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Firsthand Report: Epilepsy Awareness Weekend at Big Boulder
By Mike Ross
March 2, 2012

This past weekend was the culmination of planning, and a desire to “Rock the Purple.” Millions of Americans and people around the world contend with epilepsy. Some cases are minor, but this condition can lead to death, as my son and so many others have gone to God far too early because of it. Groups such as the National Epilepsy Foundation, along with hospitals and government agencies like the National Institutes of Health, are working hard for a cure. Developments are encouraging, but a cure must be found, as children and their families are counting on each and every one of us, to make a dream become a reality. The Facebook group Suck Feizures, aka Stop Seizures Now, is one organization that is trying to be a part of that process.

Photo provided by Mike Ross.

We have about 1,400 members from around the world, and we met up at Big Boulder Resort in Lake Harmony, PA Feb 24-26, 2012. It was our first get together, and it was a complete success. A special thanks to all who made the trek, along with the Comfort Inn at White Haven, and of course Big Boulder Resort. They were beyond helpful with getting us organized, and helping children with Angelman Syndrome and other conditions that have epilepsy as a component, have a chance to go tubing or hit the slopes. The ski patrol was notified in advance, and they were instrumental in making sure that all went well. It was beyond perfect, and everyone who works at this resort was more than accommodating.

Big Boulder Resort is owned by the same folks who operate Jack Frost across the street in this beautiful area of the Poconos. It’s roughly four hours away from the D.C. area, so it is a bit further from the closer-to-the-Beltway resorts, but I am going to return again no matter what. This is without a doubt the best resort I’ve been to on the East Coast, and it was fun to ski on real snow for once. While it was busy this past weekend, they had enough employees to handle the crowds, and watching the ski/snowboard jump competition was thrilling enough. Although I will never jump into the air and do backflips, it’s entertaining to see this and think “if only I was young again.” The slopes here are very wide. In fact, here is where you can really get in some turns, and also manage your speed more appropriately, if you are just getting the hang of the sport. Most people who come here are snowboarders, due to the two terrain parks, but plenty of us were on skis.

My personal favorite slope was the Graufdanger, which is German for Daredevil. You can really build up speed. In fact, I have never gone so fast. There is just heart pounding fun on this slope, as my eyes even behind the glasses were watering and felt like they were in the back of my head, which they very well could have been. The Bunny Elbow and Shuss are intermediate slopes on the left side of the mountain, and these are very long runs. Be careful on the elbow, as you have to make a sharp turn, thus adding a bit of adrenaline to the mix. These two “bunny” runs last about two minutes, and the views from this side of the mountain are spectacular. You can see wind powered devices in the distance, along with the majestic beauty of the Poconos.

Photo provided by Mike Ross.

The conditions were great. We did two days. Saturday was very cold, about 17 degrees Fahrenheit with winds of 40 mph, and real snow coming down. For a Virginia boy, it was chillier than normal, but for the folks who rolled down up north they did not bat an eye. There are a lot of lifts here. All of them are pretty quick, and the majority of them are triples and quads. You will not wait long to get on one, unless you are on the beginner area. That is to be expected, but even then, the staff and the ski school got high marks from our folks just getting the hang of this sport. The beginner hills were fine for warming up, and there’s even a small mound to jump off of at the top of one. It was gentle, as you only got a couple inches of air, but some of the larger mounds will send you airborne like never before. If you are into catching air and want something more exciting than the Beltway area ski resorts, Big Boulder might just be the place you are looking for.

As for dining options, they have a traditional restaurant/lodge with a fireplace. The prices here are very affordable. I was shocked that you could get a pretty good hamburger, fries, and a soda for under $10. If you’d like to go to their small lodge by the advanced slopes, you can also get wings, tater tots, and very good steak and cheese sandwiches with a beer. Getting lift tickets here is a simple process, and the rental equipment was in good condition and modern. There is a small ski shop, and plenty of housing rentals in the area also. While we stayed at the Comfort Inn, if you are looking for a place to stay and hit the slopes, this is a beautiful resort that has a lot of options. There are plenty of rentals, and the two lakes are simply gorgeous. I am now a huge fan of Big Boulder Resort, as while I was not sure what to expect, it surpassed my high expectations in every way. Also, they treated all of us with Suck Feizures so well, that a special thank you is deserved to them, for going every step to make sure everyone got a chance to have a lot of fun. Thank you Big Boulder, our group and our family are returning.

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Woody B
5 years ago
Mike, a great report on your weekend at Big Boulder and the important work of Stop Seizures Now and related organizations that are working to address epilepsy. Sounds like a great event.

I’m glad your first visit to BB was so enjoyable. I’ve been there only once but enjoyed it too. The vertical drop is small, but they make the most of their horizontal. And, I agree, they handle food and crowds quite well.

Thanks for your report and the gorgeous photos!

Woody
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