Only 18 miles from the George Washington Bridge, Campgaw is one of the best places to learn to ski near New York City.
Campgaw Ski Area
Ski resorts come in all shapes and sizes. Although Campgaw is unquestionably on the smaller size (one of, if not the smallest resort covered on Ultimate-Ski.com), it is a wonderful ski resort that fills a key niche in the New York City metro market. Without traffic, a New York City skier could be at the hill in less than an hour.
Generations of skiers have learned the sport at Campgaw. It is a traditional feeder hill through and through. It understands its role and, unlike many smaller hills, doesn't pretend to be something it's not.
With just a 276 ft vertical drop, Campgaw is tailormade for beginner skiers looking to pick up the sport. Limited intermediate and expert terrain means that beginners are free to learn without fear of better skiers schussing by.
The two main chairlifts (Lift #1 and Lift #2) go to the summit where the only way down is on (generously-rated) black and double black trails. Beginners and intermediates can unload at the midstation of Lift #2. The resort is open for day and night skiing.
Campgaw Beginner Skiing
Campgaw features three magic carpet lifts to introduce beginners to the sport. Unsurprisingly, children and families make up a huge percentage of Campgaw's clientele. The ski area is about as family friendly as ski areas come and the quiet slopes of the lower hill make for wonderful nursery slopes.
More advanced beginners can progress to the Lower Lenape trail from the midstation of Lift #2. Lower Mighty Gaw (a blue run) is within the grasp of beginners comfortable on green trails at larger resorts.
Campgaw Intermediate Skiing
Intermediate skiers have a handful of options at Campgaw. Although the summit runs are marked as black diamonds, they are quite overclassified. Most strong intermediates will be able to ski everything on the mountain without difficulty, perhaps with the exception of Upper Lift Line.
Campgaw Expert Skiing
Although Campgaw claims a handful of expert runs, the black and double black diamond trails would be classified as blue runs pretty much anywhere else. Combined with a short vertical drop, these runs are really more confidence boosters for progressing intermediates than true expert trails. Expert skiers should try nearby Mountain Creek for a more robust offering of black diamond trails.
Campgaw Ski School
Campgaw is a great, low pressure place to learn to ski. Group and private lessons are available for both children and adults. Compared to larger resorts, rates are quite a bit less expensive.
Campgaw Restaurants & Bars
Campgaw has a snack bar in the main base lodge serving standard American ski lodge food. Hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza are the regular fare.
There is no on mountain lodging at Campgaw. Although there are numerous hotels in the area, few if any guests visit Campgaw except as day guests.
Campgaw Snow Tubing
In additional to skiing and snowboarding, Campgaw offers a tubing center. Two lifts bring tubers up to the top of 10 separate lanes with runs that are 800' in length.
Getting to Campgaw
Campgaw is the only ski resort in Bergen County, NJ. It's a short drive for most of New Jersey and New York City.
Driving Distance / Approximate Drive Time
Morristown, NJ - 30 mi / 35 minutes
New York City, NY - 36 mi / 55 minutes
Top: 726 ft
Bottom: 450 ft
Vertical: 276 ft
Skiable Area: 18 ac
Annual Snowfall: 45 in
Lifts: 5 (2 chairlifts, 3 surface lifts)
Campgaw Pros and Cons
+ good beginner and low intermediate terrain
- small vertical drop
- limited natural snowfall
Updated for Winter 2015-2016 - David B. Cronheim