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Smugglers' Notch, Vermont

Summer Arrives

After being pummeled for a month straight with unreasonably insistent rains, the weather patterns seem to be, finally, a bit saner. July has arrived like the poster child of Vermont summers, with cool, foggy mornings and perfect afternoons. I think people maaaay have noticed, as not only the forest is abuzz with critters busy making house, but it’s also abuzz with the endless sound of zipping. From eight-year-olds on family vacation to eighty-eight-year-olds crossing it off their bucket list, it is apparent that the hordes have arrived to zip. It feels like the Mecca of fun here at ArborTrek, so come on, pilgrims!

So if a group of geese is called a gaggle, a group of dolphins is a pod, a number of larks is an exaltation, multiple bears make a sleuth, owls together form a parliament, and a group of crows, unfortunately, is deemed to be a murder…. (The list goes on and on, I happen to have a minor obsession with collective nouns), then WHAT, pray tell, might a group (horde, crowd) of zippers be??? The best suggestion for a collective noun for zippers wins a free water bottle!

Oh yeah, and the turkeys have arrived! They travel together, and a group of turkeys strutting across the road en masse is called a rafter.

Top 10 Reasons to Zip in the Rain

Top 10 Reasons to Go Zip Lining in the Rain

The sweet smell of summer is in the air… and I mean sweet. To celebrate the event, we have been giving out free t-shirts on our Facebook page and deodorant to our staff. T-shirts and shorts are now appropriate for the tour, but stay away from those new five-finger-toe shoes; they don’t provide adequate protection for your feet, and quite frankly, they freak me out. Over the past few weeks, we have been visited by the most unwelcome of neighbors. Her name is Non-Stop, Torrential Rain, and she has over stayed her welcome by four to five weeks. While she’s left our forests green and our rivers high, it’s time to give a little room to Mr. Sun. In the meantime, guests have been enjoying the tour and learned several important lessons; most importantly, “zipping in the rain rocks!” Why? You ask. I’ll let our customer explain. Over the past few weeks, our customers have helped us compile the following Top 10 Reasons to Zip Line in the Rain:

  1. Warp Speed Effect.
  2. The colors become exaggeratedly vibrant in the rain- especially those bright green mosses and lichens.
  3. No chance of getting thirsty.
  4. Avoid the hordes of fair-weather-zippers arriving en masse on sunny days.
  5. You’ve finally got a chance to give your fancy new rain gear a run for its money.
  6. That free coffee/cocoa waiting back at the Welcome Center NEVER tasted so good.
  7. You can pee your pants (or sweat profusely) and no one will be the wiser!
  8. Zipping through a veil of fog gives the experience an added sense of mystery.
  9. You earn an extra Tough Stripe/ Rain Merit Badge for zipping in the rain (plus your wet-dog photos make you look SUPER hardy).
  10. Warp Speed Effect.

Spring has finally arrived!

It took its time getting here this year, but Spring has finally arrived at ArborTrek Canopy Adventures at Smugglers' Notch and there's no better time to go zip lining.  The canopy tour survived days of persistent high winds and record-setting rains this April and is ready for the summer.  The entire valley is a brilliant green now.  The trees are all budding out, wild flowers are popping up their colorful heads, and once open views and vistas are being replaced by dense green foilage. 

"It is the dynamic nature of the forest that the course traverses through that really sets this tour apart from the competition.  The transformation that takes place to the course each season is amazing.  It is almost as if there are four different courses here," says Smith, zip line canopy tour designer and President of ArborTrek Canopy Adventures. 

Smith explains that over the next few weeks, the course will become greener and it will feel faster and more intimate.  While there will still be breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains at some places on the course, the focus will be much more on the area of the forest where guests are situated and not on the distance views.  "In the winter, platforms are visible at the end of most of the cables when you are clipped in.  This will not be true in a few weeks.  The canopy will become more dense and guests will feel as if they are flying through organic tubes cut in to the canopy.  Guests will just need to trust us that there is an end to the cable, because the end will not be visible for much of the traverse.  The dense canopy also highlights the babbling brook which the course follows.  In the winter, the brook can be all but lost at times.  Not now.  It's really moving. "

Want to see how the course evolves from one season to the next?  View photos from tours on our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/arbortrek/

April is for Zip Lining in Vermont

Vermont, as many are unaware, has a few extra seasons in its calendar year. Along with winter/spring/summer/fall, there is mud season (after the snow melts), at which point blackfly season carries us into spring when, come summer, dearfly season tacks onto blackfly season, which then compounds with mosquito season. For all you poor earth-bound humans, the inescapable presence of these biting, bothersome pests could be the bane of your vacation in Vermont’s otherwise perfect summer clime. But wait! Fear not! ArborTrek offers an alternative to simply suffering through another family outing in the woods! You’ll be pleased to find out that those infuriating little beasts just don’t have the wherewithal to FIND us up in the treetops. For some reason, mosquitos, blackflies and deerflies just do not inhabit the forest canopy. It’s brilliant. It’s amazing. Come fly with us!

And thanks to everyone who made suggestions for a collective noun for zippers! Among the best were…..

  • A hum of zippers
  • A folly of zippers
  • A quivering of zippers
  • An exuberance of zippers
  • A swiftness of zippers
  • A flight of zippers

(p.s. the collective noun for mosquitos is “scourge”. Perfect, no?)

A Snowstorm of Epic Proportions

What a beautiful day for zipping!  The snow is falling (well... dumping) on us at an unbelievable rate, and all those snowflakes make for an unforgettable day on the zip line canopy tour; most of our guides say days like this are their favorite times to zip line in Vermont.  It’s certainly a good day to strap on some goggles, grab a camera, and hit the zip line.  We are just putting the finishing touches on the course, getting a platform finalized at the bottom of our longest and sixth zip, and tweaking the tension on some of the cables to get the perfect speed.

We are now posting photos from our tours on our facebook site.  You can view daily tour photos at http://www.facebook.com/arbortrek

Happy New Year

All those brave souls who made it their New Year’s Resolution to push their comfort zone a little bit and came out on a zip line canopy tour this morning can check it off the list!  (And the others who would like to follow suit should come and meet us!)  We ran a very excited and happy group through the course first thing this morning and have many more on the way for the weekend.  Happy New Year and best wishes to all of our friends and clients!

Let the Training Begin!

It’s still dark outside here at the ArborTrek Welcome Center, but we’ve got everybody together for a little morning meeting and the build team is introducing themselves to the new guides, then quickly being dismissed to keep working on the course.  The trainees have lots to cover, from risk management to paperwork to technical skills, and three energetic trainers to help them.  Mike Smith stands at the front of the room and starts in on a lesson about safety and risk, and trainers Jeff Pelon and Rhonda Sandweiss from S.T.E.P.S., Inc. chip in with advice of their own.  As soon as it’s light out, the 6 new guides will be on the zip cables, learning the details and procedures of ArborTrek’s Canopy Tour.  There is a lot to go over, but with long days and the right mix of classroom time and zip time, they’ll get everything done in six days, then take their practical exams and tour evaluations, and soon will be ready to take the public out in the air!

Canopy Tour Build - Week 3 - Where Did the Fall Go?

{jcomments on}I suppose if the Postal Service can deliver come rain, sleet, and snow; so can we.   After a fair weekend and early week of splendid Fall colors and moderate temperatures, we said Goodbye to the Fall and Hello to Winter.  Unhampered by the weather, but bogged down by soggy clothes and multiple layers, the build team continued to run additional cables.  Five zip lines are now temped in and two more are close to completion.  By the end of next week, we expect to have all of the zip lines temped in and have our ground platforms started.   Over the next few weeks, the course will come in to shape with additional structures, tree platforms, and bridges. 

Based on current progress, we expect to open a Short Course with three ziplines and a rappel prior to Thanksgiving.  The full Canopy Tour will be complete and ready for operations by mid-December.  For those interested in getting first rides, online reservations will be available in the next few weeks.    


Canopy Tour Build - Week 2 - First Runs

{jcomments on}After months of planning, there is nothing sweeter than the first runs...  The build team has been hard at work and Line 1 and Line 2 have been temped in. 

It will be a while before the platforms are hung and the course is ready for use by the public, but dialing in the first line is always a memorable experience.  First runs aren't always clean as you will see by the video below. 

As part of our commitment to preserving the natural environment, we endeavor to keep the forest as natural a possible.  This means leaving trees and limbs in place that may or may not be impacted by the zip line corridor until the line is set and tested.  Keeping a  corridor as natural as possible and only removing those limbs and trees that impose risk means lots of extra work, patience, and a few bumps, but we firmly believe it delivers the best overall experience for our customers.

Michael Smith, arbortrek canopy tour guide

Mike Smith

There's nothing sweeter than first runs... whether it's first tracks down the mountain on a powder day or the first flight through the trees.  After months of surveying, accessing trees, and collecting data to design a course that works with the forest and terrain, it's always exciting to venture out in to the unexplored and to be the first person to traverse a route that has never been traversed.  As an explorer, it's always hard to know if you were really the first person to climb a new rock route, paddle a river, or explore a remote area.  When you're building zip lines, it's a pretty safe bet that you're the first to fly through that area and it is very liberating. 


Canopy Tour Build - Day 3 - Running the First Lines

{jcomments on}After several months of planning, permitting, surveying, designing and wandering through the woods, we're finally in the trees.  The ArborTrek Smugglers' Notch Build Team is setup and running the first lines.  Despite heavy rains, it was nothing but smiles as the first lines were shot in to trees and our climbers moved from workshop and desktop to the vertical world. 

Premier canopy tour design is a multi-phase process and it involves experts from a variety of fields.  While most of the heavy lifting occurs during the cable running and site preparation phase, the real work begins with the planning, permitting, surveying, engineering, designing, and financing.  Over the past few months we have been working with local surveyors, consulting wildlife biologists, consulting foresters, our friends at S.T.E.P.S., Inc., engineers, and financiers to ensure that the location we have chosen is well protected and unforgettable.  If not for the work of many talented people including the experience and efforts of the marketing teams, management, and permitting specialists at Smugglers' Notch Resort, we'd still be behind our desks.

Over the next few months we will be blogging on the development of the tour.  We'll stop to show you how we access trees, steps we take to protect the forest, and occasionally just take time to showcase the beautiful terrain and environment we're working in to establish a World-Class Canopy Tour for you here in the Green Mountains at Smugglers' Notch Resort.

The full tour consisting of 8 zip lines, 2-3 bridges, rappels, and some surprises is scheduled to be open early this Winter.  Check back frequently for more information on the tour and opportunities to win free rides. 

Latest News

New Aerial Adventure Park to Open at Fall Creek Falls State Park

Pikeville, Tennessee – ArborTrek Canopy Adventures has teamed up with The Adventure Guild, LLC, a Tennessee-based adventure park builder/operator, to develop an aerial adventure park at Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee's largest and most visited state park. The 2.5-hour, self-guided tour con...

ArborTrek President Elected to Board of Directors of ACCT

Michael Smith, President of ArborTrek Canopy Adventures, LLC, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT), the leading standards author and professional trade association for the canopy/zipline and aerial adventure park market.   Founded in 1...

ArborTrek to Open Two New Eco-Adventures in Smugglers' Notch

ArborTrek Canopy Adventures at Smugglers' Notch, Vermont is expanding its services in the spring and summer of 2013.  In addition to the established Zip Line Canopy Tour, which was named one of the "World's Coolest Zip Lines" by Travel + Leisure magazine and one of the best wilderness zip lin...

ArborTrek Smugglers' Notch Featured on Vermont Public Television Outdoor Journal

Gina Bullard of WCAX joined us in the trees last October for a zip line canopy tour through Vermont's fall foliage.  While the zip line canopy tour is open year-round to guests at Smugglers' Notch Resort, locals, and visitors to the region, there is perhaps no better time to go zip lining in th...
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Directions to ArborTrek
1239 Edward Rd.
Jeffersonville, VT 05464
GPS: 44.59745,-72.800496