SPECIAL REPORT: RESORTS ADD AERIAL, BIKE ADVENTURES TO SUMMER OPERATIONS
Amid a slew of special events involving everything from music to mud, resorts across the U.S. have added and expanded facilities for mountain biking and adventuring in the treetops. Ziplines, canopy tours, and adventure parks have become a hot trend. Often, these are being coupled with Segway tours, bag jumps, disc golf, and such old-school summer options as bungee trampolines and climbing walls.
Here’s a look at what’s happening.
New Adventure Parks and ToursNew adventure parks and aerial tours have launched, or will soon, at the following areas.
- Bromley has opened a 60-feature, $500,000 Aerial Adventure Park that combines elements of zip lines, canopy tours, and challenge courses. There are five routes and four difficulty levels. The Park expands Bromley’s already-impressive summer lineup of ziplines, Alpine Slide and mountain coasters, paddle boats, and other attractions.
- Mount Sunapee debuted its Adventure Park, which includes a Canopy Zip-Line Tour from the mountain summit and a Treetop Obstacle Course. It also added Segway tours and disc golf.
- Loon Mountain, N.H., is set to open a new Aerial Forest Adventure Park this month, with five levels of treetop bridges, ziplines, and other challenges.
- Waterville Valley, N.H., is introducing zipline canopy tours on Barron Mountain. Two courses explore more than 300 acres of forest.
- Gore Mountain, N.Y., has installed a variety of base-area amenities, including a climbing wall, bungee trampoline, an inflatable obstacle course, and disc golf.
- Angel Fire, N.M., has a new multi-station Summit Adventure Center anchored by a Zipline Adventure Tour, including its signature 1,600 tandem zipline that soars fifty stories above the ground on its peak-to-peak route. Milder courses suit the less adventurous. The Center also includes bungee trampolines, disc golf, horseshoes, and hiking trails.
- Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Colo., has created an unusual High Lonesome zipline tour; it starts 25 to 30 minutes from the base area, and is reached by a military-style 12-passenger 4x4. Zips range in length from 370 to 1,600 feet, and are up to 78 feet above the ground. Guides explain local and resort history during the three-hour adventure.
- Whitefish, Mont., is developing a five-acre Aerial Adventure Park, with five course levels, in front of the base lodge. It was designed by Outdoor Ventures Group and is set to open Aug. 1. The resort also extended its separate zipline tours with the addition of a new 1,900-foot line, the longest at the area.
Expanded Parks and Tours
- Other resorts have added to their existing base-area parks and attractions. Among them:
- Sunday River, Me., offers a new nine-hole disc golf course and bungee trampoline to supplement its existing zipline tours, geocache adventures, and other activities.
- Jiminy Peak, Mass., has added a two-person, family-friendly Soaring Eagle zipline and Segway tours. It also created a sixth course in its Aerial Adventure Park and added new challenges to existing courses to keep them fresh for returning visitors.
- Cranmore, N.H., like sister resort Jiminy, has added the Soaring Eagle Zip-Line and Segway tours. These complement its existing Adventure Park and mountain coaster.
- Okemo, Vt., augmented its Adventure Zone with the Sawyer’s Sweep zipline tour. Seven descents of 300 to 900 feet are linked by rope ladders and suspended bridges. Also new to the Zone: a 30x50 Amp Energy Big Air Bag to catch free-fallers, and a slackline to test balance. Okemo is also adding a rock-climbing pinnacle and Segway tours.
- Holiday Valley, N.Y., added a ninth course to its Sky High Adventure Park. The new Grand Rapids route consists of six dual ziplines that descend into the base area.
- Windham, N.Y., has supplemented its Adventure Park, inaugurated last summer, with off-road go-karts, a bungee trampoline, 30-foot Big Air Bag jumps and a skate park.
- Camelback, Pa., has invested $3 million at its CBK Mountain Adventures, an entity related to but separate from its Camelbeach waterpark. The Adventures now include a 4,000-foot-long, tandem Zip-Flier with speeds up to 60 mph. The summit-to-base line descends 700 vertical feet; it passes over the waterpark and terminates in the parking lot. A new steel-track 4,500-foot mountain coaster is scheduled to open at the end of July.
- Crested Butte, Colo., has constructed the Trailhead Tree House Playground for kids, adjacent to its recently-developed Adventure Park. The Playground was built in partnership with the Trailhead Children’s Museum and other community supporters.
- Whitefish, Mont., expanded its zipline offerings with a new 1,900-foot line, its longest.
Mountain Bike DevelopmentsMountain bike expansions are spread across the country as well.
- Mount Snow, Vt., aims to bring in newbie riders via Trail 7, its expanded and rebuffed introductory downhill trail. The new section opened at the end of June.
- Crested Butte, Colo., bolstered it Evolution Bike Park with a new intermediate trail set to open this month, with a more advanced trail planned for later in the summer. Both add to the park’s 25 miles of trails.
- Angel Fire added several miles of beginner and intermediate trails, both downhill and cross-country, to its Bike Park. To further make mountain biking accessible to a wider audience, it is adding children’s rental bikes, bike clinics, skill centers, and multi-day camps.
- Canyons, Utah, expanded its Bike Park by adding two new flow trails, the more-difficult Dark Hollow trail and the White Rabbit, rated easiest, for a total of five flow trails. Existing trails have been reworked as well. To make it all more accessible, the resort has added quick-loading Deason Built carriers to two lifts and launched a Bike Academy.
- Whitefish hopes to construct two new freeride trails, each with more than 2,000 vertical drop, and a total of 4.6 miles of new trails, pending Forest Service approval.
Next on the Horizon…Who knows what other activities will take hold in the mountains? No one, which is why it’s encouraging to see resorts explore new possibilities. Plattekill, N.Y., for example, has dipped its toe into kayak waters, renting kayaks for use on nearby rivers and lakes. Paddling has been a growing activity with older Americans especially; perhaps this is a way to keep Boomers engaged year-round.
What activities and facilities are you considering? Have you placed any significant bets already? Let us know in the comments section, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.