Trip Report: Soaring Through The Wintry Forest On Bretton Woods Canopy Tour
Who says kids are the only ones who can have fun romping in the trees? Zip lines, sky bridges, rappels and a snow-covered forest made for an exhilarating day to play on the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour.
After gearing up and riding the lift to the top of the mountain, a group of six of us and two guides trekked across the slopes towards Rosebrook Canyon, keeping a watchful eye for downhill skiers as we traversed the slopes.
In a nook of trees that I would never have discovered on my downhill skis, we stopped for "ground school" training, where each of us got to see how the dual-cable system works as we tuck in tight and straight to begin a zip and then apply even pressure on the top cable with our work-gloved hand when the guide waiting for us tells us to slow down for the landing platform.
The 1,000-foot descent of the tour took us along nine ziplines, ranging from 120 - 830 feet in length and up to 165 feet off the forest floor, two sky bridges suspended above the forest floor, and three rappels, from nine to 65 feet in length.
The zips, bridges and rappels start and end at 16 tree platforms, ranging from 10-70 feet off the ground. We were flying through the air at up to 30mph. Each zip line varies in length, with a maximum span of 830 feet and 165 feet above the ground.
Each platform is built around a large tree with an unobtrusive wood and steel structure that you wouldn't even see as you are skiing by unless you are looking for it.
For each zip, one of the guides would go ahead and signal back when he was ready for us to fly. When it was my turn, I would step to the edge of the platform, where the guide would clip my harness into the trolley system and unclip the two safety carabiners from the platform. Then I'd place my hands one over the other on the top of the trolley and when given the signal, step off the platform and tuck up into an aerodynamic position to soar through the frosty trees.
With the trolley whirring above me, I'd try to concentrate on maintaining that aero position, but the rush of speed and the mountain views in the distance drew my attention outward to the stunning surroundings. At the end of the zip, a guide would be ready to give the signal if I needed to slow down for my landing, then make sure I was on my feet before unhooking the trolley and attaching the safety carabiners to the tree.
Building confidence as we went, the zips got progressively longer and higher as we made our way down the mountain. By the end, as we flew over favorite ski trails like Deception Bowl and Downspout, I was eager to make the morning last and tried to appreciate every moment.
The three-hour tour literally flew by, and the final repel to terra firma took us 65 feet down.
The zip and ski package is value-priced at $99 for a full day of skiing and a canopy tour. The canopy tour alone is regularly $89.
Photos: Top -- Views of snow Mt. Washington from the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour. (Bretton Woods); Left -- Flying through frosty trees is an exhilarating rush. (Elizabeth Baker)