While skiing and boarding are the thing to do at Okemo at this time of year, there are many other activities to enjoy on the mountain and in the surrounding area, making Okemo Mountain Resort a good place to getaway to during the holidays.
New ways to ride the mountain
Okemo’s new Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster, covers just short of a mile of gripping turns, dips and straight-aways over the course of its 4,800’ length and is a great new attraction and diversion on the mountain. It really is a ripper and the rider gets to set the pace on his own scooter. If you want speed, however, make sure the starter on the ground knows so you can be spaced better in the event that a more timid rider is ahead of you.
They have also added a spectacular Zipline to the area behind Jackson Gore which features seven ziplines that connect through treetop platforms and include a pair of bridges and three rappels. The descent from top to bottom is over 300 feet. Plan on two to three hours to complete it.
Also new at the mountain are snowcat excursions that are available Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and holiday evenings by reservation. The rides are in heated cabins with big windows and good viewing opportunities and, if the weather allows, include stops on top of the mountain for viewing and picture taking. This ride gives you an entirely different view of the mountain and an appreciation of the work the groomers do at night to make sure the trails are ready for you in the morning.
More options off the mountain
Downhill skiing is not the only outdoor activity available. The Ice House is a new facility for ice skating located in the Jackson Gore area of the resort. It is a full regulation ice hockey rink and is available for figure skating when not in use for hockey. The admission fee is only $5 and skate rentals are available for only $5. Then, too, the nearby Spring House has a full sized indoor pool with special areas for kids and completely outfitted workout room with saunas and a spa to help soothe aching muscles.
Not far away, on the lands of the Okemo Golf Course the Resort offers 22km of Nordic ski trails and an additional 13 km of trails specifically designed for snowshoeing aficionados. For those who don’t have the equipment, there is a shop for rentals of all of the equipment needed. This is a perfect setting and opportunity to try out a new sport, but if this is your goal, call to check on snow conditions because mother nature rules here, not the snow makers.
A shopping spree in Ludlow
This coming weekend would also be a good time to pop into some of the interesting small shops along the main street of Ludlow. Blue Sky has a nice collection of things from jewelry, pottery and clothing to food items, most of it Vermont made. Fleece on Earth has, well, interesting casual clothing and the Book Nook is a pleasant place to poke around in with a place to sit down and read a chapter or so to make sure it’s the right book for you.
Be sure, too, to check out the Depot Street Gallery, just a few doors off the main street. It has an intriguing collection of art and sculpture from traditional to avant garde. If it is Saturday, look for the local farmer’s market in a building on the corner of Route 100. Sample, then buy, wonderful cheeses from Woodcock Farm in Weston, tasty breads, luscious jams and jellies and handmade jewelry and woolens.
Okemo Resort has some good lodging packages available in varying levels of accommodations, from slopeside to the upscale accommodations at the Jackson Gore Inn. For up-scale dining check out the menus at the Coleman Brook Tavern at Jackson Gore or Epic at Solitude. On Fridays and Saturdays another option is Siena, at Jackson Gore, a Tuscan style restaurant open for lunch and dinner on those days. In-town, the Downtown Grocery, on Depot Street, has a good reputation, although we have not eaten there.
But while you are at Okemo, be sure to try skiing/boarding the slopes and trails. They are some of the best in the east and rank high in every Ski Magazine reader poll, tear after year.