By Sara Blumberg
Roundtop Mountain Resort
925 Roundtop Road
Lewisberry, PA 17339
For many, Ski Roundtop in Lewisberry, Pa., offers more then skiing. During the spring and summer months, it offers a more challenging and creative way to have fun. For the last three years, the resort has been offering the creative sport of Zorbing (also known as OGO Balls).
Zorbing is the act of getting into a hamster-shaped ball and then going down a hill. It’s not only a great way to get some exercise, but it’s also the perfect day trip for anyone looking to get out of the city for a day. And you still have a few weeks left to hit the slopes in your bathing suit and actually roll down the mountain intentionally!
This guide will provide thrill-seekers a way to prepare for their first “zorb” experience when visiting Ski Roundtop.
What Is Zorbing?
The production of the massive plastic balls or “orbs” took shape in Russia in the 1970s. While the sport was considered dangerous, it didn’t gain mainstream success until 1994 when two businessmen from New Zealand retooled the plastic ball, calling it the “zorb.” From there, Zorb Limited was started. The franchise focused on rolling the zorbs down a hill. After the franchise became big in Europe, another New Zealand company, Outdoor Gravity Inc. brought the activity to the USA. Ski Roundtop is the closest location from Baltimore that runs the sport.
In 2001, the Oxford English dictionary officially added zorbing to its vocabulary list, defining it as “a sport in which a participant is secured inside an inner capsule in a large, transparent ball which is then rolled along the ground or down hills.”
How It Works
Adult and children ages six and up can go zorbing in two different ways: harnessed of unharnessed.
At Roundtop, unharnessed zorbs are filled with water and people can sit in the water as they go down the hill. Once the Zorb is filled with water, up to four people can get zippered into an unharnessed ball, as long as the weight limit does not exceed 550 pounds. Then Ski Roundtop employees will open the gate and give you a push down the hill. Since water is added to the ball, it will prevent a person from flipping upside down.
In harnessed zorbs, only one person, not weighing more then 275 pounds can go at a time. This ball is dry so you won’t get wet. You will, however, flip head over feet while going down the hill.
Zorbing has gotten so popular at Ski Roundtop, in 2011, they opened up a second path to keep up with demand.
Cost And When To Go
Ski Roundtop offers Zorbs or OGO balls during the spring and summer months. The total cost for the activity is $39 under the resort’s “Adventure Package” which means you can zorb as many times as you want as long as the park is open. It also includes the resorts other activities like ziplining, bumper boats and scenic canopy tours. Information on those activities can be found on Ski Roundtop’s website.
In order to zorb properly, here is some information that will help you when you visit:
- make sure to bring a change of clothes and a swimsuit
- Reservations for the Adventure Package are not needed.
- Bring flip flops. You are required to wear shoes when getting on the lift that takes you to the top of the zorbing hill.
- Be prepared to take off your shoes when getting into the zorb. An employee will ensure you get them back.
- If going on a weekend, go early, there are only two zorb lanes and the line can get long after noon.
- Call ahead to see if the harnessed ball will be in use for the day. Sometimes massive winds prevent Roundtop from operating it.
- Spectators can enter the grounds for free, Roundtop calls this the “Grandparent’s Deal.”
And click here for some other wacky activities you wouldn’t think to do around the Baltimore area!
Sara Blumberg is a fulltime writer and blogger living in Baltimore City.