Posts Tagged ‘family summer adventures’

Vail Resorts to Launch On-Mountain Epic Discovery Summer Adventures

March 1, 2016
Vail Resorts is set to introduce on-mountain Epic Discovery adventures this summer at Vail Mountain in Colorado and Heavenly Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe.

Vail Resorts is set to introduce on-mountain Epic Discovery adventures this summer at Vail Mountain in Colorado and Heavenly Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe.

VAIL, Colo. – Want to soar like an eagle? Travel through the forest canopy like a squirrel? Find out if you’re as strong as a bear? See the world through the eyes of a trout? This summer, Vail Resorts is introducing Epic Discovery at Vail Mountain in Colorado and Heavenly Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe. Epic Discovery provides an on-mountain summer experience, immersing guests in activities which provide big-time thrills, allow them to challenge themselves physically, guide them to explore and better understand their natural surroundings, and ultimately create lifelong memories.

“Epic Discovery will provide an avenue for our summer guests to experience our alpine settings in a new, immersed way, similar to what our ski and snowboard guests experience in the winter,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “Vail Resorts, along with our partners at the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy, envisions Epic Discovery as a catalyst for helping to foster a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors among a diverse audience of summer visitors to the mountains.””

This new comprehensive on-mountain summer adventure will feature components such as zip lines, canopy tours, alpine coasters, wildlife trail exploration, and interactive, “learn-through-play”  activities, which will debut at Vail and Heavenly in June and at Breckenridge in 2017.

“Epic Discovery offers families the opportunity to learn through play together in the national forest,”” Jarnot continued. “For kids, it will be the ultimate playground in an alpine setting.””

Vail Mountain’s Epic Discovery proposal received final approval from the U.S. Forest Service in October 2014, and the resort began construction the following summer. Vail’s existing Adventure Ridge has already undergone enhancements with the addition of two rope challenge courses, summer tubing, a four-line Zip Flyer, as well as a kids’ challenge course and kids’  zip line.

In June, Vail Mountain, located on the White River National Forest, will debut these Epic Discovery experiences:

  • Game Creek Canopy Tour: The ultimate outdoor experience, this guided tour will immerse guests in the forest habitat with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges as high as 300 feet above the valley floor. Guests will learn about the mountain environment from interpretive guides while working their way through the course.
  • Forest Flyer: This gravity-based alpine coaster allows guests on individual sleds to descend on a raised track through the forest while giving riders full control of their speed.
  • Expanded Trail System: A wildlife exploration trail, featuring mountain flora and fauna and a series of installations that each resembles a different animal ability, such as vision, stride, agility and strength. Vail has partnered with The Nature Conservancy, the USFS and Walking Mountains Science Center to bring interpretive elements to the Epic Discovery experiences and will be contributing one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects.

Heavenly’s Epic Discovery project, which received final approval on May 14, 2015, has already seen the implementation of several new on-mountain adventures, including a permanent rock climbing wall and kids ropes course and zip line, all located at Adventure Peak at the top of the Heavenly Gondola.

Opening in June, Heavenly’s Epic Discovery will feature:

  • Canopy Tour: Set amongst the pines surrounding the mid-station observation deck of Heavenly’s Gondola, this guided tour will immerse guests in the forest habitat with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges featuring an unfiltered view of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains.
  • Alpine Coaster: This gravity-based alpine coaster allows guests on individual sleds to descend on a raised track through the forest and natural rock formations, with incredible scenic views of Lake Tahoe. Located near the existing summer tubing hill, the alpine coaster will utilize gravity for the descent while giving riders full control of their speed.
  • Guided 4×4 Mountain Tours: Guests will enjoy Heavenly’s stunning view from the cab of an off-roading SUV. These 4×4 tours offer the best of an alpine summer with views of Lake Tahoe, the Carson Valley and Desolation Wilderness.
  • Interpretive Learning: Heavenly’s project integrates a robust interpretive learning component with curriculum created in collaboration with the Forest Service, the League to Save Lake Tahoe and The Nature Conservancy.

Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Epic Discovery proposal to the USFS received its final record of decision on Nov. 16, 2015, and includes adventure hiking zones, plus additional activities including zip lines, canopy tours and ropes courses, all with extensive environmental and interpretive programming. Construction is expected to begin during summer 2016 and will include the following primary activities and enhancements:

Full details on all the Epic Discovery activities at Vail and Heavenly, as well as online ticket purchasing will be available soon online at or

Epic Discovery: A Summer Mountain Adventure

Summer in the mountains is taking on a whole new feel thanks to legislation passed in 2011, the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, and Vail Resorts is the first in the ski industry to submit and implement a comprehensive new summer activities plan to the U.S. Forest Service. Vail Resorts’ Epic Discovery program encourages “learn through play,” promoting environmental education and forest stewardship with numerous fun experiential activities across three different mountain resorts, Vail Mountain, Breckenridge and Heavenly. The Epic Discovery experience will incorporate extensive environmental and interpretive programming that offers guests a unique opportunity to try new outdoor activities, challenge themselves physically, discover an appreciation for nature and create lasting family memories. Each of these new activities will capitalize on the existing summer visitation at each resort and leverage existing infrastructure, creating the opportunity for high-impact and high-return projects. Through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy, a leading conservation non-profit organization, Epic Discovery will complement the eco-discovery experiences across the mountain with scientific content. Subsequently, Vail Resorts will utilize its new “1% For The Forest” program as a means to contribute one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects on national forest lands.

To learn more about Epic Discovery, visit

Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is a leading global mountain resort operator, operating nine world-class mountain resorts and two urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin The Company owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Visit


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Idaho’s Top 10 Family Summer Adventures

June 24, 2011

In Idaho, a “family vacation” means a no-stress, low-cost adventure that parents and kids of all ages will never forget. When planning your family’s trip to the Gem State, consider incorporating a couple of the top-10 family-friendly adventures into your itinerary. Fun times will follow.

1.  Bike the Hiawatha Trail – In northern Idaho, the Route of the Hiawatha is a 14 mile bike path along an old 1900’s railroad route. This trail takes riders through ten tunnels and across seven high trestles and across the Bitterroot Mountains to the Idaho/Montana border. Families can rent bikes and bike trailers from the Lookout Pass Recreation Area, the operator of the trail. Day tickets are only $9 for adults and $6 for kids. Taking snacks or a picnic is a good idea for keeping the energy levels up.  (Check out this video for a glimpse of what the Route of the Hiawatha has to offer!)

2. Learn to Cast Your Own Line – The Snake River runs throughout Idaho and some of the best fly-fishing in the world is in the Ketchum and Sun Valley area. Local outfitters like the Silver Creek Outfitters offer highly customized, guided trips, usually for two people – the perfect father and son outing.

3. Learn to Ice Skate in the Summer – Central Idaho is home to Sun Valley, the tucked-away Idaho resort town that’s famous for being the first destination ski resort-in the nation. But Sun Valley is a blast in the summer too. Against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, kids can learn to ice skate on the Sun Valley Resort’s outdoor ice skating rink. Or watch Olympic medalists and world-class figure skaters perform on Saturday nights, July 2 through September 3 during the Sun Valley Summer Ice Shows.

4. Explore Craters of the Moon – East of Sun Valley, the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve is a sprawling 750,000 acres of lava flows. Kids can pick up a copy of the Lunar Ranger booklet at the visitor center, complete its activities throughout the day and earn a Lunar Ranger badge. Craters of the Moon National Monument is an endless playground that will fuel kids’ imaginations and give them plenty of rare geography to explore. Video:

5. Ride a horse in the Wild West – Saddle up! Many Idaho outfitters and guest ranches offer horseback riding lessons and trail ride experiences. Lewis & Clark Adventures of Gibbonsville, in central Idaho, takes families on horseback and rafting tours along the same route that Lewis and Clark traveled with Sacajawea. This trip pairs adventure and education as kids and parents learn about the land and the history of the pioneers who explored it.

6. Actually, DO Feed the Bears – Visit Yellowstone Bear World in Rexburg, Idaho for some up-close and personal interaction with the wild. Here, visitors can bottle feed bear cubs with the assistance of professional keepers. Curator tours take visitors through the park in a secure,  open-top vehicle. Rocky Mountain elk, bison, moose, wolves and bears are just a few of the wild animals that roam the park. Video:

7. Ride Whitewater Like a Pro – Idaho has more miles of whitewater than any other state in the contiguous U.S. The Idaho Whitewater Guide is an online resource for family-friendly trips and outfitters that can get you in the raft and on the river.

8. Float the Boise River – A pleasant surprise smack in the middle of Idaho’s capital city, the Boise River runs right through downtown. A favorite summertime activity for locals and out-of-towners is to float this pristine, crystal clear river. Epley’s, a local outfitter, rents rafts and tubes and offers shuttle services that take rafters between the put-in and take-out locations. Alcohol is prohibited on the river, allowing for a family-friendly environment.

9. Bruneau Dunes State Park – Climb up, slide down, and run around.  At 470 feet, Bruneau Dunes has the tallest single-structure sand dune in North America. The dunes offer countless physical, fun challenges and endless exploration.  The small lakes at the base of the dunes are fun for frolicking and fishing.  And if you camp for a night, don’t miss the chance to see the stars from the Bruneau Observatory located right in the park.

10. Take a Dip in Nature’s Hot Tubs – Idaho has more natural hot springs than any other state. Often, getting to the hot springs is half the adventure. Near McCall, the Burgdorf Hot Springs are located around the old town site of Burgdorf, which was settled in 1870 and is now considered a ghost town.  Families can rent cabins and stay for the night, soak in the hot springs and explore the wide-open natural surroundings. Better known, the town of Lava Hot Springs earned its name from the local hot springs where Indian tribes gathered for centuries. Today visitors enjoy the odor-free mineral pools and an indoor mineral spring swimming pool with family recreational facilities like a poolside climbing wall.

For additional ideas on how to have an active, inexpensive, adventure-filled family vacation, visit or

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