Exploring New England
HOME OF DESTINATIONS IN NEW ENGLAND Exploring New England Exploring New England

FREE SUBSCRIPTION

EXPLORING NEW ENGLAND
Not a current subscriber? Well, you're missing out on the FREE New England Trip Planner Package. Click here to get your own free travel package and newsletters now.


WHERE TO STAY

Click here to
decide which is
the best place
for YOU to stay
in New England.

Click here to find a place to stay.

PAST ISSUES






DESTINATION: VERMONT

Google
 

Summer Activities at Two Vermont Ski Resorts

By James H. Hyde
Editor

Alpine Ride
The Alpine Slide at Bromley Mountain Copyright © Bromley Mountain 2000-2008 . All Rights reserved.
At first, the chairlift is a little scary. You look down at your feet, and...no skis. The presence of green and absence of white is completely incongruous, but within minutes you realize the sudden quietness, and you relax. Itís summer in Vermont, and youíre at a ski resort on one of a number of various rides it offers.

While major ski areas have generally done well at what they were designed to do, the pressure to keep cash flowing year-round has risen over the years as the cost of maintaining a resort has escalated dramatically. Plus, each and every season is a crapshoot. Mother Nature is hardly predictable or reliable, so as soon as the night temperatures dip below freezing, the snowmaking efforts begin, and the meter starts running.

Oddly, the biggest motivator of a ski trip isnít the beckoning peaks or the itch to slap the boards on your feet. Itís how much snow skiers living outside of New England, or in the southern states in the region, has fallen around them. Thatís the psychological motivator, according to a number of studies. If there is no snow in the Mid-Atlantic States, Vermont gets fewer skiers. If thereís at least a foot on the ground in say, Westchester County, NY, people head for the mountains in hordes.

"If thereís at least a foot of snow on the ground in say, Westchester County, NY, people head for the mountains in hordes."

But it doesnít work that way in the summer. Itís the mix of pristine flora, fresh air, grazing deer and moose, and the ability to go emotionally limp, if only for a week or two, that brings people to the Green Mountain State. When they go home, theyíre energized with batteries recharged.

The Gondola Ride at Stowe Mountain Resort Copyright © Stowe Mountain Resort 2000-2008 . All Rights reserved.
For the ski resorts, the need to innovate and attract people to snowless trails is almost as important as having a great, snowy ski season.

The season just ended was a good one, the one before it, not so great. The final numbers for this season wonít be tallied until June 2008, but the estimate is that 4.1 million skiers visited Vermont ski areas during the 2007-2008 season, according to Montpelierís Times Argus newspaper.

Thatís up from the 3.8 million skiers the year before. The difference may not seem that striking. Itís only 300,000 skiers, after all, but the difference is in the dollarsólots of them.

The absence of those skiers represents $12 million in lost revenues based on an average $40 lift ticket per dayóand thatís just for lift tickets. But, while the most recent season represents a sizeable increase in dollars, itís not enough, so ski areas are doing all they can to get their share of summer tourist dollars.

"Ski areas are doing all they can to get their share of summer tourist dollars."

Despite all of the fall-foliage and skiers-schussing-through-virgin-powder marketing, summer actually brings more tourists to the state than does any other season.

The notorious swing at Bromley mountain swings riers at up to 40 mph. Bromley Mountain Copyright © Bromley Mountain 2000-2008 . All Rights reserved.

Before all of the rides and attractions replaced snow on the grassy trails, riding a chairlift to a mountainís peak was about the only thing to do at ski areas in the summer. The views alone are a special treat and well worth the cost of a lift ticket, even to a child.

Bromley Mountain, in Peru, VT, for instance, proudly announces at the top of the main chair lift, that one can see five states from the mountainís peak (Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, and, on a clear day, Maine). Of course, thereís no way to truly tell. Borders are invisible, but it certainly looks as if you can see the whole Northeast.

After youíd had enough of the views, you walked, ran or rode the chairlift back down the mountain.

But starting in the 1960s, ski areas began to come up with ideas to increase the pressure of the flow from the revenue tap. Their attraction of choice back then was the Alpine Slide, a twisting fiberglass track assembled on a trail that best suited it. Carts, little more than narrow Boogie Boards on wheels with a stick to control speed, whisked you down the mountain just about as fast as you wanted to go.

INNOVATION STILL EVOLVING

The Obstacle Course at Stowe Mountain Resort Copyright © Stowe Mountain Resort 2000-2008. All Rights reserved.
Additions and innovations since then are still evolving, and some of new rides command some stiff pricing (see the tables below). A trip down the Alpine Slide back in the Ď70s nearly equaled the price of an all-day lift ticket during the winter. Emphasis on "one ride.Ē But so much fun is the slide that adulterating an old commercial tag line, "Bet yaí canít ride just once,Ē makes the case. Theyíre patently addictive.

For purposes of this article, Iím comparing two great mountains, Stowe Mountain Resort in the North and Bromley in the southern part of Vermont.

These were chosen for the number of rides, the costs and each mountainís longevity. Stowe Mountain Resort was the first ski area built in the East and Bromley had a lock on southern Vermont. Its trails were sculpted into trails well before there was a Stratton or Magic Mountain.

"Stowe Mountain Resort was the first ski area built in the East, and Bromley's trails were sculpted well before there was a Stratton or Magic Mountain."
Miniature Golf at Bromley Mountain Bromley Mountain Copyright © Bromley Mountain 2000-2008 . All Rights reserved.
But I also enjoyed skiing at Stowe Mountain Resort tremendously. Itís carved into the face of Mt. Mansfield, Vermontís highest peak. It actually offers two mountains, the main mountain and Spruce Peak, the latter a bit more tame than the first.

Both mountains provide great trails for skiers, experienced or not, and foothill towns. The Town of Stowe, a good distance from the mountain, is so Rockwellian, itís a living painting of a quintessential New England town, the church on Main Street Iím told is the most photographed of all New England churches.

This isnít an article that pushes one mountain above another. Itís about what rides are available and how much they cost. Itís up to you to decide where to go once youíve read about each.

FOR A TEENAGER, LIVING WHERE WE DID WAS A BORE

Living where we did during the summers in South Londonderry, Vermont, was a teenagerís nightmare. No TV.

Video games hadnít yet sprung up in the minds of those who would design and program them, and the Mac, PC, iPod and even the cell phone were utterly inconceivable.

The best radio stations were in Boston (AMóI am so dating myself), so on clear days, I could get some great tunes. On cloudy days, nada. Worse, no parties to speak of.

The Space Bike Ride at Bromley. Bromley Mountain Copyright © Bromley Mountain 2000-2008 . All Rights reserved.
It wasnít until Bromley put in their first Alpine Slide that things got interesting. There was finally something to do, but it was pricey, so my parents, who were as hooked as my siblings and I, carefully spaced out the visits.

ALL SIX VERMONT SEASONS POSESS THEIR OWN BEAUTY

The real beauty of Vermont is that there isnít a season that tarnishes itóthat forces people to stay away in droves. There are six seasons in all, the usual four plus mud season and stick season. During those seasons, tourism does slow. The mud season comes in early spring when the snows melt and the stick season occurs when the last of the leaves has surrendered itself to the forest floor and the snow showers arrive. While those two relatively short seasons give the towns and resorts some respite and time to prepare for the busy seasons, in late fall the resorts start to make snow, and in late spring they hammer together their summer offerings.

MUCH MORE TO DO NOW THAN EVER

And each summer, the list of activities grows a bit longer. The expansion competition began in earnest in the 1990s and has only intensified since. To get a sense of which mountains have what rides and activities (and how far you want to drive given the cost of gas), Iím comparing Bromley and Stowe Mountain Resort to tell you what they offer and what they charge for those offerings.

Stowe Mountain Resort has some great and unusual offerings. Among them are: the Alpine Slide, of course, which is truly outstanding. Itís a 2,300-foot ride down Spruce Mountain; an Auto Toll Road, which takes you to the Pinnacle of Mt. Mansfield, where killer western views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains of New York are breath takers; the Gondola Skyride, which takes you almost to the mountainís peak, from which numerous hiking trails spider down the mountain. You can ride up and hike down, or take the round trip; an inflatable structure for jumping kids; a combination bungee trampoline, on which you can jump in a harness; an Inflatable Obstacle Course; and a climbing wall.

For places to stay near Bromley, please click on the following links: Londonderry, Vermont and Manchester, Vermont.

For other things to see and do in the Bromley area, please Click Here.

STOWE MOUNTAIN RESORT DIVERSIFIES BEYOND ATTRACTIONS

The Bungee Trampoline at Stowe Mountain Resort Copyright © Stowe Mountain Resort 2000-2008 . All Rights reserved.
Stowe Mountain Resort has diversified in a number of ways, from the addition of summer activities to the construction of a massive condominium complex with its own shops, stores and other amenities that could only be found in the village before. It was the first ski area built in the East and was originally a resort for employees and executives of insurance giant AIG.

Bromley, in contrast, was once owned by the Pabst Brewing Company. It, too has a village at its foothills, two actually, Manchester and Manchester Center. But towns in the mountains have built supermarkets, drug stores, hardware stores, etc., making acquisition much easier than driving down the mountain and back up, only to find that the ice cream melted.

Climbing Wall
The Climbing Rock Wall at Stowe Mountain Resort Copyright © Stowe Mountain Resort 2000-2008 . All Rights reserved.

Bromleyís "Thrill ZoneĒ has been well branded, and rides and activities are numerous and wild. The current Alpine Slide bears no resemblance to the one my family and I sped down in the Ď60s. Itís much bigger, better and faster.

To the Thrill Zone has been added:
a 24-foot climbing wall;
miniature golf;
Trampoline Thing, in which youíre harnessed to jump to new heights and spin and twirl all you want;
Twin Spin, which is like an arachnid merry-go-round on steroids;
space bikes attached to a special housing on which you can ride upside down or 360 degrees;
Super Slide, which is great for the little ones;
Adrenaline Zip Line, along which you "zipĒ 100 feet in the air;
the Big Splash, which is like a bigger and wider Alpine Ride, but water moves you down the slide;
Bumper Boats (bumper cars on water);
Bounce House, an inflatable structure that lets kids jump around;
and the Giant Swing, which according to Bromleyís Summer Attractions Web site "Ölooms as high as a four-story building, swings riders at speeds approaching 40 mph and produces 3Gs of gravitational force. Minimum height of 48" required to ride." Good riddance to boredom!

If youíre thinking about heading to Vermont this summer and you want to enjoy the highly bucolic benefits, peace and quiet, but want to have something for you, your wife and the kids to do together, you can go to Bromley, Stowe Mountain Resort or just about any ski area between and enjoy the shamrock elegance and quietude a mountain top offers while your kids are having a ball. Now thatís the perfect vacation.

NEED A PLACE TO STAY?

For places to stay near Stowe Mountain Resort, you can stay at the resort of choose from the following link: Stowe, Vermont.

OTHER PLACES TO GO AND THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN THE SURROUNDING AREA

For other things to see and do in the Stowe and Smuggler's Notch area, please Click Here.

STOWE MOUNTAIN RESORT, STOWE, VERMONT

ACTIVITYAGESPRICEDATES/HOURS
ALPINE SLIDE5 AND UNDER
WITH 1 PAID ADULT
FREEDAILY 6/21-9/7
WEEKEND
9/13-10/19
10 AM-5 PM
.ADULT 1 RIDE$19 .
.ADULT 3 RIDES$38 .
.JR/SR 1 RIDE$16.
.JR/SR 3 RIDES$31.
GONDOLA SKYRIDE5 AND UNDER
WITH 1 PAID ADULT
FREEDAILY 6/21-10/19
10 AM-5 PM
.ADULT/SR 1 WAY$16.
.JUNIOR 1 WAY$12.
.ADULT ROUND TRIP$22.
.JUNIOR ROUND TRIP$14.
.SENIOR ROUND TRIP$18 .
.5 RIDES$90.
.FAMILY PACK
2 ADULTS
2 JUNIORS MAX.
$48 .
BUNGEE
TRAMPOLINES
5 AND UNDER
WITH 1 PAID ADULT
FREEDAILY 6/21-9/7
WEEKENDS
9/13-10/18
10 AM-5 PM
.ADULT 3 PACK$25.
.JUNIOR 3 PACK$19.
.SENIOR 3 PACK$19.
INFLATABLE
OBSTACLE
COURSE
5 AND UNDER
WITH 1 PAID ADULT
FREEDAILY 6/21-9/7
WEEKENDS
9/13-10/18
10 AM-5 PM
.ADULT$19.
.JUNIOR$16.
.SENIOR$16.
CLIMBING
WALL
5 AND UNDER
WITH 1 PAID ADULT
FREEDAILY 6/21-9/7
WEEKENDS
9/13-10/19
10 AM-5 PM
.ADULT 3 PACK$25.
.JUNIOR 3 PACK$19.
.SENIOR 3 PACK$19.
TOLL ROADAUTOMOBILE$235/17-10/19
9 AM-4 PM
.PASSENGER
FEE OVER
6 PEOPLE
$7

BROMLEY MOUNTAIN, PERU, VERMONT

ACTIVITYTICKETSPRICEDATES/HOURS
ADVENTURE PASSACCESS TO ALL RIDES$39WEEKENDS
STARTING 5/6
.ACCESS TO ALL RIDES$32WEEKENDS
AM PASS
ADVENTURE PASSACCESS TO ALL RIDES$29 MONDAY-FRIDAY
.ACCESS TO ALL RIDES$23WEEKDAYS
AM PASS
FAMILY TUESDAYSACCESS TO ALL RIDES
ICE CREAM FOR
WHOLE FAMILY
$29TUESDAYS
SINGLE TICKETS.$2.25.
BOOK OF 15
TICKETS
.$28.
INDIVIDUAL
ACTIVITIES
...
SHOOT &
SHOWER
1 TICKET..
TWIN SPIN1 TICKET..
ADRENALINE
ZIP LINE
1 TICKET..
BIG SPLASH
WATER RIDE
2 TICKETS..
CLIMBING
WALL
2 TICKETS..
SPACE BIKES3 TICKETS..
TRAMPOLINE
THING
3 TICKETS..
GIANT
SWING
3 TICKETS. .
18 HOLE
MINI GOLF
4 TICKETS..
ALPINE SLIDE5 TICKETS..
ALPINE SCENIC
CHAIRLIFT
5 TICKETS..

INSIDE THIS ISSUE













There's lots more information for vacation and getaway
planning on our main Web sites:


Click New England vacations planning
to go to New-England-Vacations-Guide.com


Click New England getaway planning
to go to NewEnglandTimes.Com.


© 2008 New England Times Publishing, LLC, All Rights Reserved.