From leisurely mountaintop brunches to squeal-inducing mountain coaster rides, ski mountains in the Northeast switched gears into summer mode. Along with the traditional off-mountain facilities like golf courses, spas and sports complexes, these mountains take advantage of their steep terrain and natural environment to offer family adventures most other resorts can’t match.
In the far north, Sugarloaf Mountain offers 75-minute zip line tours that reach speeds of 25 mph, sure to please thrill-seeking teens. In addition to zip line tours, mountain biking and scenic chairlift rides, Sunday River highlights Maine’s fascinating geology with a mining tour into the Bumpus Mine, where the world’s largest beryl crystal was discovered.
One of the first to add summer activities, Cranmore Mountain in North Conway has a mountain coaster with 2,000 feet of track at driver-controlled speeds, as well as a giant swing, an aerial adventure park and the little kid-friendly Spider Mountain. Every Sunday there’s brunch at the summit, reached by a chairlift ride. Each Saturday afternoon in July and August, nearby Attitash hosts free outdoor concerts in its Mountainside Summer Music Series. Attitash is known for its single-rider Aquaboggan slides, featuring three different routes, hairpin turns and underground tunnels. Attitash’s zip line has the longest single span in the East.
At Loon Mountain the gondola takes families to the summit for lunch overlooking Loon Pond or adventures exploring the caves and passages of a tumble of giant glacial boulders. There’s also an Aerial Forest Adventure Park and a zip line carries riders over the Pemigewasset River.
The Aerial Tree Tops Adventure Course at Gunstock Mountain Resort is the longest in the United States, at almost 4,000 feet; for lower-altitude fun, there’s Segway tours and kayaking on the lake.
The Adventure Park at Mount Sunapee includes canopy zip line tours, a downhill mountain biking park, an aerial challenge course, championship disc golf, 3-D archery and climbing wall tower, as well as chairlift rides to the summit for beautiful lake and mountain views. Waterville Valley is known for the valley’s 100-plus miles of hiking trails, and a hiking program that ranges from easy walking paths to steep mountain ascents. Kids love paddle boarding and kayaking in the pond at the resort village.
Okemo Mountain Resort’s Adventure Zone quickly grew from the original mountain coaster to include miniature golf, disc golf, bungee trampolines, zip line tours, a treetop challenge course, Segway tours, bounce houses and a climbing wall. The Evolution Bike Park offers lift-served mountain biking on six lower mountain trails with berms, bridges, boardwalks and rollers; or you take a scenic chairlift ride just for the sweeping views. Okemo’s summer schedule is filled with events that include free lawn concerts every Friday evening.
The Aerial Adventure Park at Bromley Mountain includes 65 elements across five courses, only a part of the mountain’s fun zone. The ZipRider reaches speeds as high as 50 mph in its 700-foot vertical drop. There’s a triple track Alpine Slide, mini golf and the Giant Swing, plus free family entertainment, most weekends. You can ride up one of the mountain bike trails at Mount Snow, or take the chairlift up to the top and ride back to the base; there are trails for all abilities on and off the mountain.
Mountains in the Berkshires get in on the summer action, too, with an Alpine Super Slide, Mountain Coaster and Giant Swing at Jiminy Peak’s Mountain Adventure Park. Bousquet Mountain in Pittsfield has a zip line, an aerial course and six waterslides: Both have bungee-trampolines and climbing walls.