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Beat the Humidity and Retreat to One of These Northeastern Mountain Escapes

Summer in the city is overrated. Here are five mountain escapes to help beat the Northeast's heat and humidity.

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Summer in the city has its perks, but fresh air and room to spread out are not among them. Here’s an easy fix: Head to one of the ski resorts of Vermont, Massachusetts, upstate New York, New Hampshire, or Maine to get your mountain fix. These resorts have a fun mix of family diversions, good lodging and dining, and a kick-ass calendar of events with something for everyone.

Killington, Vt.

Ropes course at Killington, Vt.
What a way to explore the woods. Courtesy of Killington/Chandler Burgess

Killington did a great job upgrading their summer activity inventory in 2016, and those investments are coming to fruition at a perfect time: right now. With adventure centers for kids and tons of events for adults, it’s easy to please everyone this summer.

Hot Ticket: Killington Wine Festival, July 16-18, 2021. The chance to sample over 500 wines from 40 worldwide vineyards has turned this event into one of the resort’s signature summer soirees. There’s also food pairings, wine dinners, and a golf-and-wine tournament for the multitaskers among us.

Killington Summer Checklist

  • The Snowshed Adventure Center will keep you and yours busy for hours with bungee trampoline, ninja obstacle challenge, mazes, and more.
  • Feeling adventurous? Take on the 30-foot bungee-assisted freefall tower, a 42-foot obstacle ropes course, or a dual zip line racer.
  • Board the Soaring Eagle, a two-person, chairlift-style ride that sends you flying 100 feet above the resort at 30 mph.
  • The Beast Mountain Coaster, a 4,800-foot adrenaline-packed cruise to the base, leaves riders breathless.
  • Paddle around in a kayak at the Snowshed Pond, which stays fresh with mountain run-off throughout the hot summer months.
  • From the base area, miles of all-level hiking trails are accessible to take trekkers on a boots-on-the-ground tour of the iconic mountain.
  • Three high-speed lifts grant access to over 30 miles of downhill mountain biking trails in the Killington Bike Park, with beginner, intermediate, expert, and freestyle terrain available.
  • The resort’s golf club is open to the public from the end of May through October, with unique mountain scenes fully enriching the experience.

Sugarloaf, Maine

Scrambling at Sugarloaf, Maine
Scramblin’ at Sugarloaf. Courtesy of Sugarloaf

Defy gravity at Maine’s largest ski area this summer in their anti-gravity complex, or keep it level and hike some of the Appalachian Trail. Either way, you’ll score bragging rights with no lobster traps required.

Main EventSummer Après Series, July 16, Aug. 13, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, 2021. Kick back and relax under the sun and celebrate the joys of summer in the mountains. Gather on Main Street in the village for live tunes, good eats, even better drinks, and get into the spirit of summer down east.

Sugarloaf Summer Checklist

  • Get a new view of the mountain in bloom on a scenic summer lift ride.
  • Grab a trail map and head out on a hike; the resort is snaked with miles of maintained trails including a portion of the Appalachian Trail.
  • Try a Segway tour.
  • Fly-fish on some of the Northeast’s best-stocked rivers
  • Experience whitewater rafting with Northern Outdoors, Maine’s top whitewater outfitter which partners with the resort.
  • Test your skills on both the driving range and the golf course, with stunning backdrops, to boot.
  • Trade your club for a Frisbee in an 18-hole disc golf course, open all summer long.
  • Got kids? Sugarloaf’s Anti-Gravity Complex contains Maine’s largest indoor skate bowl and park, an indoor climbing wall, trampolines, and more.

Bretton Woods, N.H.

Bretton Woods Canopy Tour
The three-hour canopy tour at Bretton Woods is an exciting flight through the forests flanking Mount Washington. Photo: Courtesy of Bretton Woods

Summer in Bretton Woods harkens back to the golden days of summer of the mountains, with everything from hiking to tennis, fly-fishing, and horseback riding. Stay at the classic Omni Mount Washington Hotel for the full resort experience.

Bretton Woods Summer Checklist

Berkshire East, Mass.

Rafting at Berkshire East, Mass.
Rollin’ down the river. Courtesy of Berkshire East

With one of the longest mountain coasters in the East and class IV rafting, it’s hard to believe this place is so close to Boston. And Thunder Mountain Bike Park is designed and maintained by industry leader Gravity Logic, so who says you need to go west to have a real mountain adventure?

Main Event: Rocking Into Mid-Summer, July 16-18, 2021. This outdoor concert of solo acoustic artists offers up a stream of live music in a perfect mountain setting that stretches from the afternoon into the evening.

Berkshire East Summer Checklist

  • Go whitewater rafting on the Deerfield River’s class II, III, and IV rapids (or float lazily down calm waters).
  • Choose from three different zip line tours:
    • The Valley Jump Tour, which has adventurers gliding through valleys and forests.
    • The Mountain Top Tour, taking intermediate zippers between seven high-altitude towers.
    • The Base Area Tour, great for groups, beginners and families.
  • Younger kids can take advantage of an aerial adventure park and Tree House Trail, where they can roam from platform to platform on a netted course in the trees.
  • Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster is among the longest on the East Coast, climbing 1,580 feet up the mountain before letting gravity take over, sending riders flying through thick trees and steep turns for almost 4,000 feet.
  • Glide a mountain bike over well-maintained downhill and cross-country trails, or get serious in the Thunder Mountain Bike Park on the progression bike trail system, with blue through black runs for the experienced mountain biker.

Whiteface Mountain, N.Y.

Summertime Hikes at Whiteface Mountain
Finding the top of the fifth-highest mountain in New York. Courtesy of Whiteface Mountain

Ever wondered what it’s like to send it off an Olympic jump? Now you can actually launch off the Lake Placid Olympic ski jumps, which have been converted into epic inner tube slides. You can also explore miles of biking, hiking, and guided ATV trails.

Whiteface Mountain Summer Checklist

  • Hit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, where the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hockey game went down, then tour the Olympic Sports Complex.
  • Board the CloudSplitter Gondola for views of the Adirondack High Peaks. Bring a picnic and linger over those views at the summit.
  • Take a guided or self-guided hike amid granite cliffs and high-altitude waterfalls.
  • Many of the same trails can be explored by guided ATV tour, where knowledgeable guides navigate groups through the more secluded mountain areas.
  • Mountain bikers should take advantage of 18 miles of cross-country trails that twist through the Adirondack forests.
  • A nine-hole disc golf course winds its way down the lower portion of the slopes.

Looking for more great summer activities at more North American ski areas? Check out SKI’s entire summer content channel here.

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