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Be a Human Snowball
New Hampshire Resort has a
New Way to Get Down the Hill

Dateline: 02/17/00 

freenl.jpg (13074 bytes)Well... now I've heard it all! It's mid-February, and no matter how avid a skier you are, you may just be getting a wee bit tired of schussing down the slopes. Leave it to Yankee ingenuity to offer you a whole new way to get your downhill thrills!

Yes, Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway, New Hampshire, has introduced the Zorb. What is the Zorb? Glad you asked! The resort's Web site says, "A spin on the Zorb will help you forget your Tuesday meeting. Until Wednesday." And the Wall Street Journal quoted Cranmore Mountain General Manager Ted Austin as saying, "'It's as close to what I can imagine being put in a washing machine' is like," in a January 19 article.

Essentially, the Zorb turns the rider into a human snowball. Nestled inside the plastic Zorb sphere, which is 10 feet in diameter, riders strap in their ankles and hold on (tightly I hope!) to nylon straps. Then, they are pushed down a 700-foot snow track. Austin called it a "low-skill but high sensation" activity in the Wall Street Journal report.

I may have been a bit hasty in crediting Yankee ingenuity with this latest "craze." Cranmore Mountain Resort's Web site actually says that the Zorb is rumored to have had its origins in 17th century China! And the "sport" has been seen in Europe and New Zealand over the past 10 years. But still, the addition of this contraption to Cranmore's array of snow toys is certainly a clever boost to the somewhat languishing ski business in New England.

Before you pop a few Dramamine pills and herd the family into the car for the trip to North Conway, check Cranmore Mountain Resort's online snow report, research area lodgings and special packages, and get directions to the mountain. Cranmore Mountain Resort will be open through April 3, 2000, weather permitting.

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