Ski resorts don’t just operate during the chilly months when the mountains are covered in snow, they encourage guests to come out in the summer to enjoy what some may argue to be an even better season than winter. Already being experts at creating numerous activities within one destination, these top ski towns around the United States and Canada become majestic elevated getaways featuring blossoming wildflowers, adventure parks, water activities, and reimagined excursions that used to be exclusively in the winter. No need to wait until late into the year to visit a ski destination, these places are perfect for the summer.
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Sun Valley, Idaho
Getting its name quite literally because of the multitude of sunny days, you may get as many rays here as at a sandy beach. Even those who aren’t typical golfers like to take on the scenic mountainous course at Sun Valley, offering a sweeping look into the pristine atmosphere come the warmer months. All your typical mountain activities are on hand, and Ketchum, just a skip away from the resort, is a quaint, walkable town with locally fueled stores and restaurants that will surprise you.
While neighbored by two other noteworthy resorts, Nordic Valley and Powder Mountain, which certainly offer their fair share of summer fun, we have to go with Snow Basin, because they offer some stellar foodie events when the snow melts. One being the John Paul Campout, which brings guests to the mountain top lodge via chair lift, where local food is brought in then cooked via Dutch oven for dinner. Tents are pitched on the hillside and people just soak in the official Dark Sky vibrant with stars and are greeted with another authentically prepared meal for breakfast.
While most flock to the coast for a traditional beach experience during the summer, Sugarloaf awaits, with rolling mountains offering hiking, mountain biking, disk golf, off-road Segway tours and relaxing lift rides. Being so far inland, guests get to bypass the busy roads that surround popular oceanfront destinations like Bar Harbor and Portland, but if you wanted to pop in for a day or two you could. Sugarloaf is an excellent secondary option when visiting Maine during this perfect time of year.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is an outdoor lover’s paradise that turns into a magical land when the snow melts—wildflowers bloom in valleys and on mountain hills in a variety of colors, wildlife begins to make more appearances and of course, it’s a more hospitable time to hike or hit the biking trails. Unique to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is not the enclosed aerial tram, but the look of the steep peaks and landscape for miles that passengers get a glimpse of on the way up. Top of the World Waffles, also known as Corbet’s Cabin awaits to serve brown sugar butter waffles once you get off, but they’re also open in the winter. Head back down in the tram, or take the more daring route and paraglide to the bottom.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Traverse to waterfalls, soak in a variety of mineral-rich hot springs, let loose at a music festival or just enjoy the local brewery scene—this popular Colorado ski destination lives on all year long. Tubing the Yampa River is the best way to see Steamboat Springs as it floats past parks, restaurants and other pretty nooks while the now green ski hills set in the background. Tubers can hop out of the river to explore whenever they’d like, or can just chill for the full three-hour float. Top it off with a Gondola ride or a peaceful day of shopping.
Mont Tremblant, Canada
Completely swoon-worthy, the Scandinavian style village of Mont Tremblant is always bustling with shoppers in love with the theme. Almost everything else around the ski resort shifts toward the pristine lake after the slopes melt, and there’s just about everything you can imagine like paddle boarding, boating, fishing, canoeing and so on. Even fun blow up playgrounds float in the waters, while parks with rope bridges and other extreme features are situated on land.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho
Standpoint, Idaho house Schweitzer Mountain, and if you think it’s fun to gaze upon the majestic lake while skiing, it’s even more fun to dive into Pend Oreille. If you traverse the trails, which range in difficulty, during July and August, you’ll likely be greeted with plentiful amounts of Huckleberries, a slightly tarter treat than a blueberry. These berries are a very “Idaho” thing to experience, and you’ll notice many businesses offer everything from milkshakes, sauces and pies filled with them. An abundance of outdoor activities await, like zip lining, horseback riding, lift rides—basically all the summer essentials.
Beech Mountain Ski Resort, North Carolina
North Carolina isn’t the first place to come to mind when thinking about ski resorts, but they do have some, which offer their own unique experiences. Close to the cozy town of Banner Elk is the family-friendly Beech Mountain. Staying in town and traveling up to the mountain during the day will prove to be the best way to keep things diverse on a trip to this lovely Carolina destination. Take the chairlift up the sky bar with panoramic views of the hills, while tossing back locally brewed beer. This a great summertime thing to do if you aren’t keen on the idea of skiing down the hills toasted after visiting this bar in the winter.
“Heaven on earth” is the best way to describe Vail—frosty tipped peaks mesh with the emerging green foliage, while vibrant yellow flowers sprinkle elegantly through the valleys. Of course, you’ll want just to hike a bit and soak it all in, but much much more awaits. Winter tubing hills convert for the summer so visitors still get the same thrills zooming down snowless hills, and the zip line views are crazy gorgeous. Like many ski resorts, you’ll find a gravity-driven mountain coaster and a super fast alpine slide, and the mountain biking is supreme. Swiss-inspired village walkways are adorable while offering ambient places to lodge, shop and chow down.
Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
Broken into two glorious mountains within the Rockies, Aspen Snowmass is brimming with adventure. Go camping, venture through forest zip lines, or master your fly fishing skills. Hot air balloon rides are something a little more scarce that the resort offers, in addition to paragliding. You won’t believe the new appreciation that can be found by viewing these summer landscapes from the sky. Stopping by Maroon Lake, an alpine body of water, to see the Maroon Bells should be on the list, as they aren’t the most photographed mountains in the US for no reason.