Bear Creek Ski Resort (formerly known as Doe Mountain) is one of the closest ski areas to Philadelphia. On the plus side, you can get here in less than 45 minutes from some parts of the city; on the minus, Bear Creek Mountain can get quite busy on weekends and holidays. But except on the busiest days, Bear Creak PA retains a pleasant, family friendly atmosphere perfect for local skiers and snowboarders. With 100% of the slopes open until 10 pm, it is easy to Bear Creek Mountain on a weekday or weekend night and get back to Philadelphia at a reasonable time.
Bear Creek Ski Resort has only a few short black-rated runs; most of the 17 trails on 86 skiable acres are suitable for beginners and intermediates. Of the advanced Bear Creek ski runs, Extreme is the only one which will challenge the average skier. After large snowfalls, this steep pitch will sometimes bump over.
Except for the three short black trails, there is not much on Bear Creek Mountain that is unmanageable for a novice skier or snowboarder. There is a large open introductory area above the Bear Creek lodge with some gentle bunny slopes - Cub Run and Teddy Bear - and an easy to use carpet lift. The nearby triple lift services Grizzly, a good transition to the longer runs at Bear Creek PA.
To make the most of the small 510-foot vertical drop of Bear Creek Mountain, take the quad lift from the base and come down the narrow green Broadway run, then the wide-open blue Timberline.
Bear Creek PA has made special efforts to appeal to snowboarders and the results are impressive, with three terrain parks, a 300-foot halfpipe, and rails and jumps spread across the mountain. Grizzly Family Park is a good place to practice tricks before heading to the halfpipe and main terrain park, which sit in prime viewing position beneath two chairlifts.
The recently renovated base area at Bear Creek Ski Resort seems designed for a much bigger mountain. Bear Creek lodge features two enormous fireplaces, a large restaurant and bar, oversized couches, free wireless internet, plus guest rooms for overnight stays at the Inn at Bear Creek. A large rental area, quality day care, well renowned ski school, and large cafeteria make this a great resort for families of any size and experience. Kids will also love the large snowtubing area.
Expert skiers should probably look elsewhere, but for intermediate and novice skiers and (especially) snowboarders in the Philadelphia area, Bear Creek PA is a great place for a day or two on the slopes.