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This new ski slope’s no joke. Poconos (Camelback) resort opens trail that’s a rarity for the region

This is an aerial photo of Basilisk, the newest trail at Camelback Resort. It opened in February 2019.

This one’s not for the skiing or snowboarding novice.

Camelback Resort this month opened its newest trail, and it’s been rated a “double black diamond.” For those unfamiliar with ski trail ratings, most of the ski resorts in the Poconos predominantly feature trails that fall into three categories: green (beginner), blue (intermediate) and black diamond (expert). Armed with that knowledge, you don’t have to be a ski pro to correctly conclude that a double black diamond is… well… really challenging.

The new trail is called Basilisk, “named after the European, legendary beast that was the king of the serpents,” a news release from the resort says. It brings the total number of trails at the Tannersville-based Camelback to 39, the most of any ski area in the Poconos, the release says.

The footprint of the new trail will be familiar to many, particularly those who have childhood memories of summer trips to Camelback. It is located under the Sullivan Express chair lift and was previously home to the iconic Alpine Slide that closed more than a decade ago.

“Last summer, the mountain operations team removed slide remnants from the cascading banked turns and recent natural snowfall revealed the opportunity to create a new trail, with unique terrain,” the release states. As to the trail’s status as a double black diamond, its second with that rating, the resort notes that means it is intended only for experts due to its drops and narrow turns.

A trail rated as a double black diamond is somewhat of a rarity for the Poconos, according to Kelly Shannon of the Pocono Mountains Visitors’ Bureau.

“They aren’t super common, but we do have a few other ski areas that have them,” Shannon said in an email. “Blue Mountain has four, and Ski Big Bear has one. Shawnee Mountain, Jack Frost, and Big Boulder don’t have any double black diamonds.”

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