By Antoinette Colon

Connection Staff

Turn off your cell phone, put off the yard work and prepare to zip down Spring Mountain with a birds-eye view.

The ski and snowboarding area has become a summer eco-adventure destination that will excite thrill-seekers with a series of platforms, zip lines, suspended rope bridges and repelling courses. With the first canopy tour in the region, Spring Mountain Ski Area has found a way to attract visitors when the summer sun is high.

"It is a true adrenaline rush. The eco-adventure is great stuff," said Richard Buckman, who owns Spring Mountain with his wife Gayle.

In addition to the canopy tour, the new Summer Adventure Program of Spring Mountain Adventures offers rock climbing and a high-tech treasure hunt. In the Amazing Geo Race, teams pair off with GPS units in hand to uncover clues and race to the finish.

The canopy tour has 13 platforms, each about 50 feet above the ground. With rope bridges and rock walls to scale, the entire course can be completed in a about four hours. A half-course option offers fewer challenges in an hour and a half.

The safe adventure brings people up close with the rich natural habitat of the mountain. After riding a chair lift to the top of the mountain, adventurers enjoy a spectacular view and calm quiet at this elevation. After a short hike to the first platform, the tour includes repelling from one platform to another.

Canopy tours first became popular in the lush environment of islands like Costa Rica, where scientists monitored rain forest habitats by getting around in a similar manner. Now, they're popping up in Mexico and other vacation destination spots.

With 10 trained guides, visitors needn't worry about fitness levels detracting from the fun. "I'm 52 years old and not in shape," Buckman said. "And I got through the challenge and had a fantastic time. It gives you a real sense of accomplishment."

A former township supervisor and Montgomery County Commissioner, Buckman said, "I have more fun doing this [for a living]. It really gets your heart going." Gayle Buckman served 12 years as a Boyertown Area School Board member.

The outdoors enthusiasts made the switch from government to green earth 2000. Their daughter Jennifer, a Boyertown graduate, has joined the family business after pursuing a career in criminal justice and starting a family with her husband John.

Reservations are not necessary. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more people.

Rates for the canopy tour on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays (non-holiday) with two rock tower climbs are $46 per person for groups of up to nine people, and $32 per person for groups larger than 10. The rates are $10 higher on weekends and holidays. Ski season lift-ticket holders will receive an extra discount on canopy tour rates.

Spring Mountain Adventures is located at 757 Spring Mount Road, Schwenksville. For directions or more information visit www.springmountain-fun.com or call 888-305-5044.

Contact reporter Antoinette Colon

at 610-367-6041, ext. 255 or

alcolon@berksmontnews.com.

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