Year-round family fun in New Hampshire
Wildcat Mountain in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire, is one of America’s most prominent ski resorts, but now guests can fly down the mountainside without snow – all year round. Paul Ruben takes a ride.
ZipRider is a new high-tech version of the classic gravity-powered zip line that usually consists of a pulley suspended on a cable mounted on an incline. Commonly found in the canopy tours of Latin America, zip lines can be dangerous, the ZipRider however is not. Hundreds of thousands have ridden without incident.
Just as the outdoor amusement industry strives to extend its operating season, so too do ski resorts. These are no longer five to six-month operations. Summer business is becoming a major part of their strategy to add more attractions and keep people longer, just like the amusement industry. ZipRider is one such attraction, an attractive year-round upcharge addition, just as it can also be for amusement parks. At Wildcat Mountain the attraction commands a fee of $20, or $10 for a repeat ride.
“ZipRider is a high capacity, high revenue producing ride that can operate year round and has minimal impact on the environment,” confirms Eric Cylvick, president and CEO of Terra-Nova LLC, creator of the ZipRider. “It allows customers to experience the mountainous terrain of a resort in the most thrilling yet safest way possible.”
“Summer business for ski resorts has become critical to meet business objectives,” observes Larry Hays, in charge of exclusive sales of resort attractions for Wiegand Sports and ZipRider North America. “In an amusement park ZipRider would most likely be treated as an upcharge ride. A lot of parks have avoided this strategy and yet SkyCoasters and Slingshots continue to operate under this fee schedule.”
For Tom Caughey, Wildcat’s general manager, the decision to add ZipRider made sense. “Wildcat Mountain ski area is located in the White Mountain National Forest in Northern New Hampshire,” he explains. “We needed a ride that would be permitted by the US Forest Service, the county, and state of New Hampshire. The ZipRider fit the need very nicely.”