At 10 p.m. on a Thursday I noticed an empty calendar and a weekend forecast of sunny skies and mid-70s. For me that’s pretty much a neon flashing light that says: ROAD TRIP! The car was loaded and we were off to Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, VT.
Where to stay
About a mile down the road from the original Okemo Mountain base is the mountain’s second base, Jackson Gore. There you’ll find Jackson Gore Village a one-stop-shop of accommodations and activities. The Village includes three properties—Jackson Gore Inn, The Adams House and The Bixby House. Easily booked online (at a quarter of the winter prices) all three feature hotel-style amenities, with the two “Houses” offering multiple bedrooms and more space. Regardless of where you stay on the resort property, you get access to indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, a large, upscale fitness center (complete with a racket ball court), outdoor tennis courts and a full service restaurant.
- Perhaps the biggest draw is the property’s Adventure Zone. There you can hit the climbing wall, play mini or Frisbee golf, mine for gems, bounce on the bungee trampoline or jump off a 30 foot platform onto an AMP Energy Bag (think movie stunts). The highlight of the Adventure Zone is its 4- season Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster. Hop in a sled car solo or with your kiddo up front and you can soar down the 3,100-foot coaster at up to 25 mph. Passes are sold for each individual attraction or you can get a daily wristband for $59 ($54 if you plan ahead, unlike me.)
- If you tip the scales at 50 or 80 lbs. you can amp up the adventure by hitting the Haulback Challenge Ropes Course and Sawyer’s Sweep Zipline Tours, respectively. Zipping 900 feet at 30 mph gives new meaning to the rush of mountain air. Reservations are recommended and combo discounts are available.
- For a more serene view of the mountains, head on up the scenic chairlift ride that leaves from the Okemo Mountain base. The 15-minute ride gives you a chance to breathe the fresh mountain air and take in the breathtaking views of the valley. Just remember to lift your feet when you get off—it’s not often you ride a chairlift sans skis!
- New last summer!! Rent or bring a mountain bike and take advantage of the bike trails on Evolution Bike Park. Designed and constructed by the team from the Evolution Bike Park at Crested Butte, CO, the half dozen trails are geared for riders of all skill levels. Bonus: VT and NH residents get half off on Sundays!
- The highlight for me was the view from the top of the mountain. To get there, hop on Mountain Road, past the Okemo Mountain Base and wind on up to a small parking lot at the top. A short hike up a dirt path gets you straight to the peak. Rookie mistake—not popping into Big Eyes Bakery in Ludlow first to grab some coffee and A-MAZING pastries to bring up for a picnic!
If that’s not enough to keep you busy, Ludlow has several golf courses and lakes scattered around. And whatever you do, do not, I repeat DO NOT leave without hitting the waffle cabin. Best 350 calories you’ll have the entire trip!