Ski Resorts in Summer
Waterville Valley Resort, Waterville Valley, New Hampshire
This may be the most beautifully situated summer-ski resort of them all. The little town of Waterville Valley waits 15 miles north of Plymouth at the end of an 11-mile road that skirts the Mad River. The resort lies burrowed deep in the White Mountain National Forest. Rising above the valley are four 4000-foot mountains. At the hub of the resort lies Town Square, with its shops, restaurants, athletic center, ice skating rink, and shuttle busses picking vacationers up and taking them home. This is a place where town ordinances say businesses must mute their lighting at night so the star light can pierce the night.
So much scenery begs to be used.
Begin with hiking. More than 100 mils of marked trails wind deep into the forest and along the flanks of mountains. Want more adrenaline? Mountain bikers can choose from 60 miles of marked trails. Some trails follow the cross-country ski network, or old logging roads; others plummet from mountain peaks (you put the bike on chair lifts to get up) down thrilling single tracks. Do your teens want to bring their skateboards or BMX bikes? The Waterville Valley Super Park near Town Square has what they look for: 10-foot high, 24 foot wide halfpipe, a vert ramp, and pyramids, banked ramps, handrails — all the stuff that makes parents look away and make teens say “yeah!” Want to play tennis? Waterville Valley has evolved into one of New England’s tennis meccas. The red clay courts number 18, and its adult and junior clinics draw vacationers who come just to improve their game.
Need more physical exertion? Corcoran Pond, named for former Olympic skier Tom Corcoran who developed the resort, gives you canoeing, kayaking, paddleboats or just a long, lazy swim. And when all those muscles say “pamper me” then the saunas, whirlpools, steam rooms and massage therapists in the Town Square Athletic Center await.
Waterville Valley Resort, 1 Ski Area Road, P.O.Box 540, Waterville Valley, NH 03215 . 800-468-2553.
Sugarloaf/USA, Carrabasett Valley, Maine
You drive north on Route 16 from Kingfield and you come around a curve and then you want to stop. Rising in front is Sugarloaf, Maine’s second highest mountain, and it seems to loom right into your windshield. Locals call this” Ohmygosh Corner” for its ability to make drivers stop in astonishment at the view. Maine’s western mountains have always been one of New England’s secret spots. Its rugged isolation keeps the casual vacationer further south, but for decades fly fishermen, canoeists and hikers sought out the rivers and lakes of the region.
Sugarloaf offers a self-contained mountain village with a hotel, hundreds of condos, restaurants, shops, 50 miles of marked mountain biking trails, hiking and even moose watching (this is prime moose country), but its greatest lure for summer travelers is its 18 hole golf course. Robert Trent Jones, Jr., son of the fabled golf course architect, completed Sugarloaf’s course in 1986, and from its opening day it has consistently been ranked among the three or four elite New England public courses. Golfers come to this mountainous, challenging course knowing they will lose countless balls into the Carrabassett River or into the dense woods. No matter. It’s like losing your heart to a beautifully beguiling woman. Playing this course is like being in the center of a work of art. You appreciate the work. The first seven holes on the back nine that play along the river have been dubbed “The String of Pearls.” The “Loaf’s” golf school packages are increasingly popular as golfers of all ages and abilities come to test themselves, hoping that the Pearls’ secrets will magically be revealed.
Sugarloaf/USA. RR1, Box 5000, Carrabassett Valley, Maine 04947. 800-The-LOAF.
Killington Resort, Killington, Vermont:
Killington has always helped transform Vermont. It was from Killington Peak in 1763 that the Reverend Samuel Peters broke a bottle on its rocks and declared the land below “Verde-Mont.” (Green Mountain) Some of the state’s first true summer tourists came here to the original Summit House where they embarked on nature treks to the surrounding summits. When the ski area opened in 1958 it grew to become what it is known as today: the “Beast of the East.”
This “beast” spreads across seven mountains, with 200 trails, 31 lifts and over 80 miles of skiing terrain. It’s as though several New England ski resorts got tucked into this single resort. The access road with its five miles of inns and hotels , restaurants, shops and clubs bustles with adrenalin charged energy. Young energy.