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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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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Go Pro whitewater

Catching some air at Iron Ring Rapid, Gauley River, WV

If you look around, you’ll notice Facebook land has a lot more whitewater shots and videos thanks to the popularity of Go Pros. I have been using my Go Pro Hero 3 to get video and white water shots from the New and Gauley Rivers. I started playing with my Go Pro last year and have been getting more and more into it.  My favorite is to shoot POVs (point-of-views), giving the guest a realistic feel of what it looks like to raft class 5 whitewater. Through trial and error, I have learned a lot over the last year. Here are some tips on what to do and what not to do when using a Go Pro to shoot white water.

How To Mount Your Go Pro:

Go Pro white water

Go Pro Accessories

There are a few different mounts and accessories you can use for the Go Pro. At ACE, we have some helmets that have the Go Pro clips on them, but it’s always a good idea to double check with your Trip Leader before committing to bringing your Go Pro on white water. We try to keep them stored separately for Go Pro-user convenience. Lots of serious filmers prefer to bring their own, which is fine. But make sure you have taken the time to really hold down the sticky part to your helmet for some time. Heat can also help it stick better.  Another mount frequently used is the helmet strap.  If you use this, make sure you bring some tie downs for the helmet.  They tend to get slippery when the helmet gets wet and can easily fall off. Some people also use the chest strap. If you use that make sure to sit in the front. It tends to get a better view of the rapids. Go Pro accessories are available locally at ACE Adventure Gear Shoppe.

Items Useful With The Go Pro:

  • One of my favorite items is the orange float pad you can put on the back of your Go Pro camera. This floats on the surface and keeps it for going down into the water (yes I have tried it at home).  I have seen folks loose their Go Pros on the river, so again, make sure you have everything on tight.
  • Anti-fog inserts are also a trick I’ve discovered from my many river miles. This helps keep the fog out of your camera case and it really works. I have found it definitely makes for a better view for my videos.
  • Camera-tethers are also good for another back up should the camera come loose. I can’t iterate enough, how important it is to double check everything and make sure you always have a backup strategy in place to keep things secure.

Tips That Will Help Out:

  • It’s important to get two things: an extra battery and a large memory card. I like to take a lot of video and photos, so I need that 2nd battery to make sure I can get as much as possible. I also have a flash drive card so when I have too much video on my laptop (and yes, I have a lot) I have a place to store it.
  • Prep yourself and make sure you are ready to use your Go Pro. Read the instructions so you know how to work it before going on white water. I can’t stress this one enough. You don’t want rafting to be the first time you use your Go Pro. I know I have taken pictures instead of video in my time, and it can be frustrating.

Hopefully this helps those who will be shooting some white water with a Go Pro Camera on their next rafting trip. I only covered the basics, but they are a good foundation to build on. Now, go out there and make you and your friends famous! Here’s my latest video from Pillow Rapid on the Upper Gauley River, WV:

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Rock Climbing

Climbing in the New River Gorge

It does not matter if you’re Sport Climbing, Traditional Climbing, Top Roping, or Bouldering. The New River Gorge is a supreme spot for climbers. The New River Gorge is the Grand Canyon of the east, a true mecca for climbers. It would take a lifetime to cover all charted climbs, between the Gorge, Summersville Lake and the Meadows there is over 65 miles of cliff faces to scale including over 1700 recognized routes to climb that range from challengingly easy to impressively difficult.

Oh you’ve never been to The New River Gorge? Getting Started rock climbing in the New River Gorge is much easier then it may seem.  Go to the A gear store and pick up “The New River Gorge Rock Climbing” guidebook. This handbook has every climb that you could ever want to climb in the Gorge, Summersville, and the Meadow. Each Climb is numbered and ranked using The Yosemite Decimal System, then given a one to four star rating system to indicate the quality of the route and backed up with small descriptions lined with helpful hints about the climb itself.

Are you new to the area and you’re unfamiliar to it and with the people? Don’t worry; climbers are a friendly and charismatic group of individuals. Grab your guide book, find a good bouldering spot and bring all your gear, if you’re out going enough you can meet some interesting and inspiring people who might just let you jump on their rope or give you some good tips about the area. You can also hit up the local climber hangouts, like the New River Campground off Ames Heights Road, Cathedral Café in Fayetteville, or Waster Stone Outdoors in Fayetteville, an outdoor store geared primarily towards climbers. These are the places you can visit to help give you a “leg up” in the climbing world of the New River Gorge.

New River Gorge ClimbingPerhaps you desire a little instruction on climbing? Come to ACE Adventure Resort where we offer 1 to 4 day climbing clinics where you will learn, from our professionally trained climbing guides, how to use and care for your equipment, fitting yourself with climbing shoes and a harness, how to tie basic knots and anchors, techniques to climb more efficiently, picking the right routes, and how routes are graded. You’re addicted to climbing now? Well then you can try one of the full day or half day climbing trips that ACE Adventure Resort offers. We will take you to the premier climbing spots of the gorge, with breath taking views of the mountains, valleys, and the New River. Good Luck my friends and Climb On!

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