I call it “Lake Tahoe of The East.” The views from Gunstock Mountain Resort of Lake Winnipesaukee (ok – Tahoe is easier to say) and New Hampshire’s majestic White Mountains are extraordinary. I have loved skiing Gunstock since my first turns here as a kid. We hiked here in summer too, though I always preferred lift service and speedy descents. So imagine my glee when Gunstock installed a Zipline from the panoramic summit all the way to the base. I knew the zip would be incredibly scenic. What I did not anticipate was the rush at 65mph!
I have zipped around – every ski resort worth their trail count has zip cables and canopy tours. Gunstock’s is #1 in my book – the longest zip line tour on the Continental U.S. with a 1.5 mile total span descending the full 1,400’ vertical on three wild wires – 8,514′ of suspended fun.
After suiting up in harness and backpack and signing my life away, my Adventure Park Guide takes me to the Bunny Hill to learn to use the trolley brake on the short, tame Wonder Zip. I immediately love the concept of controlling my own speed. You can take it slow and scenic, or pull the trolley wide open for speed. After orientation, I am cleared for lift off, and ride the Panorama Quad to Gunstock’s spectacular summit, wearing hiking boots instead of the usual ski boots and skis.
At the top of the Summit Zip, I marvel at Mount Washington- the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard at 6,289′ beyond the sparkling blue Lake Winnipesaukee. I should mention zip lining here is not for the acrophobic, the platforms, spiral stairs and suspended cables soar 155’ above terra firma. The first Panorama Zip is short and sweet, 273’. The next Recoil Zip spans a 3,981’ valley to Pistol Peak. The whir of the cable gets louder as I accelerate, I feel like a pterodactyl as I screech over ski trails, treetops and granite boulders. I imagine how wild it would be in winter with skiers beneath. It’s a tandem zip, so you can brake along the way, snap photos of your friend beside you, or in my case – make it a race, tuck up cannonball style and release the trolley brake for full steam. I suspect this is where my iPhone ski app clocked 64.9 mph and I may have screamed.
Staring down at the final zip from the Pistol platform, I don’t want the fun to end. But the best is saved for last, I fly down The Pistol Zip’s 3,804’ over Gunstock’s Terrain Park, over my car in the parking lot, and across the snowmaking pond to a lofty pine deck. I immediately want a do-over, perhaps a more mellow scenic approach, or more likely another adrenaline amped descent.
Ziplining at Gunstock rivals the thrill of a great ski run with gorgeous scenery to boot, I recommend it to stave off ski withdrawal in summer. Gunstock’s ZipTour takes about 2.5 hours, and costs $75, for ages 10 and up. Warning: Gunstock’s alpine zipline could prove addictive.
What are some of your favorite spots to zipline? Let us know in the comments below!