Ski towns once became ghost towns when the snow melted, leaving the lodges to the chipmunks and the scenery to the natives. But many ski towns now make summer and fall as active as winter. Aspen does it with cultural conferences and executive fitness clinics. Squaw Valley has a movie festival, jazz concerts and is campaigning to become a high-altitude training ground for U.S. athletes before the Mexico City summer Olympics. Vail specializes in wilderness pack trips, golf and fishing. At Sugarbush, Vt., where these pictures were taken, the activities reach such a frenzy that a winter of skiing is suggested as a warmup for summer. A new 18-hole golf course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, has a spectacular background of birches and mountains. The horse population has tripled in three years. Everybody seems to be out for polo, hiking, fishing, swimming, tennis and skeet. And when the goings-on on the ground get too hectic, there is escape to the silence of some of the best soaring to be found anywhere in the U.S.
Sugarbush is becoming a major eastern soaring center. More than 100 sailplanes will gather there in October to ride the unique wave of Canadian air that gets its upward thrust from the Green Mountains. At the Sugarbush soaring school a student who has never flown before can solo in about 10 hours for about $200 worth of plane rental, towing and instruction.
The Mad River, which drains an unusually narrow valley, occasionally rampages in the spring, causing considerable damage. In September it is a calm paragon of a trout stream, where Trodd Fortna, who teaches skiing in the winter, spends his pleasantest hours. Fortna gives fly-casting instruction and runs a lodge with a stable of horses for trail rides.
The Valley Day School curriculum is centered on swimming, riding, hiking and tennis. Here Tennis Instructor Brooks Boveroux corrects some faulty young forehands. Many families spend the whole summer, and fathers commute weekends.
Linda Gregory (photographed with her 4-year-old Vermont Morgan, Echo Brook Sireson) teaches riding and leads trail rides into the Green Mountains. The sculpture is part of a large outdoor exhibit on the lawn of the Bundy Art Gallery.
On Lincoln Mountain, at the top of the Sugarbush gondola, Jack Murphy and family pause on the Long Trail, the hikers' trail that runs along the mountain ridges, joining the Appalachian Trail at Sherburne Pass, Vt. Murphy, the Sugarbush partner who built the lifts, also pioneered its soaring.