The Latest News for July, 2018

Suicide Six Goes Downhill

On July 13, 2018 Vermont will get yet another new downhill mountain bike park when Suicide Six Ski Area hosts a soft opening for its new Elemental Bike Park.  Riders will have access to the first three miles of a planned larger bike park starting in July. “We’ll start out with blue, flowy trails,” said Suicide Six’s Nick Mahood, “with some jumps and small features.” The trails were built by Morrisville, Vt.-based trail builder Sinuosity.  Another three miles of more challenging trail with big descents and jump lines have been designed, along with two pump tracks, a strider park for kids and a skills development area. A season’s pass to The Elemental Bike Park and neighboring Mt. Peg cross country trails will cost $149 per adult and $99 per junior or senior citizen.

Re-routing The Long Trail

On May 25, 2018 the Green Mountain Club opened a newly relocated section of the Long Trail through Smuggler’s Notch. The mile-long section of new trail is Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant, with a  wheelchair- and stroller-accessible boardwalk that starts at Barnes Camp Visitor Center on Route 108. Starting this summer, the Long Trail north and south of Smuggler’s Notch will be accessible via the Barnes Camp parking lot.

One of the best views of Smuggler’s Notch, from the new boardwalk. Photo Courtesy the Green Mountain Club.

The trail relocation shifts Long Trail traffic away from the steep, slippery and highly eroded section north of the Notch to Sterling Pond. The new trail will bring hikers along a hillside, taking a more gradual and sustainable route up Madonna Mountain.

“The relocation will move the Long Trail closer to its original route through Smuggler’s Notch,” said Green Mountain Club Executive Director Mike Debonis. For those who loved the steep, exposed bedrock on the original trail that led past the Elephant’s Head to Sterling Pond, the Green Mountain Club will continue to maintain the route.

Okemo is Fully Epic

On June 4, 2018 Vail Resorts announced that it will acquire Triple Peaks, the company that owns Ludlow’s Okemo Mountain Resort, New Hampshire’s Mount Sunapee Resort and Colorado’s Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The resorts will be included in the 2018-2019 Epic Pass upon the deal’s closing, which is slated to happen this summer.

According to Bonnie MacPherson, Director of Public Relations for Okemo Mountain Resort, Vail Resorts will honor 2018/2019 Okemo season passes but says: “if an Okemo season passholder wants to transition the Okemo Pass they purchased to an Epic Pass, Vail Resorts is planning to offer that opportunity after the sale has closed, and they will charge or refund money accordingly.”  A full Epic Pass goes for $899 for the 2018-2019 season and includes unlimited skiing at Stowe Mountain Resort, along with 17 other resorts across North America.

Sold: Maple Valley Ski Area

Dummerston’s Maple Valley Ski Area also has a new owner. After sitting closed and on the market for 18 years, the 375-acre property was purchased for $745,000 on May 23 by Connecticut-based Sugar Mountain Holdings. The company has declined so far to offer details about its plans for the former ski area.

The ski area operated during the winter from 1963 to 1999. The ski area’s website boasts that “most of the local population under the age of 30 learned to ski here.”

Colchester Causeway is Back in ACTION

On June 5, Burlington-based nonprofit Local Motion announced it will resume operation of its bike ferry upon completion of scheduled renovations to the Colchester Causeway in early July. The causeway trail and bike ferry were closed starting May 18 due to damage from a May 5 wind storm.  Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) will execute and pay for the repairs. According to VTrans Project Manager Joel Perrigo, the construction cost estimate as of press time was $350,000. Federal grants will cover 80 percent of the cost of repairs.

500 Miles, 5 Favorite Vermont Centuries

It’s century season and from now until the end of September you can ride 100 miles in virtually any part of the state. And if you do want to discover new parts of Vermont, here are our five favorite ways to do so.  1) For a chance to ride across Green’s toughest gaps in (Lincoln, Appalachian, Middlebury and Brandon),

sign up for the Vermont Gran Fondo (June 30). 2)  The legendary Prouty ride starts in New Hampshire but has two options this year, a 100-mile Vermont ride (July 13) or the classic Prouty loop (July 14) which goes from Hanover up the Connecticut River, through New Hampshire and then crosses the Connecticut River in Wells to head back south in Vermont. 3) Hands down, The Vermont Challenge (July 16-19) is the best way to tour the roads and villages of the southwestern part of the state. Try the three-day tour or just ride the century.  4) Starting in West Windsor, the VSECU Point to Point (Aug. 11) loops the hilly terrain of central Vermont, cruising through scenic villages such as Woodstock, Strafford and Barnard. 5) The Kelly Brush Ride  (Sept. 8) rolls past Lake Champlain and farmland on a route that goes from Middlebury north to Charlotte. For details, see Calendar.

Featured photo courtesy Vermont Challenge.

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