Ski resorts offer ziplines for summer

LA Times | Travel

Alpine slides, mountain boards, zip lines ... there's a lot to do at ski resorts in the summer. New Hampshire's Attitash Ski Resort began luring offseason visitors in the 1970s with an alpine slide - inviting riders to cruise down a banked, concrete trough in a brake-equipped, lugelike sled. O...

By Marshall S. Berdan // 07.01.09

Alpine slides, mountain boards, zip lines ... there's a lot to do at ski resorts in the summer.

New Hampshire's Attitash Ski Resort began luring offseason visitors in the 1970s with an alpine slide - inviting riders to cruise down a banked, concrete trough in a brake-equipped, lugelike sled. Over the next three decades, more New England ski resorts joined in the summertime fun with other downhill lures, ranging from waterslides and mountain bike trails to mountain boards and scooters.

In 2007, New Hampshire's Wildcat Mountain inaugurated the region's first zip line - a one-person harness suspended from overhead wire cables down which you quite literally zip. So popular did it prove to be that four more have opened in the past six months, three of which are officially "canopy" tours - a sequential series of zip lines.

As a result, there's never been a better summer for thrill-seekers to "hit the slopes" - or, in the case of those zip lines, fly dozens of feet over them.

To help you plot out your next snowless safari, profiled below are the new and improved methods of going green downhill being offered at New England ski resorts this summer, along with recaps of the other established players and some tempting new stay-and-play offers.

Note: Age, height and, in the case of zip lines, weight restrictions generally exist. Be sure to check before you go. Participation often is limited, so check availability and make a reservation before you leave home.


Sno Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Rd., Scranton, 570-969-7669,

Just two hours west of New York City, Sno Mountain's ZipRider (a zip line in which the rider "sits" in a suspended nylon chair) is more than a half-mile long. Thrill-seekers on four parallel cables can reach speeds of 50 miles an hour. Making the trip more worthwhile this summer: the new Sno Cove Water Park, featuring a six-story Tundra Tornado Tube, body slides, bumper boats and a cross-country float canal. COST $15 per ZipRider ride ($10 with water park pass); $29.95 adult water park pass, $20.95 under 48 inches. STAY If you want to make a night of it, there are several chain hotels in Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre.


Jiminy Peak, Brodie Mountain Rd., Hancock, 413-738-5500,

The resort's Mountain Adventure Park has 2-year-old twin alpine slides, a Euro-Bungy trampoline, a ropes course and a mountain coaster ($39-$45 adult day pass, $29-$33 under 48 inches). Experienced mountain bikers will find plenty of challenges here, with day-lift passes costing $26. You can rent a bike for the day ($35-$60). DEAL If you can go midweek, look into the Mountain Adventure Park Package. Stay one night in any Country Inn Suite (from $149) and receive two free evening (4-9 p.m.) Adventure Park passes.


Bromley, Route 11, Peru, Vt., 802-824-5522,

Bromley's Sun Mountain Adventure Park, the home of the Green Mountain State's first alpine slide, will welcome a major addition next weekend - Vermont's first ZipRider. Costing more than $1 million, the half-mile Sun Mountain Flyer will descend 700 feet (average grade of 26 degrees) and attain speeds of 50 miles an hour. It joins a host of other attractions, including a triple-track alpine slide, giant swing, space bikes, water slide and 100-foot Adrenaline Zip Line. COST $29-$39 day pass ($23-$32 half-day); $20 per ride on Sun Mountain Flyer ($15 with day pass). DEAL Stay-and-play packages at Bromley Sun Lodge are available for $69.50 a person per night based on a family of four, including lodging, breakfast and all-day Adventure Park passes.

Killington Resort, 4763 Killington Rd., Killington, Vt., 877-458-4637,

Vermont's steepest alpine slides are at the Pico Adventure Center, which also offers climbing walls, miniature golf and a Pico Power Jump. For those looking for a full day of major ups and downs, pedal over to adjacent Killington's Kona Groove Approved Mountain Bike Park, where there are more than 45 miles of trails - and 1,700 feet of descent - spread out over five peaks. COST $34 Adventure Center day pass ($24 half-day); $35 all-day lift ticket for Mountain Bike Park (both prices apply to ages 13-64) DEAL Summer "Adventure Packages," including two nights' lodging, two all-day Adventure Center passes, begin at $116 per person for a family of four.

Smugglers' Notch, Route 108 South, Smugglers' Notch, Vt., 800-451-8752,

New to the resort's exotic list of add-on options: SegWay tours ($45-$75 for 60-90 minutes). Other activities include llama trail rides, mountain boarding (skateboarding meets snowboarding), digglering (a cross between mountain biking and snowboarding) and GeoCaching (a scavenger hunt using global positioning systems). DEAL Perhaps even more thrilling, accommodation prices have been rolled back to 2004 levels: 3 nights in a one-bedroom condo for a family of four begins at $628.

Stowe Mountain Resort, 5781 Mountain Rd., Stowe, Vt., 800-253-4754,

Stowe is posher than ever, thanks to the long-awaited opening of the superluxury Stowe Mountain Lodge at Spruce Peak last June. You'll find 2,300-foot twin alpine slides, a bungee trampoline, climbing wall, obstacle course and Mount Mansfield gondola sky ride. COST $73 all-day pass; $20 for alpine slides, $23 round-trip gondola. DEAL Midweek, an Inn room goes for $75-$135 per night (a $40 savings), if you stay for a minimum of two nights.


Wildcat Mountain, Route 16, Pinkham Notch, N.H., 888-SKIWILD,

The 2,100-foot ZipRider was such a crowd-pleaser, the resort added two new cables last year. For those looking for something a little less exhilarating between zips, you also can now play nine holes of Alpine DiscGolf - which is sort of like playing golf with a Frisbee ($15 a person, including lift ticket). COST $20 ZipRider ($10 additional rides that day).

Attitash, Route 302, Bartlett, N.H., 877-677-7669,

It was Attitash that introduced the alpine slide to New England in the early 1970s. Thirty years later, its twin tracks are still the longest in North America, measuring nearly a mile. There's also a water park, climbing wall, trampoline and access to mountain biking. COST $35 day pass ($15 under 48 inches). DEAL Slide and Ride packages at Attitash's Grand Summit Hotel begin at $57 a person for a family of four and include lodging, breakfast and an all-day pass for everybody.

The Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods, Route 302, Bretton Woods, N.H., 877-873-0626,

The amenity-loaded Mount Washington Resort has abandoned its lift-serviced mountain biking (Nordic biking is still available) in favor of a year-round, Bonzai-designed Canopy Tour. Participants descend a total of 1,000 feet via two suspension bridges, and 10 separate zip lines 120 to 830 feet long and strung as high as 150 feet above the treetops. COST $110 for the full 31/2-hour tour ($89 for resort guests); $15 for just the final side-by-side zip lines. DEAL The resort's "R&R" package starts at $109 a person per night and includes accommodations plus a choice of one daily canopy tour, 18 holes of golf with a cart or a spa treatment.