Surprised? Don’t be! Ski resorts are located in some of the world’s most beautiful natural settings, are built to accommodate visitors, and have just as much to offer during summer travel as when the snow falls. While everyone else is booking beach resort and theme park summer stays, ski resorts sit relatively empty, ready for families, adventure travelers, and outdoors enthusiasts. Below, read four reasons to book a ski resort vacation this summer, with best summer ski resort picks included!
1. Excellent Location
Obviously, ski resorts are located in mountainous settings, but often, they lie adjacent to national parks and other popular summer recreational areas as well, making them ideal base camps for hiking and touring. During the summer months, when national park accommodations sell out, nearby ski resorts often sit half-empty, ready for families and individual travelers to spread out in spacious condos or ski cabins. Kids can play in the forests right outside the front door, or families can book river rafting trips, fishing expeditions, and bike riding, most of which can be arranged by the ski resort. Many resorts now provide ski resort summer activities staff who can help you plan your summer ski resort vacation. Spend a day or two in the national park, then exit to spend your evenings in relative quiet. If you’re planning a backpacking trip, the extra space at a ski resort can be invaluable for packing and sorting supplies, preparing backpacking food, and doing laundry.
Favorite ski resort near a national park: Big Sky, Montana, adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.
2. Low Rates
Off-season equates to lower lodging rates, pure and simple. Though not the secret that it once was, summer ski resort stays are still very affordable, with room and condo rates an average of 30% lower than in the winter season. Most resorts try to entice travelers with package deals on top of this, bundling activities and meals with overnights.
Favorite ski resort offering great package deals: Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont, which bundles accommodations in their village with kids’ camp and child care tuition, swimming pool passes, and activities.
3. Peaceful Solitude
During the summer months, visitors can literally walk through ski resort villages in the morning (bustling with people just months before) and not encounter another soul. For the ultimate in solitude, plan a fall visit to your favorite resort: there’s a good chance you’ll encounter only deer and rabbits. The only downside: some shops and restaurants are seasonal — and summer is not their season of choice. Visitors may be restricted to a handful of dining and shopping options. Luckily, it’s easy to bring groceries to ski resort condos and cabins and cook food in-house.
Favorite ski resort for “get away from it all” quiet: Keystone Resort, Colorado. While Keystone offers plenty of summer activities, its location far removed from a major city makes it naturally quieter.
4. Outdoor Activities
In an effort to draw summer visitors, ski resorts have (wisely) capitalized on all their ready-made terrain and outdoor spaces have to offer. Our favorites offer downhill mountain biking, hiking, zip lines, swimming in both pools and lakes, river rafting, and horseback riding. Summer visitors can easily play outside from morning to night and not run out of things to do. And if you encounter a rare rainy day, most resorts are ready with movie theaters, museums, and shopping.
Favorite ski resort for tons to do in the summer months: Northstar-at-Tahoe, California, which sets visitors up with an entire “base camp” of activity choices daily.
And if you can’t commit to an entire summer ski resort vacation, keep them in mind for road trip pit stops. Man resorts are perfect for day trips. We love Bousquet Mountain in Massachusetts for their award-winning frisbee golf course and high ropes course, and Squaw Valley, CA for its ariel tram to its summit swimming pool.
Have you vacationed at a ski resort in summer? What resort is tops in your book for summertime activities?
photo credit: Vancour