New River Gorge

It’s one of the biggest days of your life. Why would you spend it being stressed out, jumping through hoops and participating in things that don’t even really appeal to you only for “tradition” sake? This is how Tammy and Keith Taylor feel about their wedding they had with ACE on July 12. Keith and Tammy spent the morning floating down the Upper New River in duckies. There was no crying over the hairdresser ruining her hair, no late florist, no lost rings and no lingering question of “what do we do with all of this cake?!” There was however, their closest family and friends, sharing in a fun filled day on the river in the sunshine.

There was no stress to dim the joy of their special day. As the river trip approached Jump Rock, the couple both prepared to take the plunge and marry their best friend. Their wedding ceremony was held on top of the jump rock, in which Minister Harry Fuler gave a beautiful analogy of love being much like the rivers. The New River is the only river to flow against nature’s will, against the vast mountains, and flow north. The Gauley river has been made an angry river and will put even the most skilled rafter in their place. The two rivers while untamable despite even the best of efforts, come together and find serenity. As we realize the surrounding beauty, the beauty of that comparison, and the love in front of us during this awesome ceremony, the two clasped hands and took a leap faith together into the river below.

Keith is a chef who does a lot of high end gourmet dinners and he has seen the stress of planning a traditional wedding. It just wasn’t something the two were interested in. They wanted adventure, much like what their prior 10 years together has already brought them. Relatives came in from Texas to share in the event, even jumping off the rock as well to show the faith they too share in the relationship (and to have some fun as well).
We are so thankful we got to be a part of this lovely couples day. Jumping into the river of love, adventure style. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate plunge.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort | Leave a comment

ACE Adventure Park & Lake

ACE Adventure Resort is one of a kind. It is full of magical, adventure-rich memories about to be made. It’s out of the norm because it certainly isn’t your run-of-the-mill vacation spot. We love it here. However, we know it’s “different”. We are constantly reminded that we aren’t the lavish spa-type of vacation that many socialites seek. Hipsters sipping cappuccinos while staring at their macs don’t surround our lake. Here, the real hipsters are IN the lake, playing and smiling as big as the 10 year old kid next to them.

You can’t get your nails done here, you won’t get a massage, and in fact, you might leave here sore and with funny tan lines. We aren’t the resort you come to if you want to go shopping at designer stores or eat exotic foods. We are a locally owned, quirky business and appreciate a “well-made burger and beer” kind of meal. That is who we are.

But really, if you do vacation at one of those lavish resorts, will you take photos of getting your nails done? Will you FB that image to your friends and tell them how exciting it was? No, because it was relaxing and that’s great. But was it really fun? At ACE we understand that we are a little rough around the edges. We are a bit out of the way (where the heck is Minden, WV anyway?).  We may be the “tom boy” of other resorts, but that’s how we like it!

We offer you so much more that other resorts would cringe at for fear of staining their khakis. We offer you trip stories that you’ll be reminiscing about for the rest of your life, and pictures everyone will WANT to look at. We don’t offer an atmosphere of standards and snoots, but of people that enjoy a “come as you are, be who you want to be” way of life.

We have bands that you won’t need a tux to see, but will need a little boogie in your step to enjoy. Our activities will push you, in the best possible way. You will remember what it’s like to visit real fun again. So here’s to knowing that we can be rough at times. Here’s to real adventurers. And here’s to being different WV resort in the best way possible: Real. Genuine. Fun.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New River Gorge, West Virginia

The mountains of West Virginia have been my home for a little over 21 years now. I was born, raised, educated, employed and continue to live in this majestic state. Over the years, I have heard more than a fair amount of silly stigmas about my lady WV. Because I work in social media at ACE Adventure Resort, I talk to guests from all over the globe. This is a list of 5 things the world should know regarding our state.

5 Things People don’t understand about West Virginia:

1.    We are a tropical climate
I’m fully aware that we aren’t some remote island across the world. However, our weather is often unique to the rest of the United States. One week it will rain so much that we think we will become the sequel to Water World starring Kevin Costner. The next week it will snow and the following week it will be a high of 80 degrees and you’ll find us outdoors soaking up the sun. This has really happened guys. Keeps it interesting that’s for sure.

2.    We are not all cast members of “Deliverance”
This is one joke I have heard all too many times. Yes we have seen the movies. It’s never wise to trust Hollywood though. In actuality, our state is filled with a wide range of people, from all over the world. People escape their own state to come to ours. As a West Virginia native, I can say that working at ACE Adventure Resort, I am one of few that are originally FROM this state. Many of our employees came to us because their own state left them feeling without sense of adventure in their lives.

3.    There’s nothing to do here
We aren’t known for our malls that’s for sure. Although we do have movie theatres, clubs, live music and a multitude of outdoor activity. I spend my own summers rafting world class rapids, zip lining, by the lake with my friends by day and dancing to live music by night. I rarely find myself desiring the boredom of the mall thanks to this great state.

4.    We only listen to country music
No. Being interested in a wide variety of music, I can assure you I don’t have to look very far when wanting something sweet to listen to. Punk, rock, pop, oldies, funk, we love them all. Not to mention that ACE is contributing to West Virginia’s music scene greatly with its very own Mountain Music Festival; featuring bluegrass bands, rockabilly, funk, punk and folk bands.  We like to toe tap and booty bump just like the rest of ‘em.

5.    Coal is our only industry
The coal mining industry is an important guy in West Virginia, yes. However, recently this industry is dwindling down. What keeps us alive? We offer an outdoor tourism industry that showcases the beauty of our state in the best way possible. As mentioned before, you guys come to us for adventure, keep that in mind.

Don’t be narrow minded about this great state. We are made up of a wide variety of people and activities set out in beautiful, mountainous land. Don’t cheat yourself. Come explore and you’ll understand a whole lot more about West Virginia.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, Our Area | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Steve Arenaz

This week our employee of the week should be a contender for the world’s most fascinating man! Steve Arenaz, in his own words, “bleeds blue and yellow”, the colors of ACE and has fallen in love with the company. Luckily for him, the love is mutual. After being disappointed with past business endeavors, Steve took an adventurous shot in the dark in 2009 and decided to move to WV to train as a raft guide with ACE. He is a New and Gauley River guide, a zip line guide and mud obstacle guide. Steve loves to see and adventure the world and share that passion with others.

Steve has spent 6 wonderful seasons with ACE, only taking one season off for chemo treatments. Coming back from something like that, has left him with a deeper zeal and appreciation for life. He calls himself a ”child of the world” as he has moved around and traveled much of the world. Places that Steve has left his footprint include: Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Austria, Croatia, the Netherlands, China, Mexico, Canada, Britain and of course all over the United States. His passion for the river and seeing those smiling faces in his raft is what keeps him coming back to West Virginia summer after summer. By day he is found guiding a raft, by evening cooking a meal of culinary-genius proportions for many of the other employees, and by night serenading ACE with his banjo melodies. It’s great employees like Steve that help make ACE as awesome as we are and we are glad to have him along for the adventure!

Steve Arenaz

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, People | Tagged , | Comments Off

In May of 2014, ACE was proud to show some high school students from Boone Career & Technical Center around our property and highlight what it’s like to work in WV’s Tourism and Outdoor Recreation industry. Because we are cool, we offered them a contest = best blog about their day at ACE wins a pass for 4 people at our Adventure Park & Lake. Below are the four entries we received from the 8 participants.

Because these cats are as cool as we are, we decided to give all four entries a pass for one free zip line tour (in addition to the grand prize winner). We look forward to having the next generation of outdoor professionals back at ACE Adventure Resort. Thanks guys for the awesome blogs!

tourism industry in WV

Boone Career & Technical Center Participants with Ms. Roberts

THE BIG WINNER = Tyler Elkins-
Thank You ACE for letting my school and I come to your resort! I had a blast doing all the things we did; rafting, zip lining, staying in a cabin, paintball, playing in the lake, and running around with Jim on security! Out of all the fun I had, there was one thing that I enjoyed doing the most and that was zip lining. Our instructor’s name was Ryan and he was awesome. He made my zip lining experience fun and exciting! As much as I loved zip lining, I also loved the lake. My friends and I had a blast on the blob, launching people in the air. We jumped on the water trampolines, did the lake zip line, and played on the jungle gyms. I know this blog was supposed to be about my favorite thing, but I honestly loved everything about ACE. I had the best time rafting down the upper New River. My River Guide/Teacher Ms. Roberts taught me a lot about rafting and reading where the river water is going; she also taught us how to hit a rapid the correct way to where we wouldn’t flip.

When I first got to ACE, it looked like nothing but fun to me, and it was. The morning I got there I didn’t know what to expect. Ms. Roberts took me up to the bus garage, which is where I met Jim the security guard. He took another student and I all around the 1500 acre resort on a side by side four-wheeler. He took us to the top of the resort and showed us an amazing overlook of the historical town of Thermond and explained to us how it used to be a booming town with 450 people living there. There are now currently 5 people living in Thermond, West Virginia.

My experiences at ACE were amazing and I can’t wait to come back with my family and friends to play in the lake and paintball. I’m sure they’ll love it just as much as I did. Besides, my family has been wanting to go to ACE for a very long time anyway! Thank you for the wonderful expierence I had while I was at ACE, I can’t wait to come back soon!

The most action packed plACE in West Virginia- Garrett Napier 
Why travel outside the state of West Virginia looking for adventure when right in our own back yard there is a 1500 acre adrenaline farm. ACE adventure resort is fun and daring for all ages.  When we arrived at ace we were all filled with excitement, and couldn’t wait to get the day started. Ace has friendly, enthusiastic employees. You could tell everyone there was passionate about their job. Throughout the day we did some crazy and exciting activities including  getting launched into the lake by the blob and doing some extreme mountain bike trails with spectacular views of the New River Gorge. In the evening we harnessed up and were soon zipping from platform to platform, gaining speeds up to forty miles per hour. I definitely recommend the evening zips because you don’t want to miss the sun setting on the New River. Zip lining is an awesome addiction and I will definitely do it again. As the morning sun arose, so did we, gathering our things for a day of whitewater rafting on the upper New River. With our Gopros rolling we hit the rapids without fear, following behind our experienced guides. This was two of the most action packed and unforgettable days I  have experienced. I recommend this trip for all thrill seekers in search of an adrenaline high!

Landen Napier-
The best way to describe my adventure at ACE is pure adrenaline! The second you step out of your vehicle at the welcome center you know you are in for an awesome experience. Immediately your attention is drawn to the lake. The lake has a zip line, water slide, a blob, and many inflatable items including trampolines, slides, and rock walls. The lake is one of the coolest places at ACE, but we are just getting started.  ACE offers mountain biking courses. One amazing trail takes you on a breath taking ride as it brings you to the beautiful overlook above the once booming coal town of Thurmond. For all of the thrill seekers you can strap into a harness and go on the ride of your life as you zip from platform to platform along the rim of the new river gorge. After an adventuress day of zip lining you and your friends can go head to head in exciting matches of paintball. It’s up to you and your allies to defend your territory. If you are daring enough to put on your PFD and get into the raft, then you will have one of the best times of your life as you ride the rapids of the New River.  The overall best part about being at ACE is the staff. They help to make your trip enjoyable and unforgettable. ACE Adventure Resort is a perfect getaway location which will lead to a lifetime of fun filled adventures.

Jeffery Adkins-
The ACE Adventure Resort was one of the most amazing experiences of my life; I will definitely never forget this trip. From the time that I arrived there, to even after I returned home, it was just so much fun. All of the staff there were like best friends, it was basically one big family. Everyone had their job and knew how to do it very well. They all work diligently to keep the mountain that the resort is on cleaned up, free of trash beside the trails and the roads. This resort was enormous. It was like a huge maze of hiking trails and there is so much that it offers. From paintballing to zip line tours to white water rafting down one of the oldest rivers in the world. I want to, and plan on going back there this summer.

I was only there for about two days, and within those two days I had the time of my life. The first thing I did when I got there was an internship in which I worked in the company restaurant which was a lot of fun. The staff there is so friendly and we were friends in no time. Then I had a second internship that afternoon and I got to follow the security guard, Jim, around the resort. He basically drove me around and showed a majority of the place, it was too big to see it all within those two hours. The thing he did show me was probably one of the best views I have ever saw in my life. This was the overlook view from the top of the mountain that looked down on the New River and the town of Thurmond. The next thing I did was swim at the lake. The lake was so much fun with all the giant floats and also just swimming is fun in general to me. That evening I went on the zip line tour, which I would have to say is my favorite part of this trip. I am absolutely terrified of heights by the way, just to let you know. My zip line guide was Ryan. Ryan was a really cool and fun guy, and he knew exactly what he was doing. I was hesitant to do the first zip because of the height, but after that I loved it. The views during the line were breathtaking and just astonishing. The feeling and adrenaline rush I received was just great. After the zip line tour we went back to our cabins and made a fire then went to sleep for another day of adventure tomorrow. The next morning we went back to the restaurant to eat breakfast then I set out for my white water rafting tour. By the time we arrived to the sport we would begin the crew was already there and had our rafts and duckies ready to go. We went through the Upper New River so the rapids weren’t that bad and the biggest one was a class 3 rapid called surprise. That was the best part of it. At the end of the rafting tour they already had the truck there and ready to take our rafts. As we were putting our rafts on the truck on of the guides were cooking us lunch. After the rafting tour we started our hour and a half journey back home.

I only got to do a few things this wonderful place had to offer but I want to go back and explore the rest. This place has showed me how much I like to adventure and do fun things such as these. It has opened my eyes and has changed my views on several things. I have been greatly impacted by ACE and I might even see myself as a future employee possibly. I fell in love with ACE since I sat foot in it, I highly recommend this place to anyone and everyone.

*the blog entries are shown in their original form. Judging was based off content, writing style and grammar.

tourism jobs at ACE 10351881_10152229250734748_8080100563099786611_n 10401872_10152229253239748_6747568068952689058_n

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, People | Tagged | Comments Off

Rapids on the New River

Zach S. running the middle section of the Kenney Brothers Rapid on the Lower New River.
Photo by Kathie Green

For some, kayaking comes more easily than for others; like my friend, in the photo above, running a Class V Rapid. For me, I am still proudly in the “others” category. While I’m still very early on in my kayaking career, boating has been a continuous struggle for me. However, as with most struggles, this one has come along with lessons.  Before we go any further though, let me give you some back-story.

I moved to West Virginia in the summer of 2013, with the intent of being a video boater on the New River. The fact that I had never kayaked before didn’t seem like much of an obstacle at the time. I’ve always been the kind of person to easily jump into whatever was in front of me. I didn’t see why this would be any different.  As you’ve probably assumed already, I was terribly wrong.

Quickly, I discovered that kayaking did not come naturally to me. In fact, almost everything about it felt un-natural. Along with that struggle, I was completely new to the river. “Green tongues?” “Hydraulics?” “Undercuts?” It was a foreign language.  With each pull of my skirt and each long swim, I became more and more scared of my boat as well as the river.  Frantically, I would paddle away from any water that moved. To top it all off, I was alone. No one else at camp was learning how to kayak, no one I could relate to or vent to. Only experienced boaters that I kept comparing myself to. After about a month, I wanted to quit, to never sit down in a kayak again.

So here are where the lessons come in. I realized that I didn’t want to fail more than I wanted to quit.  So I reached out to those experienced boaters for help and guidance. With welcoming arms they showed me the ropes and taught be about the river. Slowly I became more comfortable on the river and in my boat. The joy of boating started to take ahold of me rather than the fear of boating.

Now, almost a year later, I am still in my boat. Does whitewater kayaking still scare me? Hell yes. Do I still struggle with kayaking? Absolutely. But I am still trying, still pushing to become a better boater. Because my whitewater lessons have been this: never give up, never compare myself to others, and to appreciate the life that I have. It’s crazy that something as simple as water moving downhill has taught me such vital life lessons, but there is no doubt that it has. So what lessons has whitewater taught you?

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, People | Tagged | Comments Off
Mountain Music Fest

Keller Williams & Larry Keel performing at the 2014 Mountain Music Festival

We are all wishing we could go back a couple weeks when we were having out first big booty-bumpin’ blast in the mountains at the Mountain Music Festival. Other than it being put simply as, “it’s a dang good time”, we want to spell out to you just WHY we at ACE like to Mountain Music FEST.

F- Friends. At the end of the day, ACE Adventure Resort is all about giving its guests a good time! It’s why we do what we do. We love to share our love of adventure, with other people. Sharing this sweet “tunage” with a mass amount of friends is no different. The music festival will only continue to get bigger and better. And we are so thankful for all the friends we continue to make the many adventures we offer and at the music festival.

E- Experience.  What an experience this was for employees, guests and the talent alike! Out in nature, amazing music, dancing, laughing, adventures… This is the kind of experience you want to relive again and again. We want to keep this experience on repeat guys, it’s just too good not to.

S- Surreal. Can you name another music festival you can go whitewater rafting or zip lining at? Seriously, think about it- at any other festival, you get music and camping. Which is great, but we want to give you the most surreal adventure possible. Here’s the recipe: whitewater, zip lines, lake toys, sweet camping, good vibes and some great bands = one heck of a festival! As the Wood Brothers called it, there was “frosting” everywhere.

T- Tunes. A wise man once said, “Go where the people dance”. He wasn’t wrong. If people are dancing, then people are happy! We’re music lovers – and bringing together the beautiful outdoors and jammin’ tunes we all love, just seems to make sense. We have a feeling you agree.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort | Tagged | Comments Off

Staff at ACE

Don Wargowsky is this weeks employee of the week! Don has been “in a relationship” with ACE for 4 great years. Originally from Cutler, Ohio, Don now resides with us in our home among the hills as both a climbing and raft guide. And boy is this guy awesome at what he does! His love of climbing brought him to ACE 4 years ago. He intended to only work one summer with us while he was finishing his master’s degree in education, but one summer was enough to get him hooked!

After being the district manager at a large sales company with over 100 employees under him, working for a Fortune 100 company, and pursuing teaching, nothing felt quite as right as doing what he truly loved, which was working in the great outdoors. He loves working outside with his family of guides and sharing his passion with guests. Climbing is Don’s main passion and because this guy has such an awesome rep for it, we thought we would share:
•    Significant climbs
•    Mt Rainier, Washington (14,410’) 3 attempts, 2 summits, 1 in winter
•    Mt Washington, New Hampshire, 4 winter ascents
•    Mt. Katahdin, Maine, 2 winter summits (35 miles round trip, skiing/climbing)
•    Grand Teton (13,770’), Wyoming, 2 summits
•     Mt Athabasca, Alberta Canada (11,453’) climbed the last 300’ with a broken hand from falling rocks (his longest day in the mountains so far, 26 hours of continuous climbing)
•    Mt McKinley, Alaska (20,322’) 21 days on the mountain, but did not summit due to incoming storm, experienced wind chill of minus 108 degrees F.
•    Climbing Consultant credits in Hollywood film A New York Heartbeat
•    He has multiple first ascents on rock and ice in Canada, most of which have not been repeated by any other climber.
•    Lead 2 expeditions to climb floating icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada (more people have been in outer space than have climbed icebergs. His girlfriend, Sarah (also a guide at ACE) is the only women in history to have ever do it)

Here’s a link to a short film about their trip to New Foundland that won a couple of international awards.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, People | Tagged | Comments Off
Bike Rides

Mountain Biking at ACE

Why Bike Ride at ACE?

I want to ride my bicycle- I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride wherever I like. That “Where ever” meaning the scenic homeland that is ACE grounds. Not only was that a nice spin on a great Queen song, but also an idea for the next time you visit ACE Adventure Resort for vacation.

Bike rides were the glory of our childhood. Many kids spend their summer on bikes. It’s the first real “wheels” they ever got. And with those wheels, we gained freedom.  To turn off your mind and take in the world at what feels like a high rate of speed, or even a slow pace, whatever you desire, is to feel energized, refreshed and free of care. As kids we knew this, but as adults we seem to forget. We become obsessed with schedules, even on vacation, that make it still seem a bit like work.

When you’re at ACE, you can’t help but notice the beauty around you in nature. No matter the activity you partake in, you are also partaking in a tour of nature at its finest. It really only makes sense to bring back a love from your childhood that is both healthy and happy, while experience the wild and wonder West Virginia. Perhaps you aren’t from the area and don’t know the terrain. Maybe you don’t even have a bike at all.

ACE is so bike friendly that you can rent a mountain bike, AND/ OR have a guide take you on an enjoyable, scenic ride. You are in control of how challenging or easy going your bike path will be. Also, the perk of having a guide along is not only the unique tour of the trail they will give you, but also having some security while you’re on your ride. Allow life to hit cruise as you peddle away your worries. This can be family fun, or individual fun. Either way, it is the epitome of classic fun that we loved as kids. Pay homage to the child in you while on vacation at ACE this summer, you owe it to yourself.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, Mountain Biking | Tagged , | Comments Off

World's largest raft

We are no strangers to capturing Guiness Book of World Records titles. We still hold the title for ‘most people down a zip wire in an hour’. You can check out that action here.

We love love love this picture from Lake Placid-based photographer Nancie Battaglia. This aerial image is of the record-setting 1,925 canoes and kayaks, the canoes and kayaks competed for the Guinness Book of World Records title as “World’s Largest Floating Raft.”

We admire the vision and the logistical planning that it takes to establish a record like this. It sure makes us enjoy the peace and quiet here at home on the New River, cause that sure looks like a busy day on the water.

Posted in ACE Adventure Resort, Zip line canopy tours | Tagged | Comments Off