Please Stay on the Grass
If those lazy, hazy days of summer are driving your inner ski bum crazy, take heart; you can still hit a ski resort and get the same heart-pounding rush you got last winter on the slopes. No, NASA scientists haven’t developed some magic non-melting snow; it’s grass-skiing, an adrenaline craze imported from Germany for your warm-weather fun.
Bryce Resort is one of the few areas worldwide to offer this thrill ride (most ski resorts have slopes that are too sandy, rocky, or rough to accommodate grass skiing). Located in the lovely Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, just west of Washington, D.C., Bryce Resort is home to a number of outdoor adventure activities, including mountain-boarding, a zipline tour and a bungee ride.
Grass-skiing uses ski boots just like snow skiing, but the boots are attached to shorter skis roughly 3-feet long; the skis have rolling belt treads on them similar to those found on a tank. (Other designs use small wheels and work like inline skates.) You’ll also need ski poles and a complement of safety equipment—without a soft layer of snow, falls while grass skiing often result in plenty of bruises, bumps, and scrapes. Consider a helmet and pads for your knees and elbows.
You should also consider taking a lesson; even experienced snow skiers report having some difficulty mastering the intricacies of grass-skiing their first time on a grass-ski run. But if you decide to bail out, Bryce Resort offers a consolation; access to their mountain-tubing slide, where participants whoosh down a 340-feet (102m) waterless slide.
info.jpg Bryce Resort Grass Skiing (tel 800/821-1444 or 540/856-2121; www.bryceresort.com).
When to Go: May–Oct.
PANTONE_286_U_plane_icon.eps Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (62 miles/100km).
PANTONE_286_U_lodging_icon.eps $$ Wayside Inn, 7783 Main St., Middletown (tel 877/869-1797 or 540/869-1797; www.alongthewayside.com). $ Frederick House, 28 N. New St., Staunton (tel 800/334-5575 or 540/885-4220; www.frederickhouse.com).