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Summer Fun at New Hampshire Ski Areas

by Barbara Rogers

Jun 17, 2018

© Alxcrs | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Ski mountains aren’t just for winter. Most larger ski resorts repositioned themselves as year-round recreation areas, taking advantage of the base facilities, ski lifts and mountain terrain for thrill rides and activities for all ages. Gravity-assisted activities — mountain coasters, zip lines and even tubing packs — use the steep slopes, canopy tours take advantage of the forested hillsides and a variety of activities keep kids and parents entertained.

Leading the way seven years ago with the opening of an entire Mountain Adventure Park, Cranmore Mountain in North Conway now offers more than a dozen summer activities. The Cranmore Mountain Coaster, also open in the winter, is a 2,390-foot-long-ride on what can best be described as a one-person rollercoaster that screams down the mountainside at speeds as high as 25 mph — that is, if you let it go that fast. Each cart has brakes that allow control of speed and the cart itself is securely held on the track.

There are mid-air thrills on the Aerial Adventure Course, a three-hour program that includes a rope course, zip lines and air bridges. The adventures are set up in five levels, differing in elevation, skill level and the amount of physical strength required. They all involve combinations of rope bridges, ladders, cargo nets and zip lines; everyone is securely attached to a guide line at all times. All courses are self-guided, so each person can set the speed they are comfortable with. A special 90-minute rope course is designed for kids ages 3–8.

Cranmore’s Adventure Park also includes a Giant Swing, summer tubing, a climbing wall, Bungee Trampoline, Bouncy Houses and Spyder Mountain — an eight-level climbing cylinder with a giant slide from its top. The Soaring Eagle zip line has seats, especially designed for kids. The whole family can ride the Summit Chairlift to get views of the White Mountains and to hike on upper trails. All-inclusive tickets for all activities at the Adventure Park (with the exception of the Aerial Adventure Course) begin at $32 per person and are good for the entire day.

Two other major players in the summer games are Bretton Woods and Attitash, both north of Cranmore Mountain. The Bretton Woods Adventure Center, at the foot of Mt Washington, offers two climbing walls, scenic lift rides (there’s a restaurant at the top), archery, disc golf and tubing in the river, all included in a $29 day pass. A canopy tour, mountain biking and unlimited access to the kids’ Go Kart park are ticketed separately. The three-hour guided canopy tour is filled with thrills as it soars across the treetops on nine zip lines, one as long as 830 feet and as high as 165 feet from the ground. The course includes two sky bridges, three rappels, 16 tree platforms (one 70 feet high) and 30 mph zip speeds during the 1,000-foot descent.

Nearby Attitash, in Bartlett, is known for its mountain waterslides, always a hit with kids, as well as an airbag jump, bungee trampoline, climbing wall, scenic chairlift rides and mountain biking. Three different routes of the single-rider Aquaboggan slides feature hairpin turns and underground tunnels before kids splash into the landing pools. The Sidewinder water slides are for as many as three riders on the same raft.

The newest addition at Attitash is the longest single span zip line east of the Rockies. The Flying Bear Zip runs from the summit of Bear Peak over the valley toward Attitash Mountain, a distance of 4,969 feet at heights reaching 250 feet above the valley. Top speeds (riders can control the speed) can be as high as 65 mph. The one- to two-hour adventure costs $75 for ages 10 and over. Two side-by-side lines allow parents to ride beside children.

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