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New Life Spa

Hiking Vermont's Hills

When the spa craze started in the United States it was all about working out and pampering. Recently a new dimension has been added and several spas are focusing on hiking. The concept was pioneered by Jimmy Le Sage who runs the New Life Spa in Killington, Vermont and who helps a maximum of 25 guests at each session to learn how to live healthier and more energetic lives and to lose weight. Unlike fitness facilities that emphasize indoor activities and treatments, New Life’s primary exercise activity is a daily five- to seven-mile hike, which begins after breakfast each morning at 8:45 and ends at noon immediately before lunch. The hikes are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced groups so that participants may choose the one that is most appropriate for their abilities and levels of fitness. I found that all three hikes were excellent exercise and more invigorating than indoor classes or using the equipment. The Vermont mountains and forests are quiet and beautiful. Spending a few hours each day walking among the trees is the perfect way to achieve mental relaxation for someone seeking to get away from a hectic life even for a short period.

Water Aerobics, New Life Spa

The New Life Spa, which is celebrating its 20th year, is open from May 7, 1998 until October 25 and is located at The Inn of the Six Mountains, a ski lodge that is otherwise almost vacant in the spring and summer months. The lodge is charming and rustic and the rooms are spacious and comfortable; many have pretty views of the surrounding foliage. New Life maintains its own kitchen within the inn. Meals are prepared by the spa's chef according to the low-fat, but delicious recipes found in LeSage's "New Life Guide to Healthy Eating" cookbook. LeSage, a walking advertisement for a fit way of life, is a former chef who incorporated spa cuisine into his menus. All participants are given a copy of his book so that they can continue to eat in a nutritious way after they return home. I tried some of the recipes and while I am not as skilled a cook as the chef at New Life, I found that for the most part the recipes were easy to follow and came out well.

In addition to hiking several hours each morning, New Life offers a variety of afternoon and evening activities. A workout class in the swimming pool uses aerobic exercises and the resistance of the water to tone and condition muscles. There are also regular aerobic and body conditioning classes held both indoors and outdoors. In yoga you are taught relaxation, breathing and postural alignment methods. The program offers two massages.

A different activity is scheduled for each evening following dinner. Among those which took place when I was there were classes in self-massage and reflexology and in healthy cooking, which included a demonstration of how to prepare low-fat chocolate sauce using maple syrup.

New Life Fitness Vacations, PO Box 395, Killington, Vermont 05751. Tel. 800-228-4676. The classic New Life stay runs from Sunday afternoon through Friday lunch (6 days/5 nights) and is $999 single occupancy and $899 double occupancy. The long weekend sampler (4 day/3 night) is $599 single occupancy and $540 double occupancy. Fifteen percent service charge and nine percent Vermont taxes are added. Length of stay and check in day can vary. www.newlifehikingspa.com

--Bruce Fancher

Spring 1998