Friday, August 01, 2008

Summer Travel: Ski Resorts

Even if you’ve never been a skier, consider a summer trip to a downhill ski resort. Many ski areas have a wide variety of summer activities – hiking, mountain biking, alpine slides, dining and restaurants, shopping, scenic chairlift rides, guided mushroom hikes or photography courses, mini golf, climbing walls, and a host of other activities. Many resorts are also world-renowned for music festivals, theatre, or wine-and-food events.

Ski resorts are scattered across every mountain range of the U.S., and offer a wonderful escape from the heat and noise of summer in the lowlands and cities. State-by-state lists of ski areas (all may not offer summer activities) can be found at HowToTravelAmerica, GoSki, SkiResortGuide, and SkiResorts.)

Most resorts that do have summer operations close shortly after the Labor Day Weekend, so they can begin preparing the slopes for next winter. But since most ski resorts are on National Forest or other public land, they offer opportunities for hiking or picnicking in the beautiful fall days of September and October, until the snow flies. (A few ski areas may be entirely on private land, and may therefore close the entire area until ski season.)

The majority of resorts offering summer activities are in the west (California especially), the Rocky Mountains (especially Colorado and Utah), and New England (a lot of the Vermont resorts), but there are many more. There are an estimated 600 ski resorts (to our knowledge in at least 38 states), so you should find something near you.