Haunting at the Ridge
Full Contact Option: No
Haunting at the Ridge is a unique twist on the traditional haunt structure, born from the capabilities of utilizing the existing structures of a seasonal business to make use of otherwise vacant months. Like farms, which use there amble space and forested area that would otherwise be unsuitable for crops and harvest, the Ridge employes its ski lift to give guests a ride up the mountain before traversing their way down through a haunted corridor.
Witch's Woods is also a ski resort that does some offseason festivities, but the equipment isn't really used there, rather just the grounds. Sailing up the mountain slowly, with the occasional lone skeleton passing you on the opposite side, is a nice change of pace. The neon lights mixed with the darkness of the mountain works well, and you get to see a preview of what you will encounter on your way down.
Since the entire attraction is outdoors, most of the haunt activities will take place in the treeline that separates the lift from the skiing lane. Some small building strutures will dot the path, but since this isn't an attraction that will span seasons, they are sparing and likely reconstructed each year. The path twists and winds in order to add some length to the travels and also ensure that it isn't overly steep. In each bend, there are cemeteries, witch covens, and other expected haunted locations. Actors jump out with the usual scares and loud noises, but there is no contact as expected.
One notable aspect of the ski lift, is that it delivers people in a regular and unbroken flow, so sending people back down the mountain also needs to be more or less consistent. Some of this backlog is mitigated by allowing for an overflow at the top, but sooner or later the crowd needs to get down. Guides along the way down also usher you to keep moving, there's a no-stopping rule in effect. It can be a balancing act, since often you do want to look at the decor. Since the jump scares don't really affect me, I like to take in the visuals as my enjoyment of the location. The cattle car effect isn't as evident, but still feels present even within small groups. You do, however, run into people all the same if they are walking steadily but a little too slow. Same goes for faster people behind you. There's no breakpoints as with places like Trail of Terror or Fright Kindgom that help act as a reset point; it's one solid trip down to the bottom.
Our experience was somewhat dampened by the group in front of us, which was no fault of the Ridge, but manifested in part by the setup of the groupings. I've commented before on how the teens and other youths tend to be apathetic and try to prove their bravery in the face of actors who can't touch you in any way, but it's so much worse when the adults chime in. The family ahead was rotten in all regards, but the father came off as excessively rude by yelling back at the haunts and trying to tease them back. Since they were also walking at a snails pace, there was no chance for the scares to reset, thus wasting the surprises on group that couldn't care less, and missing out on one that would.
Upon reaching the bottom, there is a fog tunnel with zero visibilty that leads to a midway. There's food, drink, and bonfires where you may stay as long as you wish. You can also buy a lesser ticket for about half the attraction ticket in order to get in here. That would likely work well for larger parties who want to hang out while a portion want to partake in the trail. There are VIP reserved booths too, with packages reaching into the $600 range.
Overall, it's something different. A bonfire on a ski resort is always a winning atmosphere, so bringing that into the spooky season is a win/win. We were attempting to drive to a nearby haunt right after, so there wasn't too much time to hang out and eat smores, but this appears to be a nice place to turn into an evening.
The glowing ski lift base is a nice intro, followed by the peaceful ride up. Having the set pieces nestled into the treeline helps integrate them within the natural environment.
I place the $20-$30 range as the median for haunts, and this jumps slightly above that. It isn't in the high end, usually justified when there are multiple attractions, but it does feel a little much for a ski lift and casual walk to the bottom. I suppose the midway would have some value added, but then you still have to buy food and deal with an ever increasing crowd.
The walk is relatively leisurely, and jump scares are occasional. If left alone, they would likely have more of an impact, but the spacing of groups tends to prevent proper isolation between ator resets.