Slopeside Fun Sans Snow at These 8 Mountain Ski Resorts
No need to freeze for a mountain of activities By Mimi Slawoff
Okemo Moutain Resort (Okemo Moutain Resort )
Although best known for their snowy slopes, a growing number of ski resorts offer even more action-packed activities in summer. Hiking and biking, of course, but much more. According to the National Ski Areas Association, more than half of US ski resorts now offer summer tubing, ziplines, climbing walls, bungee trampolines and other thrilling activities to enhance a mountain vacation. Here’s a sampling of eight resorts that offer numerous ways to get up, down and around the mountains.
The Adventure Zone wrist band offers the best value for enjoying a mountain of activities, including the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster, ropes courses, zipline, bungee trampoline, disc golf and climbing wall. At the Family Fore Course, parents, kids and new golfers learn the ins and outs of golfing on the four-hole course.
More time? Rent a bike and hit the trail to Buttermilk Falls.
Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville, MI
Dash down the mountain on the Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide -- the only one in Michigan. Sleds speed down on 1,700-foot-long curved tracks. But no worries, you control the speed as you navigate dips and high-bank turns. Splash around at the Park at Water’s Edge, a one-acre, outdoor water playground. The main attraction is the 4,200-square-foot pool featuring water cannons, volleyball, basketball and other games for all ages. Paintball, a climbing wall and biking round out a day on the mountain.
More time? Ride the Crystal Clipper Chairlift to mountaintop attractions including concerts and face painting on select dates.
Fly through the woods on single or dual side-by-side 750-foot-long ziplines. The six zipline course takes you through the trees and over a ravine and stream bed at 25 mph. Jump into the sky on the slopeside Bungee Trampoline. Intermediate and advanced cyclists can ride on 25 miles of trails at the bike park. Newbies are welcome to take a class to sharpen riding skills.
More time? Ride the Chondola lift to the top and hike down.
Stowe Vermont (Flickr: Lara Farhadi)
In addition to golfing, visitors can hike and bike on scenic trails through the woods, past shops and along the West Branch Little River. While kids ages 3 – 12 play golf and tennis, try rock climbing and explore streams at the Summer Adventure Camp, parents can indulge in a treatment at the Spa at Stowe Mountain Lodge.
More time? Take a drive on the Auto Toll Road for breathtaking views of the Adirondack Mountains.
Whiteface-Lake Placid, NY
Feel like an Olympian as you race down in a bobsled with a professional driver and brakeman on a track used in the 1980 Olympics. Inspired? Ages 8 and older can learn to ride a wheeled luge during an hour-long program. The resort, which hosted two Winter Olympics, welcomes the public to watch freestyle aerialists practice their stunts over a swimming pool during the Summer Jumping Series. Stick around to meet the athletes.
More time? Visit the Olympic Museum.
Seven Springs Resort, PA
Looking for adventure? This four-season resort packs it in with summer tubing, alpine slide, a 24-foot rock wall, zip line, mini golf and paintball. Work up a sweat navigating the downhill bike park’s berms, banks, rock gardens, drops, ladder bridges and boxes. Cool off at the Bavarian Beach Pool. Kids’ Night Out keeps ages 3 - 10 busy with games while parents grab dinner and drinks.
More Time? Take a short drive to Ohiopyle State Park.
Nestled in the Sawtooth Mountains, the resort offers a one-hour canoe adventure along the Poplar River. Free for resort guests, the guided excursion includes all necessary gear. Kayaking is a great way to take in the Sawtooth Ridges. Get close up views of cliffs, caves and cobblestone beaches. More resort activities include golf, rock climbing and birding.
More time? Catch the big one on a charter fishing trip.
Smugglers Notch (Flickr: Norman Maddeaux)
As if eight pools and four waterslides aren’t enough to thrill kids, this bustling resort has a plethora of activities from the usual roundup (ziplines, disc golf) to unique adventures like llama trekking. Hike and picnic with these gentle creatures in the woods and trails around Smugglers' Notch.
More time? The resort’s Adventure Days program brings teens and adults on kayaking and biking excursions throughout northern Vermont.