For Petra Cliffs owners Steve and Andrea Charest, purchasing the climbing and bouldering school wasn't just a good business opportunity, but a way to add value to the local climbing community. Avid climbers themselves, they helped the facility develop into a place where beginners feel comfortable grabbing their first grips, but also one where advanced climbers and boulderers still feel challenged. Within the 8,500-square-foot space, visitors can climb, take lessons, tackle a high-ropes course, or even work out on strength-training equipment. Of course, the staff puts safety and knowledge above all else, and they teach and keep up with professional development courses so they don't miss learning about new protocols or new rock formations that may have evolved in the last five years.
Kelly "Kel" Rossiter résumé includes time at a corporation, in the military, and at a Zen monastery, but the work experience most relevant to his current job took place outside. He has led outdoor trips in 12 countries on four continents—and as the owner of Adventure Spirit, he continues these trips in the Northeast US. He and his team of guides oversee ice-climbing, mountain-climbing, and rock-climbing adventures throughout the region, from New York's Adirondack Mountains to Vermont's Bristol Cliffs. Their trips include expert guidance and all necessary gear, which saves climbers the hassle of making their own ropes from the hair that grows on untended rock faces.
Framed by the tree-spotted foothills of Vermont, Rocky Ridge Golf Club’s 18-hole course unfurls across a verdant expanse of rolling farmland. Throughout the course, elevated fairways and greens offer breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding mountains, as well as a safe lookout from which golfers can detect rival armies of croquet players. Flower beds and rocky outcrops along short-grass corridors further accent the layout’s bucolic environs. Clubbers looking for lessons can seek out golf pro Ed Coleman, who roams the grounds in a zen state attained through 20 years of coaching experience and aromatherapy that uses the odor of freshly mowed fairways. Cozy, green-side seating and tables nestled in shaded porches await golfers for post-round relaxing at the clubhouse restaurant.
As the only par-three course in Chittenden County, Arrowhead Golf Course connects nine holes ranging from 90 yards to 210 yards in length. Arrowhead's small size doesn't just make it easy to slip into a carrying case after rounds: it also makes it an ideal practice course for seasoned and beginner golfers alike. Three sets of tees per hole enable golfers to lengthen and shorten their shots, and gently rolling fairways outfitted with sand bunkers, water hazards, and other quirky traits present a different challenge at every hole. After rounds, players can even continue to work on their game at Arrowhead's driving range and practice putting green. Before or after being outside, golfers can grab a bite or a drink at the onsite cafe.
Most sports require specialized gear, and rock climbing is no exception. In addition to climbing shoes, rock climbers wear a harness attached to a rope. At Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center, belay classes show first-timers that this rope is a safety feature and not meant for playing double dutch with a giant. Once climbers have these skills under their belts, they may challenge themselves by ascending walls up to 40 feet tall or venturing inside a bouldering cave, though not before making sure it's free of hermit trolls.
A year-round hotspot at the Jay Peak Resort, Jay Peak Pump House Indoor Waterpark beckons families to slip into its colorful slides and lounge in its 100-plus-degree hot tubs. La Chute, a quick-descending slide 65’ above the water, launches visitors through a 360-degree turn before depositing them in the pool below only six seconds later. In the Mill Pond kids’ play area, children man water cannons, adjusting their trajectory to blast unsuspecting friends or hydrate parched marathon runners.
An arcade replete with 3-D games and immersive ride simulators provides a break from underwater exploits, and the snack shack quells cravings for pizza, burgers, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Adults can lounge at the poolside bar, where bartenders serve up frozen cocktails, draft beers, and firsthand advice on shark wrangling.