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New Poconos tourism campaign looks beyond skiing

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 05 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 07 2013 09:26:56 AM CST

Poconos luring tourist toward other activities

POCONO MANOR, Pa. -

When you think of the Poconos, you probably think of skiing or casinos.  But a new tourism campaign aims to reach a broader audience with some winter activities you might not have thought of.

In warmer months, Pocono Manor in Monroe Co. is a golf course.

"But in the wintertime it's our little winter wonderland," said Lance Mirkin, owner of Pocono Motorsports.

When the greens turn to white, Mirkin turns the course into snowmobile trails.  It's just one of the many non-skiing activities available in the winter in the Pocono Mountains.

"Only five percent of the population actually skis, so many more people can take advantage," said David West, vice president of marketing for the region's visitors' bureau.

Snowmobiling is just one feature of a new tourism campaign designed to attract visitors from Philadelphia and New York who don't hit the slopes.

"We do television commercials; we have billboards," said West.  "We use a lot of New Jersey Transit."

People like Valerie Tomasso from Philly, who spent Sunday trying her hand at dog sledding.  Why did she do it?

"Because I didn't want to ski!" she said.

Our 69 News crew even got a first-hand lesson in dog sledding.

"You need to go put your two feet on the brake with all your weight," said instructor Susan Marsh.  "Stand on that with two feet and hold that until we tell you to let go."

It's a huge rush.

But if you don't feel the need for speed, there are quieter pursuits, including -- believe it or not -- wintertime horseback riding.

"You can go ice fishing, ice skating, snowmobiling, dog sledding, horseback," said Mirkin.

So with a little something for everyone, and plenty of snow on the ground…there's no reason to stay inside this winter.