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I Didn't Choose the Seg Life, the Seg Life Chose Me.

My first summer here, the Adventure Park was in its second season, and many of us guides would float between attractions, while maintaining a "specialty" in one particular area. I would spend a day monitoring in the Aerial Treetop Adventure, I'd head over often to work on the Zip Line, but primarily, I led guided off-road Segway tours. --And it was the best.

After teaching folks the basics of Segway operation, I'd practice riding techniques with them (see riding tips below) and give pointers on how to maneuver their machine on the types of terrain we'd encounter. Then we'd set out on the trails. Teaching people how to ride a Segway was a lot like teaching a ski lesson.

Learning to ride a Segway is like taming a wild horse-- if you make sudden movements and use too much force or go off balance, you could get bucked off pretty quickly. Horses are sensitive animals, and by the same token, Segways are sensitive machines. A little face appears on the screen of the "key" that usually bears a Mona Lisa type smirk, but sometimes appears stressed when you ride downhill, pick up speed too quickly, etc. I named him Stanley, and would introduce him to each group as "our sensitive friend" explaining that as long as we paid attention to him and maintained balance and a certain "bodily awareness," we'd be good to go.

If you're strictly an alpine skier or rider, or just not familiar with the Nordic trails on the other side of the resort, the Segway tour is an eye opening experience. There are over 50 kilometers of Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, fatbiking and hiking trails here at Gunstock, and though the Segway tours only cover a small amount of that ground, people can see all these intersecting trails and paths through the forest to places they've never been before on the mountain. It fed my need to explore this place I thought I knew so well, but it turns out I only knew the tip of the iceberg. Through tour guiding, I learned a lot of historical facts about Gunstock I hadn't previously known, and it was a pretty awesome thing to pass that information on to more people who were interested in how the mountain came to be what it is today.

There's something to be said for the ability to disappear into the woods for a bit as well. Even with a group, it was relaxing and centering to ride through the woods on a Segway. It was a cathartic cross between taking a long drive and going for a hike. Riding a Segway feels kind of similar to skiing in a way, using similar muscles, so riding around on multiple trails would sometimes leave me with the kind of satisfaction I would only otherwise feel after taking runs in the winter. I would always come back from a tour feeling refreshed, and the guests seemed to feel that as well, complete with a new skill set, a new woodsy perspective on a familiar place, and knowledge about Gunstock and its origins.

I no longer guide Segway tours here at the mountain, but during the summer, I'll look out my office window to see tours go by across the pond and think, "Man, I need to get out there soon."  

~ Jen

TOP SEGWAY RIDING TIPS FROM A PRO:

  1.  Don't White Knuckle! The handles are beefy rubber, like a mountain bike, BUT, you can hold on very lightly and have the same amount of control. 
  2. Master The Duck Butt! When stopping on your Segway or riding downhill, remain upright, extend your arms, and stick out your butt like a duck would. If practicing this move and still getting used to it, a little side-to-side duck butt shake helps.
  3. Stand On Your Tip-Toes When Riding Uphill! Riding uphill can feel a little funny since you're leaning forward, but standing on your tip toes makes it feel a bit easier.

*Segway Tours will be available daily through Labor Day, and on weekends through Columbus Day. 

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