On September 13, 2023

Experiencing adventures, fun at Okemo


We started with the Sunburst Six chairlift ride, and they were admittedly both nervous and excited. But not afraid. 

Their father, my son Jim, on the other hand, had developed a fear of heights so he filled out the liability waiver with some trepidation. However, ever the dad who wants his girls to have good experiences, he accompanied us and up we went. Piece of cake for the girls, but Jim didn’t eat too much when we snacked at the Summit Lodge.

“Oh, it’s so beautiful!” I heard one of the twins, Elana, exclaim when she discovered the view from the top. The ride down was spectacular, too, as you have the view of Ludlow below and New Hampshire mountains like sister resort Mount Sunapee in the distance. One of the things we noticed was how quiet the ride is. When we all were silent, we heard only the occasional babbling of a stream below us or a very slight rustling of the trees. 

Our visit to the Adventure Zone at the Jackson Gore section of Okemo began with a ride on the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster. With Elana sitting in front of me, I told her about the trails we ski in winter and, how when we got to the top, I would control our speed going down and that you could get up to 25 mph with the handles all the way forward. When I slowed too much, she yelled “Faster!” I wasn’t so cautious on the second ride with sister Calen and screamed all the way which caused her to scream, too. 

Miniature golf was fun but also challenging as the course requires some analyzing if you want to do well. The girls simply swung at the ball and — most surprisingly — Elana got a hole-in-one, which made me try harder. But a par 2 was all I could manage. They got a kick out of the balls disappearing on the last hole.

I was surprised at the giggles and laughter when the kids did the bouncy house. They didn’t exist when my sons were growing up, but the twins love them and did this one over and over again. 

The other surprises were how much they got into “mining for gems” at the sluice and how Calen’s hair stood straight up in the air when she jumped on the trampoline and how I even managed to get that photo (left)! 

We missed doing the climbing wall, disc golf, and Spring House, which has an indoor pool. But that was okay because on our last ride on the coaster, we promised Elana we’d return next year so she could “drive” a coaster. (Jim and I were too nervous to let her do it this year.)

When asked her favorite activity, Calen said “the chairlift ride” but quickly added the golf and coaster were her favorites “on the other side of the mountain.” (Jackson Gore is a separate base area a short drive away.) 

She added she liked riding the coaster with me because we screamed and that was fun! Ironically my Apple watch showed me I had met my exercise goal of 30 minutes that day — must have gotten my heart rate up with those coaster screams!

Elana also liked the “lifting chair” and emphasized “I really liked the view.” 

Asked if anything was scary, the answer was no at first, but she added that when the chair stopped on the way down and swung a little she didn’t like that.  

The reference to going fast made Calen add, “I feel like little kids should ride with an adult and not go too fast but not go too slow for another car to hit them.” 

Calen added, “If you are 6 or younger, you should sit next to an adult [on the chair] and go on the bouncy house because it’s good for kids.” She also recommends going from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. because “you can get everything in and not have to rush.”

My take, tips

This is a great time of year to do one or all of the activities Okemo offers. For anyone who has never been to the top of a ski mountain, the chairlift ride on Okemo’s main summit is a must. And for those used to riding the chair in winter, the experience, scenery, and views make you appreciate the Green Mountains and realize how much you take lifts for granted. 

The Summit Lodge is open and offers food and beverages along with maple creemees.

For very adventurous souls or those seeking a bit of exercise, you can hike from the chair to the Okemo Fire Tower (3,343 feet above sea level), where you can climb up and get 360-degree views on a clear day.

Other options include hiking up the mountain on trails or the Mountain Road, which is an easy ski trail in winter, or you can drive up the Mountain Road (built by the New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935), and take a short hike to the fire tower. The drive back down is spectacular with lookouts for amazing views. 

There’s also a lift-served bike park on the main mountain.

The Adventure Zone activities can be enjoyed on an a la carte basis or you can get a wrist band day pass, which includes the chairlift ride. Residents of New Hampshire and Vermont receive a day pass discount on Fridays and Sundays. (Holders of an Epic Pass ride the chair for free.) 

The Challenge Course has a separate ticket, but it’s discounted with day-pass purchase. (I did the first of the three tree-top courses years ago and recommend it for daring souls who don’t mind wiggling at great heights.) 

The Adventure Zone and Sunburst rides operate Thursdays through Mondays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Sept. 9 and then on weekends only except for one last day of operations Monday Oct. 9 for the Indigenous People’s holiday. 

Capping off the season is the big autumn Fall into Winter event on Sunday, Oct. 8 with live music, food, and family activities.

For more info visit: Okemo.com/explore-the-resort/activities-and-events/summer-activities.

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