It is a bit of a push to get to, but not bad. There are other chair lifts and they are all good. The terrain at hunter is great, easy runs, cruisers, steeps, bumps, jumps, it's all here, and the conditions, well it is in the east, but they are the snow making capitol of the world. Skiing from November to April. It does get hard and icy, but that is a given in the east. Over all the conditions are the best around. I love skiing Hunter mid week, on the weekend it gets a big crowed. All in all Hunter is a great mountain, totally accessible, and a great challenge.
Camelback is a great mountain. The access is good. Handicapped parking is in the upper parking lot. There is a push to ticket sales, and between the main lodge and ticket sales there is a bit of a hill to push up. It can be difficult if covered with snow. You can go under the main lodge just behind the handicapped parking and access the deck to the right, but watch out for the ski racks, they might be in your way. Once you are near the deck you can set up your mono, the snow and lifts are right there. The lodge is accessible; food and rest rooms are on one level. The rest room (men's) has a handicapped stall, but it is very small. I thought it was very cramped. The food concession area was fine, lots of room with very helpful staff. The snow and lifts are right off the deck. It is a very easy push to the chair lift. I found the lifts to be quite friendly as well as the lift attendants. I had no problem on or off loading the two quads I used. The terrain is good. Some long switch back trails, blues and greens. And some straight down the face blacks. Camelback is a lot of fun. The Pennsylvania Center for Adaptive Sports has an adaptive ski program at Camelback, with all the equipment needed to get a person with any disability skiing.
Hidden Valley is a nice mountain. It's small and a great place to teach the kids and warm up for the season. Hidden Valley is partially wheelchair accessible if you know where to go. The main lodge in accessible from parking and to the slope. However the bathroom is down stairs. The race lodge (off to the left as you pull up in the parking lot) is a little bit tricky in the parking, and it has an accessible bathroom, but no food concession. It is located part way up the hill, call ahead and they will get you good parking and help. I was impressed with the staffs interest to accommodate me, and learn about adaptive skiing. Outside the race lodge there is a nice flat area to transfer into your mono. The chair lift is a little ways down the hill and you can ski right to it. I found the lift to be friendly, I had no problem on or off loading. I am not really a fan of night skiing and this was a night trip for me, so I did not ski all the terrain. However the terrain I did ski was great. The mountain is well groomed and has good snow conditions. I had a good time on the snow at Hidden Valley.
Pico has a VASS chapter, and a great staff of adaptive instructors. It is a small yet excellent program and growing fast with big quality. I really like this mountain. The parking is okay, There is a step from the lot level to the lodge level. However, they will let you drive around to the lodge level and unload your gear, but someone will need to move your vehicle to the parking area. Once in the lodge your in pretty good shape. The only problem I see is the lack of access to the food area upstairs. The staff at VASS are quite helpful and I am sure some one will help you get food. It is a level push from the in the lodge to the show, and on to the lift. I found the lifts to be quite friendly as well as the lift attendants. I had no problem on or off loading. The double chair "Outpost" was a bit tricky, I had the operator stop the lift for my load and I loaded alone and in the center of the chair. It was no problem. The off load zone is narrow and drops off, with a hairpin turn to the left so keep alert! The terrain is great, the conditions where great, this is a fun mountain to ski, something for everyone. I was very impressed with the snow conditions. I would like to give Pico four stars but due to the lack of access to the food concession area I must be true to my own rating system.
I love Sugarbush. There is a south mountain "Lincoln Peak" and a north mountain "Mount Ellen". The VASS (Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sport) office is located at the North, Mount Ellen. VASS was previously located at South, Lincoln Peak. VASS is an excellent organization with the best equipment a staff. The parking to lodge access at south as well as north needs some help. At north they will let you pull up to ticket sales and unload your gear, they will contact the VASS office to send the sled and pick you up. With in a few minutes a quad runner pulling a sled will come get you and take you up the lodge level. The lodge is nice. The food concession is accessible and there are plenty of tabled. The Lounge however, is upstairs and there is no elevator. The VASS office is large and has a large accessible rest room. The staff and volunteers are the best around and very help full. When you get on the snow you can push over to the Inverness Quad which is a bit of a push, or you can ski down to the Green Mountain Quad. I found the lifts a bit unfriendly at Mount Ellen, they are older chairs with individual seat pads, so you need to plant your load just right. Stay alert! North has some beautiful terrain, there are trails for every level of skier. I enjoyed the runs I skied very much. I took a ride on the Slide Brook Express Quad. It is an interconnecting chair lift between the north and south mountains, it is about a twelve to fifteen minuet ride. The load area is a bit tricky. It is an on, and off load area, so keep alert!
At the south mountain there is no VASS office, so getting up to the lodge can be a problem, especially if there was a fresh dumping of snow. You can pull up as close as you can to unload, then get a push to the lodge. You will need some help. You could try to ski in ski out right from your car and have a buddy or parking attendant bring your chair to the lodge. Once you are in the lodge at the north mountain your in good shape. They have a lift and you need to get the key from the service office to the right as you enter the front door. The restroom, pro shop and service office is on the lower level. The rest room is accessible with one adequate handicapped stall. Take the lift to the second level and you will find the lounge and sun deck, food concession, dining area, and level access to the snow. The old VASS office is now a locker room, so you have a place to store your things. The terrain at Lincoln Peak, (south) is some of the best I have ever skied. Three Peaks, many, many trails, and usually great conditions. As big and beautiful as Sugarbush is, it is still in the north east and subjected to our climate of cold, freeze, warm, rain, then freeze again then snow, then rain again, then freeze again, then fog. Anyway, it is a fantastic mountain. If your going alone, call ahead and get some one to meet you at the parking lot to help you with your gear. The staff is very helpful. One great thing about Sugarbush, is the Slide Brook Express Quad. This Quad connects the North and South mountains. If your skiing alone I recommend you can start your day at the VASS office on the north side. You will need to get your lift ticket from VASS anyway. Then head over to south, but be aware, you will be a long way from your chair and a rest room.
Sugarbush Web Site
Back to Menu
SkiWindham is an excellent mountain, with the best and largest adaptive skiing program in the tri state area. The parking access could be better. The handicapped parking is down a hill, so if you are alone it could be a work out. However, there is vale parking on the weekends, and week days you can usually find a parking attendant to park your car for you. The lodge has three levels and elevator access to each one. Ticket sales are right in front. To get inside the lodge go to the main stairs under the breeze way and take a right. This door has no steep. Once inside go straight until you can't go any further, the adaptive skiing office will be on your right, and an accessible rest room. To the left you will find two desks, in between the desks is a door to the back hallway. Down the hallway on the left you will find the elevator room. On the second floor you will find food concession, dinning area, accessible rest rooms, and access to the snow. On the third level you will find the restaurant and lounge. There is a step down from the lodge to the patio, sometimes there is a ramp near the adaptive equipment room, but I just bump down the one step. On the far right of the patio is the flattest area to set up your ski and transfer. There is a bit of a hill to push up to get to the lift, but it is doable. The lift to the left is the "D" triple chair lift. It goes part way up the mountain and serves green trains and the "G" lift. "D" is a high chair lift, so be aware when loading. I have them slow the lift to half speed and spot me. The "A" lift is a detachable quad. This is a friendly lift, it serves the summit. Next to "A" is the "F" triple. I never used it, and then the "B" lift, I never used it ether. To the far right is the "C" triple. This lift goes part way up the mountain and serves some blue trails. The terrain at Windham is great. Lots of cruisers and steeps, and some of the nicest long blues around. The only reason why I did not give SkiWindham five stars is because of the location of the handicapped parking. Move the handicapped parking to the upper bus parking level and you have a five star resort.
Belleayer is not handicapped accessible, and there is no adaptive ski program. There are two lodges an upper and a lower. Each lodge has more then one level and there is no elevator. You can push your self around the outside of the lodge to the other level, only to find that the rest room has no handicapped stall. The staff was very helpful but the lodge itself was old and not equipped for wheelchairs. The mountain is not very big and the runs where short. However the lift lines are short as well. It is not a very crowded mountain and I did have fun skiing it. But for me, if I am going that far into New York I would rather go to Hunter or SkiWindham. I had a great time on the snow skiing, but I will not be going back to Belleayer.
The adaptive ski program at Jack Frost has moved to Camelback. Jack Frost is an accessible mountain. The parking is close, and the main lodge has a ramp. The food concession area is large and ease to get around, however the dinning area gets filled and cramped fast. Everything you need is on one level, and the rest rooms are accessible. The lodge is at the summit, so once you get in your ski it is a short push and you are skiing. The lifts are friendly. The double chairs are easy to load, the triple require a little more care and dismount early. One thing about Frost, you will do a lot of lift loading. The runs are short, but a lot of fun. As you work your way across the mountain to the steeper runs, they get straighter and faster and you seem to be on a lift line more then skiing. At the summit it is a flat push back to the lodge from the triple chairs.