Just because it’s summer does not mean all ski resorts close down for the season. Indeed, some of America’s best mountain resorts are brimmed with family-friendly activities and even more nightlife when the temperature rises and the snow disappears. But for those who simply can’t wait several months to head out to the slopes, there’s actually one very special destination that’s open for snow skiing even during the summer. Here are five of the best U.S. ski resorts worth visiting during the summer.
97 Lower Mall
Snowmass Village, CO 81615
Aspen Snowmass is just one of the world-class ski resorts in Colorado worth visiting during the summer. But Snowmass may stand out above the rest with its wealth of summer activities, including its Thursday Night Concerts, Saturday Classical Music and Bluegrass Sundays. Other fun things to do include mountain biking, gondola rides, hiking, paintball, disc golf and summer camp programs. Other local activities to enjoy are kayaking and rafting, golf and tennis, skateboarding, ballooning, a trip to Maroon Bells and Independence Pass at the Continental Divide and perhaps most importantly, the charming village of Aspen itself.
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Heavenly Mountain Resort
4080 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Located in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly offers a number of summer activities. One of the top attractions are the 2.4-mile gondola rides that transport visitors from Heavenly Village to the Observation Deck with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and its surroundings. An assortment of other activities can be enjoyed in summer such as zip lines, rope courses, outdoor climbing and hiking. Other outdoor activities can be enjoyed on Lake Tahoe, including lake cruises, fishing charters, jet skiing, water skiing and boating. One of the most popular lake destinations in America, Lake Tahoe also hosts its own summer concert series, as if you needed even more reasons to go!
Big Sky Resort
50 Big Sky Resort Road
Big Sky, MT 59716
This 5,800-acre ski resort in southwestern Montana claims to have the “Biggest Skiing in America.” While that distinction is up for considerable debate, especially from resorts in Colorado and Utah, Big Sky is also a recommended destination in the summer. In fact, there are more outdoor activities to enjoy when there’s warmer weather. Among the popular things to do are mountain biking, zip lines, archery, hiking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting and golf at the award-winning course designed by Arnold Palmer. One added bonus to visiting Big Sky is its proximity to the world’s oldest national park – Yellowstone – about an hour drive to the West Entrance.
Timberline Lodge And Ski Area
27500 E. Timberline Road
Timberline Lodge, OR 97028
Located on the south side of Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge is the only ski area in North America that’s open year round. In other words, skiing and snowboarding are just some of the great outdoor activities to enjoy during the summer months at this historic ski resort. Other popular activities include hiking, mountain biking, a ride on the Magic Mile Sky Ride and other winter sports like mountaineering and snowshoeing. Dedicated in 1937, Timberline Lodge is a National Historic Landmark and gained international notoriety by serving as the exterior of the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror film, “The Shining.”
Whiteface Lake Placid
5021 Route 86
Wilmington, NY 12997
One of the top ski resorts in the Northeast, Whiteface is best known as a prime venue for the 1980 Winter Olympics. But when the highest vertical east of the Rockies isn’t in use in summer, there are several things to do on the Olympic mountain and in nearby Lake Placid. Among the most popular activities is the US AIRBAG, which allows visitors to experience a 30-foot free fall into a huge air bag without the fear of a hard landing. Other great things to do at Whiteface include hiking along the Stag Brook Fall Trail within the breathtaking Adirondack Mountains, disc golf and a gondola ride on the Scenic Cloudsplitter. Home to the only Olympic Museum currently in operation, Lake Placid will host a number of events during the summer, such as the Saturday Night Summer Ice Show Series, Lake Placid Horse Shows, the Lake Placid Summer Skating Championships and Ironman Lake Placid. Other fun activities can be enjoyed right on Lake Placid, such as stand up paddleboarding, canoeing, waterskiing and boating.
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Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.