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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all! I'm pretty much new to the site I was a former member of SnowboardAddicts. I haven't been on that in years and didn't even know its not around anymore. But anyway I started a thread there that took off back in the day about MTN Creek.

Since that is my home mountain does anyone else ride creek? I usually ride alone which gets pretty boring.

I'm aiming to head up one day this weekend.

Hope to hear back from someone!

-Kait
 

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Discussion Starter #3
How were the conditions? Enough base on the Mtn? Last time I went in January it was solid ice groomed and no trailed open basically on the green on Vernon
 

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I didn't go yesterday. I was there last week and it was basically hardpack. I didn't notice any ice on on blue or green on Vernon or Granite.

Going to try to hit up MC tomorrow if local roads are okay.
 

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I'm from NJ but I've never been to MC. Heard bad things from friends so I never bothered with it. It's always been PA or bust for day trips. :p

P.S. There are more of us in the Northeast section.
 

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I haven't been to creek ever since they turned South & Bear into the terrain park, not to mention, isolate the terrain park from the rest of the mountain (ie the southern sojourn trail and the slow lift that connected Granite to South)

I also hate the gondola
 

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@Crono139 Out of curiosity, what were some of those bad things? All I've ever heard was the age demographics and it being a smaller mountain with big mountain prices.

Granted it's not the best mountain IMO, but the triple play pass isn't bad for a mountain that's only 30 minutes away from me.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Personally I ride creek not as often as I would like due to work and all but the only downside I would say besides that the mountain is small that the trails are always full of kids. I haven't been to the park side. I used to love riding south no one ever went there but then they switched it to be full park.

I have gone other places but not too often
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Did you go this weekend? I was gonna go tomorrow but the ice might stop me. Next weekend I'll prob be up at creek. If you wanna ride.

Check out my company I started FreshTracks.bigcartel.com
 

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i ride at mountain creek all the time. i live 5 minutes away. most of the time i go during the week and i try to get there when they open and i leave by 12. it gets too crowded after that.
 

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Don't leave your board laying around as it will sprout legs and just walk, especially if you have Union bindings and a Capita board.
 

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I will be there next Sunday with my fiancé and my son. It will be their first time boarding and my third. Hopefully to have my own set up by then and not rentals..

Whats a good way to leave a board outside while eating? Bike lock?
 

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After 4 years of riding Mountain Creek, I just wanted to put together an unofficial guide so visitors can make the best out of their time there. Mountain Creek can be an incredibly stressful experience but some small tips can make things significantly better. This is pretty Vernon/North oriented and I have missed some stuff about South. I would invite any other Mountain Creek regulars to correct any misinformation in this guide or make any additions.

What Mountain Creek is and what it is not

Mountain Creek is a privately-owned ski resort in NJ. It has 1040 feet of vertical on 43 trails (I would say 44 but Pipeline is never open) on 167 acres on 4 hills. They do a ton of snowmaking. It used to be privately owned then was sold to Intrawest and is now back in private hands. The good thing about being in private hands is that it is not subject to the whims of big corporate ownership, but the bad thing about private ownership is that it doesn’t have the resources of big corporate ownership.

Mountain Creek is not a Whistler or a Breckenridge or a Killington or a Whiteface. If you’re expecting a destination resort experience, you are going to be disappointed. It’s a local resort closest to NYC and draws a local NJ/NYC area crowd.

Timing is Everything

Because is so close to NYC, it draws huge weekend and holiday crowds from NYC and NJ including a lot of first timers and novices. If you go during peak times, you are going to have to deal with crowds: at the ticket booth, at the rental shop, at the lift lines, in the parking lot. There is no way to have a crappier experience at Mountain Creek than to spend 30 minutes waiting for a bus, an hour plus in a rental line then 30 minutes in a lift line.

If you can, come at off peak days and times. Non-holiday weekdays are great especially the mornings and daytime. There is almost no one there and you can often feel like you have the resort to yourself. The experience is totally different when you don’t have to deal with crowds and you can ride right back to the front of the lift and go right back up. Any downtime is up to you. Group lessons can become semi-private or private if you go during the week and there aren’t other people to take the group lessons. This is especially common in the Kids Kamp on weekdays.

If you do have to come during weekends or holidays, come first thing in the morning or come for night riding. On Saturday and Sunday, season ticket holders get an hour earlier lift access on the main hill Vernon at 8 am. That’s an hour of fresh trails and no crowds. On weekends, a lot of local season ticketholders will just ride 8-10 am or so on weekends just to get some runs in while avoiding the crowds. There will be a slight surge in crowds right at 9 am when the lifts open to the general public.

Even if you don’t have a season pass, 9-11 am will generally be the lowest crowds until the night. Even though you’ll have to deal with crowds eventually, getting a couple of hours of stress-free riding makes the later crowds more tolerable. In addition, generally, night skiing will have fewer crowds as well if you are not a morning person. You can ride until 9 pm or 10 pm depending on the peak on Friday and Saturday and 8 pm or 9 pm every other day.

You can also go when conditions are bad. I’ve had great days of riding on which the conditions are supposed to be bad: super cold and windy or super warm and slushy or rain. The bad conditions keep crowds away and as long as you can tolerate the conditions you can get a lot of runs in. When it’s very windy, you can be assured that they will close the cab lift and will be running the triple chair so keep that in mind.

Equipment

Avoid renting at Mountain Creek. The rental line can get huge and when everyone needs to be fitted for boots it can take forever. This is the single longest wait. Rent someplace else beforehand. Try to avoid lines. If you can have a lift ticket such as a triple pass mailed, do that instead of waiting at ticket window lines. Also get your own helmets if you don’t have them. Do you really want a crappy rental helmet that who knows how many heads have been in. Also helmets are required by NJ law for kids under 18 so buy your kid a decent helmet.

The one exception to the “no rentals at Creek” advice is for kids in the Kids Kamp. They have a separate Kids Kamp cabin and the coaches there will take care of all the equipment and your kids so there is no significant wait for the parents. Just fill out the forms and drop off your kid. So for Kids Kamp, you can feel free to get the rental equipment there. Kids Kamp is pricey in fact the price went up this year but can be worth it. If you do the all day class, they even feed your kid lunch.

Parking

I sometimes pay for preferred parking near the lifts at Vernon or just over the pedestrian bridge because I’m lazy. But there are shuttle buses from the free parking lots or you can walk, and you can actually drive in to the paid parking area near the Vernon lifts for 15 minute drop off and then go to the free parking lot. If you are going to South or Bear, parking is right across the street from the lodge at South.

Lunch

The only bigger horror show than the rental line is the cafeteria. The cafeteria gets packed at peak mealtimes and there are few seats available. In addition the resort food like all resort food is expensive. A lot of people send in the non-skier to hold the tables and seats from morning and you’ll see unused seats with gear strategically placed on them. If you get someone to go upstairs at the Lodge to the pub, Schuss, at around 11:30 or so you can generally get seated there and the prices are not that much more than the cafeteria. There you can grab and early lunch then bail back to ride when the crowds are coming in for lunch. If you don’t mind paying Manhattan prices, then there is a sit down restaurant, Hawk’s Nest, at the back exit from the cafeteria. It is quiet and has a nice private bathroom there. Alternatively you can stay riding and then come in late around 2ish to eat lunch at the cafeteria dining area as a lot of people will have cleared out by then. There is a bar outside you can eat at as well but it can fill up pretty early as well. There is also a bbq and bar next to lodge close to the Sugar Slope that never seems busy.

I never eat at South so I have no advice to give on eating at South.

The peaks and avoiding crowds

Vernon (also called North) is the main peak for beginners and intermediate non-park riders. Granite is for more experienced beginners and intermediates. South has the terrain parks and Bear has racing. Vernon will be the most crowded and have the largest number of clueless people. When Vernon starts getting crowded, get off Vernon. A lot of people will ride right over to Granite from the top of Vernon as soon as it opens around 9 am.

The Sugar Slope of Vernon has its own small lift and is the first area for novices that have just moved up to riding the chair lift from the magic carpet. The lines can get long and the slope crowded. There are fewer crowds to the skiers right of the Sugar Lift and to the skiers far right of the Sugar Lift is a small ungroomed area that is rideable. In fact after the last powder dump, it was downright fun to take kids down it. On Vernon, most of the trails have little side hits and areas where you can dip just off the groomed trail momentarily. Just don’t drop into the side with the pipes and equipment for snowmaking.

Granite is not for complete novices but has some intermediate runs. It also has the only steep run Pipeline which is almost always closed. For a variety of reasons they cannot run grooming equipment on Pipeline any more so it needs a lot of natural snow for it to open.

From Granite, Southern Sojourn will take you over to South. This is a long flat traverse with several uphill sections. Keep your speed up. You may still have some small sections to skate or walk. A lot of people just take the shuttle bus to South instead.

One note if you are NOT going to hit the terrain park features, try to stay off of South and go to Bear or Granite. South is a dedicated park and just riding laps through it without hitting features is not really advisable. There are reasons to ride through: if you want to ride the Sojourn double chair back to Granite for example or if you are scoping out features before hitting them. But learn basic park etiquette and don’t ride through the landing or worse yet stop on a landing.

If you are a total beginner in the park, Twist and Independence Pass on Vernon have beginner parks to get comfortable on small hits and ride on boxes instead of going to South. There is even a free park class there on Sundays around 11 for kids.

Also note that on the weekends, Kamikaze on Bear is usually closed because of the race teams and sometimes there are racing gates on Big Bear on the skiers right side.

If you choose to stay on Vernon when the crowds arrive, stay off the main green run Horizon. Horizon becomes a total horror show when its crowded with tons of novices. Instead ride the blue runs (Great Northern or Foxtail to Garden State) until they get crowded then ride the black runs Straightaway or Zero-G which never get crowded. Note that the black runs can be icy or have moguls depending on the conditions but there will never be crowds on them. They will post on the conditions report if the run has moguls. Also if you stay at Vernon, use the singles line for the Cab. It moves much faster and they pack in 8 to a cab. When the triple chair opens, you can use the triple as well but it is extremely slow. The triple is off to the skiers left at the Cab down a short traverse. So you’ll have to balance the wait at the Cab with the slowness of the triple in deciding which to use.
 

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Off Trail Riding

My disclaimer: I am not encouraging you to go off trail. You can suffer serious injury or death and can get your ticket pulled. I am just pointing out practices at Creek. I have no idea what the official policy is on off piste skiing.

There is no official glade skiing/riding at Creek but there are quite a few rideable glades and rideable areas without an official trail. Some are visible from the lifts and some are not. Obviously those that choose to ride them must be certain that there is enough natural snow to support riding them. Especially when conditions are good, there will be a lot of untouched powder stashes off trail. Some of the glades have rideable drops. Those that choose to ride off trail have to make sure that they know where the exit is as well. This is not like out west but there are still a few extremely rocky drops here and there that you may want to avoid. Some of the off trail stuff requires a little boot packing to get back and some requires a little boot packing to get up it.

Ducking lines in highly visible places is a sure way to get ski patrols attention. I saw someone getting chased down by patrol in a closed run, Pipeline, yesterday and I suspect that he ducked the line at the top of Pipeline which is just under the Granite quad and highly visible to everyone. Even if no one sees you, your tracks are highly visible. If he had skied down to another run and cut over, no one would have noticed.

Kids at Creek

Kids 6 and under get free tickets with a paying adult. My kids have been skiing for 4 years here. They started in Kids Kamp and although pricey, I would recommend Kids Kamp for younger kids. Kids Kamp is for kids age 4-7 and teaches riding or skiing. Regular group lessons are for those ages 8+. The Kids Kamp has its own separate rental and check in are with separate bathrooms for the kids. They will even take care of lunch if you do the full day program. As long as you think your kid can tolerate being with the coaches that long I think it’s the way to go. If you regularly use it, they will track the kids progress as they move from the magic carpet progression area to the Sugar lift and on to the cab lift. You can get a small discount if you buy 4 or 6 lessons at one time. You may want to do a part day if you want to ride with the kids later. Regardless, the lift ticket and rental gear of the Kids Kamp is good all day so you can use the gear and ticket after the lesson is finished and just return it to Kids Kamp if it is by 4 pm or at the main lodge after 4 pm.

Anyone 8 and up goes to the general lessons whether group, semi private or private. If you go on a weekday, there is a good chance that the teacher student ratio can be as low as a semiprivate lesson while paying the group rate.

Summary

Mountain Creek can be a total shit show but hopefully my tips make it a bit more tolerable.
1. Come during a non-holiday weekday.
2. If you have to come on a weekend or holiday, come early or in the evening.
3. Have you rental situation and tickets sorted out before you arrive. (Do not rent at Creek except for Kids Kamp)
4. Avoid peak hours in the cafeteria. Bring your own food if you want to save money.
5. Get off Vernon when it gets crowded and if you do stay on Vernon stick to the black or blue runs.
6. Stay off South if you have no idea what you are doing in a terrain park.
7. Know the responsibility code and park etiquette because a ton of people who ski and ride there do not.
8. Stick to the singles lift line when it gets crowded
 

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^^^Pretty good guide
I typically hit Creek Wed afternoon/night. That tends to be the slowest day, college night is Tuesdays with high school teams on Bear as well. I lucked out last year with a few soft days, nothing that good this year yet.
 

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i ride at mountain creek all the time. i live 5 minutes away. most of the time i go during the week and i try to get there when they open and i leave by 12. it gets too crowded after that.
I saw in another thread that you wanted to check out some NS boards. Let me know if you ever want to try out my NS Chairman 160.
 

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Did you go this weekend? I was gonna go tomorrow but the ice might stop me. Next weekend I'll prob be up at creek. If you wanna ride.

Check out my company I started FreshTracks.bigcartel.com
I went this past weekend and should be up Friday night, Saturday and Sunday this coming weekend. Volunteered to help with junior racing so will have to help with that on Saturday.
 
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