Day Trip: Vernon

Nestled in the northeast corner of Sussex County, Vernon is New Jersey’s own winter wonderland.

With quaint country inns and a luxurious spa, rustic dining and hearth-side bars, the area has plenty to offer after an exhilarating day on the slopes at Mountain Creek.

Loco for cocoa: After a few runs take a moment for a steaming cup of hot cocoa, topped with whipped cream of course, before heading back into the snow. If you are bombing down Zero G at Mountain Creek North, the quick place to stop is the Discovery Deck Bar, a new café located  at the base near Sugar Quad. If hot cocoa sounds too sweet, Discovery offers warm coffee and toasted bagels for breakfast, as well as fresh sandwiches around lunchtime. If you are shredding the gnar at Mountain Creek South and feel a calling for a warm beverage, hop into Grover’s, in the base lodge near the entrance off the main lobby. During the day Grover’s is a coffee shop, but when the sun drops it transforms into a bar where you can relax after some evening runs under the lights.

One potato, two potato, three potato, four: If the massive lunch crowd at either of Mountain Creek’s base lodges is not your cup of tea, drive to the Vernon Inn (340 Route 94, 973-764-9888) for hot open sandwiches, burgers, beer, and savory sweet potato fries. For something ethnic, Basia’s Polish Deli (287 Route 94, 973-827-6100) serves some of the best Perogies this side of the Hudson. Filled with potato and onion or potato and cheese, these Slavic dumplings provide a delicious and sustaining meal for more time on the mountain.

Take a Hike: The area boasts some of the oldest bedrock along the entire Appalachian Trail, with a history dating back some 12,000 years. In Vernon, the Trail parallels route 94, and eventually crawls up Wawayanda Mountain. This section has been dubbed the “stairway to heaven,” and includes a steep climb, waterfall, several bouldering rocks, as well as scenic views. Coming from the center of Vernon the trailhead can be found off of route 94, on the right after the chainsaw woodcarving stand.

On the catwalk: For a new addition to the winter wardrobe head down to the Showroom at the South base. Located on the second floor, the Showroom is Mountain Creek’s newest retail showcase for the latest trends in snow-inspired outerwear, street wear, and equipment. At the North base, check out Jack & Otto’s, located next to the Cab, for last-minute items like goggles, an extra underlayer, or thicker socks.

Switch it up: Whether your kids want to learn how to nose press or you have a desire to try a 180, you can sign up at the Switch Academy booth for a terrain-park lesson with one of Mountain Creek’s certified coaches. Sessions are open to skiers and riders confident in their abilities (intermediate to advanced), but who are looking to progress in their park-handling skills. From jumps, rails, and boxes, to hips, quarter pipes, and ride-on features, the Switch Academy offers something for every individual looking to take their experience to the next level, all in a fun and safe environment. Season-long programs for kids and adults are available as well.

Insider’s Tip: If you do not care to deal with the mad rush of weekend parking at Mountain Creek, book a night or two at the Appalachian. Located at the foot of Mountain Creek North, the Appalachian offers a fitness room along with a heated outdoor pool for relaxation after a long day. The luxurious suites come outfitted with kitchen, fireplace, wireless Internet, and a private balcony. Call for reservations, 888-767-0762, or go online to book a room and lift ticket package (

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