Sawyer’s Sweep Zipline Tour at Okemo Mountain ResortPosted: February 17, 2013
Yesterday I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: went ziplining! There are a couple of places near where I live that have zip lining, but I chose Okemo Mountain Resort because it’s only about an hour from my town. I had never been to Okemo, which is located in Ludlow, VT, but it was a truly beautiful place, and I think I’ll definitely be back to do some skiing in the future.
The drive through the hills of Vermont was beautiful, and I had a great time taking in all the sights. When we got close, you could see a good portion of the resort from the road, which I always love.
It might be difficult living in the middle of nowhere, having to drive an hour just to get to the nearest stores, but at the same time, I could really see myself spending a good deal of time in a place as beautiful as this. I love winter, and small winter vacation towns are so appealing to me!
The resort was way bigger than I expected, and the winding roads lead cars all through the area. All along the way, there are absolutely beautiful homes, nestled in among the hills. The ski trails run right across, over, and under the roads and between the homes, and it all just made me more excited to go back and ski there at some point.
I went with my friend Eric, and after we checked in, I took a little time to check out the map of the resort. Like I said, it was way bigger than I expected, with two huge peaks and lots of different trails. The map also included the zip line route, shown below in purple:
We were a little early, so we had some time to explore one of the base areas, and I was really impressed by all that the resort had to offer. There were tons of people there, but it was so big that it didn’t even really feel all that crowded.
Around 2pm, it was time to meet up with the two instructors and the other two zip liners in our group and get geared up for our adventure. I thought there would be some sort of safety lesson, but we just had to buckle up our harnesses and helmets and we were off!
I was expecting it to be one zip line and done, but it was more of a zip line tour, with seven different lines and three different belay points. We started off at the top, from a platform that reminded me of an elaborate-looking tree house. I went first, and after the guide buckled me in, I was ready to go!
The first step off the platform made you catch your breath just a bit, but gliding down the line was a ton of fun, and the views from the next platform were beautiful. Not only could you see a good deal of the resort, but you could also see all of the other mountains far into the distance.
Each time we completed a zip, the group would gather at the next platform before launching off again. The lines got longer and longer each time, and the guides gave us some tips on how to spin and turn ourselves as we were on the move.
I originally wondered if the excursion would be less impressive in the winter with everything covered in snow, but that was definitely not the case at all. The leaf-less trees actually made things more beautiful since the views were completely unobstructed. I would love to do it again in the summer and see the difference, and I bet it would be breathtaking in the fall as well!
Some of the lines were through the woods, but others were over and across the ski trails. It was really cool to look down and see the skiers below, but I would also love to see it from their point of view. Some of them stopped to look up and watch us every now and then and they seemed to love it.
Looking good, right?!
Aside from the seven different zip lines, there were also three points where we had to go straight down in a sort of rock-climbing belay fashion. I didn’t expect having to do that, but it was very cool!
The guides were telling us how they hike up the entire course every morning to make sure everything looks good. The whole thing was like a giant tree fort, and I found it so fun to check out. I would love to have been there for the construction!
At one point, the course went right over Okemo’s mountain coaster and we got to watch some of the riders race down the track… very cool!
The last of the seven lines was the longest, and it took us right back to the base lodge. Since the line dipped at the end, you had to get a good amount of speed in order to make it successfully to the platform. If you didn’t make it, the guide had to go back down the line and reel you in, so I curled up in a ball and tried to gain as much speed as I could in order to get there!
It was by far the most fun zip of them all, and I felt like I gained a good bit of speed as I came barreling down the line. It was fun to watch the others in the group go too – some people curled up in a ball and went fast and others spread out and let the air spin them around. The guides were really great, and I had so much fun!
After the last line, we ended up back at the beginning and took in one more beautiful view before the adventure was over. We had one more belay point downward to get us back on the ground and then my first zip lining experience was in the books!
I kept saying to the guides that I was so jealous of their life – I mean, what a cool job to have! Can you imagine getting to zipline through the woods all day everyday, meeting new people, and contributing to their adventure?
I did wish that some of the beginning lines were longer to add to the thrill of it all, but I really liked how it was structured as a tour with multiple lines, instead of just one shot and done. The platforms between each line actually contributed positively to the experience, and it was cool to get to stand up there and look around at the beautiful views. I wouldn’t say that it was scary, but it was definitely a ton of fun. The whole thing was an awesome experience, and something that I’d definitely do again!
Have you ever been zip lining? Where at? Did you like it? Would you go again?