Monday, August 12, 2019

What Do Wine Writers Do On Summer Vacation? Well, They Don't Ski Vermont by Philip S. Kampe

                                                 Our first E-bike experience

                                              Don’t SKI VERMONT.

It’s summertime.

We all need a break from the wine world. Our body tells us so.

Each summer, at least in our case, we find an outlet to balance the demanding life of the wine world. One summer, it was discovering the ocean. Another year, it was live music. And another year, it was hiking.

This year, it’s about ‘adventure parks’ at ski slopes.

Vermont borders Massachusetts, where we live, making the drive to the famous ski slopes accessible year round. In the winter, we drink wine on the ski slopes. In the summer, we try to take a break.

Vermont ski slopes are about excitement, the type of excitement you don’t need skis for.
                                                                    Disc Golf
                                                                       Zip line

Our family took a ‘spur of the moment’ holiday in Vermont, known to many as the state Bernie Sanders is from.

We came for the beauty, to bond with nature and to explore. What we found was all of the above plus ‘adventure parks’ at just about all of the ski slopes we passed. We didn’t realize that the adventure parks utilize the chairlifts and real estate of the ski slopes for summer adventure.

What that means, business wise, is two fold: the winter ski staff now has a summer income, while the mountain remains open and the tourists and locals have a summer outlet where families and friends can enjoy the mountain air with the numerous activities these mountains have to offer.

Our first ‘adventure park’ experience started at Bromley, in southern Vermont. We purchased an all day ‘adventure park’ pass and began our experience in a truly non-traditional way-we learned how to play disc golf-nine holes at the base of the mountain and the final nine on top by way of a chairlift ride. Who knew that there were over a dozen shapes of Frisbees, those are the golf clubs, to use?  One was a driver, another a wedge and another was a putter. Playing disc golf was addictive and much more difficult then it looked.

The Green Mountains were the backdrop for our first attempt at ‘zip lining’ Bromley’s course has a 700 foot vertical drop with a lovely view high atop the mountain. Zip line speeds reach 50mph, which I am glad to admit, was no big deal. It seems that this sport is all glamour with no fear factor at all. And for what its worth, in my case, the zip line was addictive. We managed four runs before the 4pm closing time.

From Bromley you can see Stratton’s majestic peak, which was our next stop.

When we arrived at the village at Stratton, it was immediately reminiscent of Mont-Tremblant (Quebec). You could really stretch your imagination and think you were in Aspen.

There is always something magical about ski villages.

We checked into the Black Bear Lodge, a five minute walk from village square, took a necessary whirlpool to get our bodies back into shape and then headed to Benedict’s, in the village for libations and dinner, followed by handmade cannoli’s at Village Pie.

The next morning was the day of challenge-climbing the mountain on an e-bike. What is an e-bike you may ask? An e-bike, in this case is a TREK mountain bike with a battery charged engine. If the hill is too steep and your peddling can’t help you get up the mountain, the turbo engine kicks in, like magic.

Since we vowed to try everything, we changed to golf clothes, at least our version of golf clothes and drove to the Stratton Mountain 27 hole golf course. We chose the nine hole course, teed up, and had an enjoyable two hours plus chasing our golf balls. In reality, the beauty of the environment was all one needed on the golf course.

Afterwards, we had our version of ‘Happy Hour’ at the Green Apron, overlooking the majestic golf course. Our server told us that Stratton Mountain has hosted seven LPGA (women’s) professional golf tournaments over the years.

This short experience has wet our appetitive for more. There are so many ‘Adventure Parks’ to discover in Vermont. The list goes on…Killington…Sugarbush…Stowe…Mount Snow…Pico…Magic Mountain…Jay Peak…Bolton Valley…Mad River Glen….Suicide Six….Okemo…Mount Snow…

Some people want to visit all of the professional baseball stadiums in America.

Not us, we want to visit all of Vermont’s ‘adventure parks’ before the end of 2020.
It’s a goal we can reach. With it, comes bragging rights.

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