With new lift-served mountain biking, festivals, mountain runs and more, here’s your guide to what’s happening at Vermont’s ski resorts this summer.
Summer in the Green Mountains is the time of mountain biking, disc golf and ridge runs—topped off with the ever-growing list of award-winning local microbreweries, mountain festivals and outdoor concerts to keep the good times rolling.
Increasingly, ski resorts around the state are making wholehearted leaps to provide adventure 365 days of the year. Killington set the standard last March when it launched the East’s first 365-day, all-inclusive, year-round pass, good for early-rate purchase through June 14.
If you have any doubt that there’s something going on nearly every day of the summer here, read on to see what’s new at resorts this summer and check our Green Mountain Calendar on page 56 for more events.
ASCUTNEY OPENS OUTDOOR CENTER
After years of hard work, the 3,000-square-foot Ascutney Outdoors Center will open this summer, just in time to host the Vermont Mountain Bike Festival, July 27-29. The center will serve as a base for the mountain’s year-round mountain biking, hiking and skiing trails. Paradise Sports of Windsor will operate out of the bottom floor, renting out bikes, skis and other equipment. The upstairs will feature a large, open room with a small kitchen, restrooms, large windows with a view of the mountain and an outdoor deck perfect for an après beer. “It will serve as a gateway for all of Ascutney Outdoors’ activities,” says board member Glenn Seward. It will also host regular open mic nights, film series, naturalist talks and more. The space will be available to rent for gatherings like birthdays and reunions.
DISC GOLF AT BOLTON VALLEY
Many resorts are expanding their disc golf terrain this summer, and Bolton Valley is one of them. Last year, the mountain installed the nine-hole Vista Beast course, and this year, they’re expanding to 18 holes. The course will see plenty of action with two regular tournament series on Thursday and Sunday nights, starting July 4, and the Vista Beast Disc Golf Challenge on Sept. 1.
On Thursdays, The Village Cafe will pair local brews and food from local farms, to the sound of live tunes from local bands. And Far Side Pizza will be open on weekends.
On June 24, head to Bolton for the VTRocks Music Festival & BBQ. The lineup of eight bands includes Cookie’s Hot Club, Mountain Weekend and The Mallet Brothers Band. And on July 7 Bolton Valley hosts a new event, the Enough is Enough Recovery Run—a 3-hour, 6-hour or 12-hour challenge to run up from the base to the summit to support addiction recovery services.
FLY ACROSS BROMLEY
If you’re looking for adventure, Bromley’s got options including a Mountain Adventure Park, an Aerial Adventure Park and the Sun Mountain Flyer (a chair on a zipline). Head to the Park and challenge two friends to a race on the triple-track alpine slide–one of the longest in the world. The Aerial Park features a zip line, a canopy tour and challenge course with 65 unique elements.
HIT THE TRAILS AT BURKE
Just a mile east of Kingdom Trails, one of the state’s best mountain biking trail systems, Burke Mountain Resort has its own network of lift-served bike trails. That’s what makes Burke the perfect spot for the New England Mountain Bike Association annual festival, NEMBAfest. Held June 22-24, it’s a mountain biking celebration that includes demos, a stunt show, clinics, games, live music, group rides, food, drink and complimentary camping. This Sept. 15-16, Burke also hosts some of the country’s top mountain bikers at the North American finals for the Enduro World Championships.
Then, on July 14, Vermont’s Toughest Tri is an Ironman distance: swim 2.4 miles in the glacially-carved Lake Willoughby, bike 112 miles (with 8,000 feet of elevation gain) and run a marathon with 5,000 more feet of climbing before landing back at Burke. Top it off on Aug. 11 with the 10th Annual Bike ’N Brew with music, riding and sampling of local craft brews. And if you are ready for a real challenge, Circumburke (a marathon run or bike ride around Burke Mountain) takes place on Oct. 13.
JAM AT JAY
Jay has several big-name bands coming to the Stateside Amphitheater. Four consecutive weeks of concerts start on July 22 with hip-hop-reggae legend Michael Franti. Then, Government Mule headlines the 5th Annual Jeezum Crow Festival on July 28. The Dark Star Orchestra returns to Jay on Aug. 4, and don’t miss Strangefolk’s Garden of Eden Festival Aug. 10-11.
In early May, Jay broke ground on two synthetic turf fields which will provide a space for field hockey, soccer and lacrosse camps and tournaments. The fields will be complete this coming fall. Labor Day brings Jay’s 7th Annual Trail Run Festival, with races that go from 5K to 53.1K. “That’s a kick in the ass,” says JJ Toland, director of communications, of the 53K. “I ran the 25K on a dare and couldn’t walk right for five days.”
Plan ahead for the 9th Annual Bean and Brew Festival on Oct. 13, which combines local coffees and beers, “so you get your highs and your lows,” says Toland.
SPEND 365 DAYS AT KILLINGTON
Killington isn’t joking around about its summer offerings. It’s the first resort in the state to offer a 365-day pass, which includes access to the Adventure Center’s zip lines, trampoline jump, ropes course—plus the championship golf course, 30 miles of lift-served mountain bike trails, and skiing at Killington and Pico for 2018/19.
Access to all summer activities as well as winter skiing is $99 a month ($1,188 annually, though you can only pay monthly). A winter-only season pass to Killington will cost $939 and $399 to Pico, if you buy before June 14.
It doesn’t end there. The resort will host the Fox US Open of Mountain Biking from Aug. 1-5, bringing an international field of downhillers (past racers have included Sam Hill, Steve Smith, Tracey Mosely, Bryn Atkinson and Miranda Miller). The event will take place on a newly-built race course coming directly off Killington’s 4,241-foot summit. Don’t miss the free concert and after party sponsored by Long Trail Brewing.
If that weren’t enough, Killington is adding a Woodward WreckTangle to the Adventure Center. Those who watch the cable TV series “American Ninja Warrior” will recognize the giant obstacle course, with stations where players can jump, climb and crawl their way to a best time. The WreckTangle is connected to stations, so you can race with players all over the country.
This May, Killington broke ground on a $16 million lift improvement project. Skier access to the South Ridge area will be completed this fall. A new 6-person high-speed bubble chairlift will shield skiers and riders from the elements while they ascend Snowdon Mountain, and the K-1 Express Gondola will be freshened up.
EAT UP, RUN UP AT MAD RIVER
On Thursday nights, head to Mad River Glen’s General Stark’s Pub for live music. From Memorial Day through Columbus Day, the Pub is open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 4:30 to 8:30 PM. You can work off those meals on August 25 by running up Mad River Glen’s trails in the Sky Run.
SCRAMBLE AT MAGIC
Magic joined the year-round club last summer when they opened a nine-hole disc golf course and expanded the hours of the Black Line Tavern. Both will re-open for the summer on June 30 with a new back nine on the disc golf course. Plus, don’t miss the 4th of July Party with a live band and fireworks on July 7th. And on July 28, “because misery loves company,” Magic hosts the Red Line Scramble, a point-to-point foot race up the Red Line ski trail. The course will be a one-mile, extremely difficult and technical route with 1,500 feet of vertical climbing. Also new this summer, Magic will be replacing the Black Line chair with a quad chair (formerly Stratton’s Snow Bowl Poma quad) and adding mountain bike trails.
Mount Snow ends its winter season with a bang with the Peace Pipe Rail Jam May 26, with free skiing and weenies on the mountain’s final patch of snow. And that’s the same weekend the lifts open for downhill mountain biking at one of the biggest lift-served mountain bike parks in Vermont. On July 7, the mountain
hosts Angry Orchard’s Rock the Roots Tour, with music from Sublime along with Rome, Dirty Heads, Lupe Fiasco, Pepper and Matisyahu. On Sept. 1-2, don’t miss the 24th Annual Brewer’s Festival, and the Wine & Harvest Festival on Sept. 22. This fall, Mount Snow will officially open the epic new Carinthia Base Lodge. The 36,000-square-foot, three-story building—six times the size of the existing lodge—will house several food outlets, a rental shop, retail and convenience store, and feature a modifiable interior that can host conferences and weddings during the summer.
HIKE, BIKE AND DANCE AT OKEMO
Okemo Mountain Resort added three miles of lift-served summit mountain biking trails to the Evolution Bike Park last year and they plan to add three to four more miles of trails every year from now on. Okemo’s mid-mountain Sugar House lodge will be open with a rental shop, Switchback BBQ and the outdoor deck. “It was really popular last year,” says Bonnie MacPherson, Okemo’s director of communications. “People would go up there to have lunch and take in the view and watch all of the action going on.”
On June 9, ride with Vermont’s best cyclists in the Vermont Epic, which encompasses three events and four distances. The B2VT—one of the hardest single-day rides in New England—is 130+ miles; the VTMonster is 70 miles and 9,000 feet of vertical, and the VT 40 offers 40- and 20-mile options for recreational riders. Then, on July 12-14, Okemo will launch its first All Come Home Music Festival with tribute bands honoring Neil Diamond, Talking Heads, David Bowie, Queen and more. Top it all off with the 10th Anniversary of Hops In the Hills, featuring more than 80 regional craft beers, ciders and with live music, craft vendors and food.
THROW WITH THE PROS AT SMUGGS
On Sept. 5-8, the 2018 Disc Golf World Championships come to Smuggler’s Notch Resort, drawing international pros and marking a milestone for Vermont’s professional disc golf scene. The total cash purse is upwards of $100,000 and the event will likely attract thousands of spectators. In conjunction, Smuggs is building a new disc golf pro shop. There, players can rent and buy all the gear they’ll need, including local brews to take on the course. “Disc golf and craft beer go hand-in-hand,” says communications director Mike Chait.
Also on the agenda: Smuggs hosts a summer solstice party with music, fire performances by Cirque de Fuego, vendors, go-kart races, fireworks and more on June 21. And Martell’s, a restaurant and bar down the road from Smuggs, will host Music in the Mountains, a weekly music series Thursday nights featuring local bands in their outdoor theater.
TENNIS, TANGO AND ZIPLINING AT STOWE
Several years ago, Stowe opened Stowe Rocks, the 40-foot climbing wall in the new Spruce Peak Adventure Center, installed one of the longest zip lines in America, and launched a Treetops Adventure ropes and canopy climbing course. All are back online, starting June 23.
Across Route 100, head to the Spruce Peak Folk Festival on Aug. 11 for an all-day affair featuring Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band, Anaïs Mitchell and Daniel Rodriguez of Elephant Revival. Then, on Aug. 18, the Stowe Tango Music Festival Orchestra plays at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center. The same weekend, the Stowe Mountain Lodge Tennis Classic returns. It’s an amazing chance to watch some of the world’s top pros compete just weeks before the U.S. Open in New York.
YOGA, MOUNTAIN BIKING AND OBSTACLE COURSE RACING COME TO STRATTON
Alterra Mountain Company, which acquired Stratton last season, is upgrading Stratton with $10 million of capital projects. A new lift-served mountain bike park could open as soon as fall, 2018. The design will start with 4.6 miles of beginner, intermediate and progression trails. Next ski season, Stratton will see a new Snow Bowl lift that’s three times faster than the existing lift and is designed to minimize the impact of wind and weather.
Yogis head to Wanderlust (June 21-24), a four-day all-you-can-yoga event featuring the world’s leading instructors, live music, top chefs and dancing. The North American Obstacle Racing Championships come to Stratton for the first time on Aug. 10. On Aug. 16-19, Stratton hosts the Vermont Challenge, a four-day bike ride through southern and central Vermont. All summer there are concerts with acts such as The Marshall Tucker Band on June 30, and Gang of Thieves on Aug. 18. If you can imagine a festival of mountain running, 29029 is that: two days of running 29,029 feet (the height of Mt. Everest) up Stratton — 17 runs, Sept. 15-16.
SUGARBUSH GETS FRENDLY
On June 8, the ‘Bush hosts its annual Brew-Grass Weekend with a kickoff party Friday and a beer festival Saturday, featuring Vermont breweries and live bluegrass music. It wraps up with a 9-hole golf scramble Sunday. Then, on June 28, Sugarbush and pro snowboarders Jack Mitrani, Danny Davis and “frends” host The Frendly Gathering, with camping, art, yoga, local food, skateboarding and dance workshops. This year’s lineup includes: Twiddle, Greensky Bluegrass, The Devil Makes Three, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Kamasi Washington, Trevor Hall and more.
Mountain activities, including lift-served mountain biking, nine- and 18-hole disc golf courses, the 800-foot zipline, bungee trampoline, bounce house obstacle course, scenic lift rides open for the season on June 23.
SUICIDE SIX GOES DOWNHILL
Big things are happening at Suicide Six. Last season the resort and its parent, the Woodstock Inn, did a complete revamp of the inn and base lodge. This summer, Suicide Six opens its long-awaited Elemental Bike Park. Vermont trail builder Sinuosity helped lay out six miles of flow trails accessible via the resort’s new quad chairlift. There are also downhill trails and jump lines and two pump tracks, a strider park, and a skills development area. At the base, you can check for a lesson with a certified coach, and rent a bike. There’s even a new website: mtbs6.com. Meanwhile, in March the Woodstock Inn & Resort opened Red Barn and Kelly Way Gardens for farm-fresh meals and tours (see p. 38.)