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Hidden Valley, PA 2018

It would not be a ski season in the Becker house without a weekend trip to Hidden Valley Resort in PA. This year’s trip was from January 5th to the 7th. After grabbing the boys from school on Friday the 4th, we headed toward the frigid north in a warm car blasting the third audiobook in the 39 Clues series. As is customary for our road trips toward the Laurel Highlands, we stopped for a pee break and snack load-up at the Travelers Oasis in Breezewood, PA.

The route to Hidden Valley (at least from our house) means we depart the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the Somerset exit. With it being dinner time, we settled on a place we’ve never tried – The Summit Diner. This place is a true diner for breakfast all day, neon lights, metal framed tables, red chairs, and a wide variety menu. Our boys like eating at diner bars versus tables, so we cozied up to the long bar. Service was prompt and super friendly. Our waitress took the time to inform us that the diner has its own in-house butcher. So, any meat we order will have gone through his discerning hands.

While we did not actually play anything on the jukebox, the staff made great selections of classic 50’s and 60’s music. Our order ranged from a true hot roast beef sandwich to pancakes. Not only was everyone very happy with their meal, we left with two house-made deserts, Boston Cream pie and a Gob Cake. We were not out of the parking lot and everyone said we should hit the Summit Diner on the way back home.

By the time we reached Hidden Valley at 7:30pm the car indicated an outdoor temperature of 1 degree. We settled into our typical room at the Inn at Hidden Valley and turned in early. The next morning we were treated to -2 temps and a wind chill of -24 degrees. Typically, like everyone else on the mountain, we drop our bags of extra gear and snacks at one of the tables near the cafeteria. This particular Saturday morning the cafeteria was not only empty but we secured a coveted large, round table near the huge stone fireplace.

Ski conditions were great with plenty of base and loose, fresh snow on top. Covered head to toe, we got 4-5 runs in before we headed in for a little warm up by the fire. The rest of the day pretty much followed the path of an hour or two on the slopes and 30 minutes by the fire. By 5:30 in the evening we were ready to call its day. So, we checked our skis at the ski rental area, loaded up in the car and headed to our digs at the Inn at Hidden Valley. The Inn is close to the mountain but still a very short (400 yards) car ride to the mountain. The accommodation is nothing special but gets the job done as a warm place to rest one’s head for the night.

The next day the winds were gone and was a bright blue bird morning at 0 degrees. We were back on the slopes by 10:00 am and enjoyed a morning of no lift lines, great conditions, and warming temperatures. By midday, the temps were nearing 20 degrees which felt balmy compared to the day before. Obviously, many people waited for the mercury to move up. After lunchtime a second main lift had to be opened due to the growing lift lines.

We called it a day around 4:00pm, loaded up the car and started the long trek back home. Our hopes to revisit the Summit Diner were dashed when we realized the diner is only open for dinner on Fridays. Our dinner pivot found us at Eat-n-Park for a quick dinner and Smiley cookies. The end.

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