Zip Line Tours in WV

Vicki and the ACE Zip Line Guides

Get Ready, Set, Go!
October 20, 2013 marks the date of my first Zip Line Tour. I will have to admit, I was a bit nervous and hesitant — especially when I heard one of the guides say, “By the way, this zip line is a one of a kind in North America. You will be zipping down nine lines, on the edge of a 1,000-foot canyon also known as, “The Grand Canyon of the East.””
The guides began giving our group advice as they reviewed our safety gear. They stressed that it was important to listen to them at all times and to enjoy the ride, scenery and have fun.
Tip: You should never wear loose clothing — something close-fitting, but comfortable.
We started out with a mini-bus ride to our drop off point. I secured my camera around me to capture my experience which I highly recommend. I was ready, set and it was time to hook into the first line.
Taking the leap of faith from the edge of the first platform, I had the thought, “I’ve come this far so I can’t back out now.” Before launching, I asked Paul, one of the four guides, “Where am I going?” Checking my safety gear on last time, he laughed saying, “You’re going that way.” I knew that. The foliage had camouflaged the next platform and I could not see it. Yelping, ”Oh, Dear Jesus!” I leaped.”
Waiting for me on the other side, Chelsea and Marinna gave me a stool to stand on making it easier to unhook me from the zip line. They reassured me, “We’re here for you, Vicki.”
The next few lines had my heart pounding, and I liked it! I was topping speeds of 40+ miles per hour screaming, “Woo-hoooooo” and “Oh my goodness!” The adrenaline rush gave me a natural high. I went backwards on one of the lines. I even experienced a little vertigo and surrendered to the euphoria that was happening inside me.
Next, staggering across a 250- foot swinging bridge, climbing up a 55- foot spiral staircase, I took the PLUNGE! Guide, Steven Kimmel, having a great sense of humor, tossed me a lifeline.
I cannot express enough the professionalism I experienced from the ACE’s Zip Line Tour staff. Safety is their number one priority. I’m 42 and that day, I learned that you are never too old to try new adventures.
Written by: Vicki White

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New River Gorge

New River Gorge in the Spring

We’ve all heard the story. You know the one…the New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world. Then why is it called the new?

Like a women her exact age remains a mystery. To add to her mystic she’s also had aliases.  One of the first white men that tried to tag her with his own name was Colonel Abraham Woods. He was a well-known European fur trader and explorer. He sent  a couple of his best men into the Appalachian Mountain area specifically in search of deer and beaver for their pelts. So it’s quite possible that those men, Thomas Batts (Batte) and Robert Fallam, may have been two of the first few white men to experience this mountainous region and ride what they called “Woods River”.

Digging a little deeper I find that just a few years prior to that, Edward Bland wrote home to London of the western territories of Virginia and North Carolina.  Everything was new…He called them the New Brittaine and New Virginia. Branding is obviously not a new trend… So when Bland came upon a river that wasn’t marked on any his maps, what else was he going to call it but the “New River”.

The New River is born in North Carolina and travels north which is an odd thing for a river to do. So she’s old but she’s called the New, and she’s goes against what is a general rule of rivers in flowing the wrong way. By the time she travels through Virginia and into West Virginia she’s picking up some powerful steam. Showing it off by way of wonderful white water and leaving a trail of summer fun in her mist. She’s been feeding and providing to this area in many ways over many years, and just like any mountain woman she’ll continue to do so till she hasn’t a drop left.

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whitewater rafting termsWhile spending my summer at ACE Adventure Resort, I have realized that the whitewater world speaks a language all its own, perhaps not the New River itself but its people definitely do. And by people, I mean the unique group of thrill-seeking individuals working as raft guides. The more times you go rafting, the more of the whitewater terms you begin to pick up from them. There are probably books full of whitewater terms such as hydraulic, pour-over, punchy, reactionary, guide ejectors, undercuts, eddy and so forth. While the raft language is never ending, there are three whitewater terms that stick out in my mind as being rather important for any rafter to understand.

These three terms are “high side”, “eddy” and “hydraulic”. High side comes into play on a rafting trip when the raft either encounters a large rapid or rock sideways and goes up on to one side. In order to prevent the raft from flipping, it needs weight put on the side that is up in the air. There will already be rafters seated there, but when high side is called, this is code for the entire boat of rafters to make it to literal high side and fast.

The next whitewater term, eddy, usually refers to a type of safe haven for rafters or their boat. An eddy, depending on where in the river it is can take different forms. However, the safe haven eddy I am referring to, is the one that is usually behind a large rock, to either the left or the right of the river near the shore. Guides will often pull a boat into one of these eddies after making it through a large section of a rapid to sort of reconvene with the other boats or to make sure each makes it through successfully. Because the large rock is preventing the water from continuing downstream, it has created a placid pool. It’s a nice place to take a few moments before or after the big water hits. And any fisherman knows, this is where the fish hang out.

Hydraulic is the next term that it frequently splashed around on the river. As a rafter, it doesn’t matter what section of the whitewater you are running, you will be seeing hydraulics all day. A hydraulic is simply a wall of upstream current created by water flowing over a rock. Essentially, this is a wave that can pack a punch. Sometimes hydraulics are safe to “hit”, sometimes not. However, you can be assured that your guide will always point these out to you, and if they are runnable will be yelling “all forward” as you approach.

Our guides always teach you the most important whitewater terms you need to know while rafting with ACE; however, see if you hear any of these terms while on your next trip. I bet that if you find yourself in a raft frequently you will have already picked some up!

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Campfire Cooking RecipesWhen you go camping, whether it be in a pop-up tent or cozy cabin at ACE, you tend to eat the same types of food. Hotdogs or a hamburger, whatever is easiest to grill, perhaps beans and s’mores at night. This is delicious camping food however, if you camp frequently, you and your family may get a little tired of having the same type of meal. This is a simple, wallet friendly, kid friendly meal. Even if you have no kids, everyone will find himself or herself wanting this campfire cookout recipe. It’s perfect for changing up each time you have it and everyone will enjoy personalizing it!

Fireside Camp Pizza:
-All you need to cook this is a grate to place over the fire. Tin foil is helpful to contain any mess.

Ingredients include:
1 pack of pita or naan bread (depending on preference)
1 bottle of pizza sauce
Shredded mozzarella
Any additional pizza toppings you desire. Get creative! Veggies, Meat, Fruit etc.

Directions: Place bread on grate over fire and heat until lightly toasted. This prevents sauce from making bread soggy. Once toasted, flip bread over and place on low heat, meaning pull it out of the direct flame as to not heat too quickly. Next, top bread with sauce, cheese and finally preferred toppings. Let sit and cool for 5-10 minutes. Instant Fireside Camp Pizza! Enjoy

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Tarpology

Camping in WV

If you find yourself in a tent at ACE, I feel as though tarpology is an important concept to be familiar with. West Virginia has frequently changing weather. Within the same day it can rain, be hot and turn chilly fast. In order to prepare your tent for these possible changes, tarp knowledge is good to have to take your camping experience to the next level.
You’re probably wondering what I mean by tarpology. I’m referring to the act of rigging tarps in specific ways to cover your camp spot from the outside elements. This cannot only keep you cooler but dryer. All you need is a tarp or two and some string. Two tarps are optional. This is if you would like to put one under your tent to prevent water soaking through in case you find yourself in a substantial downpour. One tarp though, when stretched over the top of tent can keep a lot of the abuse from a bad rainstorm. When stretched flat across a tent this also creates an instant shade area, for those hot days. A tarp can be easily and simply stretched above a tent, between two trees with string to protect from rain and heat.

What is important to remember about your tarp is that it should be strung tight enough to be sturdy yet still possess enough flexibility to bend with the wind to prevent it from ripping. If your tarp has one side a different color from the other, then remember to place the lighter of the two facing the sun to reflect the heat.
Something as simple as a tarp and a string doesn’t seem like it can make a huge difference, however if you’ve been camping and been rained out or fried by the heat, you will understand why tarpology is so key!

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Group tripsLooking for a great way to reconnect with a group of friends? Are you planning a group trip with some of your favorite people? Struggling to come up with a plan that will make everybody happy? Well, around here we call that being a TL (Trip Leader) and it can be a daunting task at times, but we aim to make it as painless as possible, so here are some suggestions to help you plan a successful weekend adventure that will be sure to provide memories that will last for a lifetime!

If you haven’t already checked out our website or Facebook page, take a look; there are lots of great photos, articles, links and booking information for your viewing pleasure. After you have taken a look at all the fun activities that we have to offer you here at Ace Adventure Resort, give us a call on our reservation hot line to speak with a specialist who can help to answer any questions that you may have and also to assist you in booking a getaway that is tailor made for you and your friends at no extra charge. Give us a call at 1-800-787-3982

Do you have a group that is looking to do more than just paddle while you are here at ACE Adventure Resort? Well, we’ve got you covered! If flying through the tree tops alongside the beautiful New River Gorge while zipping from platform to beautiful platform is more your thing, then you will love our spectacular Zip Line Course! Already been Zip Lining?  What about in the DARK?!?!? Check out our new Night Zip Lining Package, it is a totally different experience after sunset! Headlamps, beverages and transportation included!  Want to ease into the idea of heights? Why not start out with a rock climbing and rappelling package and hit nature’s walls with some of the New River Gorge’s best climbers! We here at ACE are proud to boast some of the industry’s best and safest climbers!

Is your group perhaps more interested in keeping your feet on the ground? No problem!  Here at ACE we are fortunate to operate our resort from our very own private mountain boasting beautiful hiking trails all over property along with a newly designed Wonderland Disc Golf Course at Mountain Top.

Is biking more your thing? We’ve got that too! Take a break from the group and come and check out our beautiful and challenging bike trails and enjoy some time out in the woods going your own speed for a change!

Looking for an activity that is a bit messier? A bit grittier maybe?  How about a game of paintball at our newly constructed mountain top location? It is sure to bring out the competitive spirit in anyone! What about challenging your friends in our Mud Obstacle Course? Our military groups love this activity, and if you are looking for some great photos from that bachelor party that are actually appropriate to share, well then this activity is for you!  Want to add the element of speed to your mud filled adventure?  Well then be sure not to miss a tour with our ATV tours around property!  They know where all the best spots are to tear it up out there!

So give us a call and book some fun into your life today!  Then be sure to pack those weekend pants that are meant only for playing and getting dirty and bring ‘em on down to West Virginia and come play at Ace Adventure Resort!  If you are ready to play, we are here to help!  Let the games begin!

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New River Gorge Bridge Day

Yes, this guy really did jump!

Attending Bridge Day on the New River Gorge Bridge has been on my bucket list. For me, it was a dream comes true. Because of my experience, I now plan to attend every year. It is an annual event that is held every third Saturday in October. Considered the world’s largest and most dangerous extreme sports event, I was not sure what to expect.
Leaving Ace Adventure Resort the morning of, my GPS had stopped working. To my surprise Kroger, one of many designated parking locations for the event was less than ten minutes away. Parking did not seem to be a problem. Everything was well organized by the County. Every fifteen minutes, school buses would pick you up and drop you off round trip for $2.00 making it a short convenient ride to get from one destination to another.

When arriving on the South side of the bridge the excitement in me grew. There were people as far as your eyes could see. According to Cindy Dragan from the Bridge Day, Commission there was an estimated 75,000 spectators from all over the world to attend this year. Sponsors and vendors lined up on both sides of the highway. Selling handmade crafts, jewelry t-shirts, crazy looking beanie hats, and kettle corn. Children were jumping on a bungee trampoline. The aroma from food was so tempting. I enjoyed lemonade and the best funnel cake that ever melted in my mouth.

The weather was overcast with temperatures in the low 60’s.For attire I dressed in layers wearing a, North Face wind jacket. Over all, a perfect autumn day for the event.
From below the bridge while taking photographs and video, I found myself saying a silent prayer for each participant. The BASE jumpers were leaping, diving or being launched from a catapult some 876 feet above me. Free falling three to four seconds before deploying their chutes. It looked like rainbows’ dancing in sky as their parachutes open to become their saving wings of grace.

New River Gorge

Landing in the New River

In West Virginia for just one day, BASE jumpers can legally leap from the New River Gorge Bridge, and soar like an eagle in the wind. Wild Water & New River jet boats come to the rescue if they happen to splash in the frigid river below. It was like a scene out of a movie. Nine hundred thirty-four jumps took place.

Bridge Day 2013 was ending. One of the most touching moments I had that day was the opportunity to interview Lonnie Bissonnette who jumped from the bridge in a wheel chair with his best friend Bertrand Cloutier. They jumped in memory of their two best friends. Lonnie’s best friends name was Scott Halliday who also loved the sport. He passed away in July 2013. Bertrand best friend was Mario Richard who had an unfortunate accident in Italy a few months ago doing what he loved. “Feeling free and being part of the skies.” Bertrand explained: “There were four who jumped not just Lonnie and me.”

Bridge Day

Lonnie Bissonnette, Bertrand Cloutier and Vicki White

When talking to Lonnie I asked him, what advice would you give to someone who may or may not be in your circumstances? What advice would you give to our youth? He responded: “Vicki, I would tell anyone to go for their dreams and don’t let anyone stop you from achieving them.” Bertrand responded saying: “This is how we live our lives and we hope to inspire others.

Written By: Vicki White

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2013 Video Boaters Awards

2013 Video Boaters Awards

On Wednesday, October 2nd, over 250 folks from the New & Gauley River community gathered at The Historic Fayette Theatre in Fayetteville, WV for one of the most-anticipated events of the year, the Video Boater Challenge (VBC). 2013 was the 10th anniversary of the event, and it was a night to remember. The VBC is a film festival featuring the work of the video boaters who film whitewater trips on the New & Gauley Rivers. A panel of industry peers in several categories judges their videos. The audience votes on the two most prestigious awards, Viewers’ Choice for Best Video and Best Video Boater. ACE’s own Josh Collins received video Boater of the Year! All proceeds from the VBC go towards the preservation and operations of The Historic Fayette Theatre.

The ACE Video Dept. once again won a majority of the awards, winning 1st place finishes in 6 of 9 categories! Our video boaters were also awarded three 2nd place finishes, and three 3rd place prizes. Contestants were rewarded from a well-stocked prize pool of donations from local, national, and even international sponsors. Among those contributors is ACE Gear Shop, which has been a major sponsor of this popular local event since its beginning.

Our Video Department is very much behind the scenes of the event, from the Director of the show, to stage actors, and technical staff. New for this year was a live musical performance by the Appalachian Thunderfunk Video Boater’s Band, an all-video boater ensemble of which three out of four work for ACE!

ACE Adventure Resort would like to extend their congratulations to our award-winning video staff: Josh Collins, John Cornwell, Katie De Butts, Peyton Love, Lisa Marie, Tom Riley, and T.K. Shields. Way to go! So proud to watch your work at the 10th annual video boater challenge.

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Gauley SeasonAs the daylight becomes shorter and the temperature gets chillier, Gauley season at ACE is coming to an end. We definitely ended it with a bang on the Gauley!
Rafting, zip line, ATV, paintball, horseback riding, paddle boarding, climbing and rappelling, bridge walk, mud obstacle, and countless other activities full of adventure taking place at ACE, no wonder you’re hooked on adrenaline. No doubt our employees made just as many great memories as our guests did.

We at ACE are already looking forward to next season and having you back for the wild ride! After you have spent some time with us once, you may be wondering, what could possibly make my adventure different next season?

Remember that the river is always changing and every time you raft, it’s just as exciting as your first. Plus, after you tell your vacation stories (and they are cooler than everyone else’s) we are positive that your friends and family will want to come along on your next visit.

So here’s to another Gauley season of adventure here at ACE, great memories, and new excitement next season! We thank you for coming to raft the gnarly rapids, adventure the apex of the zip line, and paint each other in paintball and we look forward to seeing you again!

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SUP tours WVAdventure seekers flock to ACE in the fall season for the adrenaline rush of the Gauley River, but forget that the fall offers another great water activity. Let’s say you raft the Gauley one day of your vacation, and it is as thrilling as promised, but you want something a little more laid back the next day to even out the dynamic. West Virginia takes on a beautiful new look in the fall and to experience it in person is to truly appreciate it.

Paddle Boarding would be a perfect activity to do while at ACE in the fall. This holds the aspect of exciting and new because many people have never paddle boarded before. At the same time, it is a laid back activity that you can take as slow as you like. From the vantage point of your board you can take in the beautiful fall colors and smells, not to mention wildlife, as you paddle gently downstream. What other way to balances out the wild ride the Gauley River provides?

Learning to paddle board in WV is a fun adventure. First you start on your knees, and then you wobble up to your feet in a standing position till you successfully master that. When you do this, you will be so proud of yourself, just in time to look around and take in the beauty of fall all around you.

There is no other activity that perfectly mixes serenity with adventure. For water lovers, there is also no better way to add to your already exciting fall weekend at ACE Adventure Resort. Paddle boarding in WV is the perfect fall activity.

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