VERNON, N.J. -- With a different name and $5 million in
improvements, Mountain Creek opened as a water park in mid-June,
targeting a new type of visitor. "We've changed the nature of the
park. Our typical appeal used to be to roving gangs of 14-year-old
boys with tattoos and too many earrings.
"We're now after the family market," said Sally A. Johnstone,
public relations manager at Mountain Creek.
Intrawest, a developer and operator of mountain resorts,
purchased what was then known as the Vernon Valley/Great Gorge Ski
Area and Action Park in 1998. Altogether, Intrawest spent $20
million on improvements both to its water park and the ski and
snowboard portion of the resort. "One of the things we did was to
take the wave pool from nine feet deep to six feet deep to make it
more family-friendly," Johnstone said.
She said Mountain Creek attracts about 200,000 visitors a year.
For the ski portion of the park, Intrawest added an
eight-passenger, open-air gondola. The cabriolet gondola whisks
skiers to the summit of Vernon Peak in about five minutes. The
company plans further expansion and expects to spend $50 million by
the year 2001.
Johnstone said Intrawest wanted an older age group for its park
in large part because the company generally operates ski resorts
that also have housing components.
The water park includes a wading pool, raft rides, tubing and
mini-golf. The Lost Island play area is created especially for
children. Families can float around the river channel in inflatable
tubes or ride new Bumper Boats. For the more adventurous, there are
the Vortex and the Vertigo, two high-speed water coaster rides.
There's also mountain biking. Bikers can take the gondola up
1,000 feet to the summit and ride down. Twenty miles of trails
range from wide paths for beginners to single-track downhill paths
for experienced cyclists.
Mountain Creek, located 47 miles from New York City on Route 94,
is open through Sept. 6. Groups can range anywhere from 10 to
6,000. Some groups have booked the entire park, Johnstone said.
There's also a separate area for corporations or companies of 50 to
500 to have their own tents and barbecue facilities.
The attraction has an unusual pricing system based on height
because, it said, New Jersey regulations for theme parks are based
on the same principle. A ticket is $29 for anyone over 48 inches
tall, $15 for park-goers 36 to 47 inches tall and free to anyone
under 35 inches. Park admission does not include bike facilities.
Parking is free and season passes are available.
Mountain Creek offers two- and three-bedroom condominium rentals
at Great Gorge Village that start at $71 per person per night.
There are also nine bed-and-breakfasts in the immediate
vicinity, including the 1900s Colonial Revival-style Warwick Valley
Bed & Breakfast.
Phone: (973) 827-2000
Warwick Valley Bed & Breakfast
Phone: (914) 987-7255