My husband is from New England. He first arrived in Colorado, stayed through fall and winter and departed in the spring. Then, he came back for a weekend in July. While he might have previously felt a bit lukewarm about Colorado, after a warm, sunny weekend at Telluride he was hooked. He has lived mostly in Colorado since that time and always tells people, “Winter in Colorado is awesome, but summer is the best.”
I love summer in Colorado, too. Actually, summer anywhere in ski country is beautiful. From Tahoe, to Mt. Hood , to BC, across the Rocky Mountain States to New England, summer is when our mountains really shine, in a myriad of colors, glistening in the sun.
I have been to Vermont one time. It was a quick 4th of July trip to Warren, the home of Sugarbush Ski Resort and a lovely old village 10 miles from Mad River Glen. After a day of dancing in the streets, hiking in the rhododendron and jumping amongst the giant boulders in the river, I was ready to relocate to Vermont. Then I remembered the powder in my home state and decided to go home instead.
Perfect Weather, Blue Skies and Wildflowers
Summer in ski country means long warm (sometimes even hot) days and crisp (but not cold) nights. Summer means hiking and biking amongst the forest and crossing meadows full of flowers. Summer means basking in the sun on the banks of rivers and lakes, casting (but not catching) many fish (and not caring, either). Summer is three stolen months of green exuberance, followed by the browning of fall, and crowned by the glory of winter.
Endless Activities, Concerts and More
Summer in ski country also means fewer people in the towns and villages. Summer means festivals, great live music, town festivals, film and a plethora of recreational activities. Summer is when these towns go from a nearly one-dimensional focus on snowsports to multidimensional focus on the arts, recreation and relaxation, with something for everyone.
The northern ski season may be mostly over, but don’t forget your favorite ski town. If you live there, it is obvious you won’t. But if you are a commuter, check out the website for your resort, make plans to go for a day, or to camp for a weekend in a nearby National Forest. Buy tickets to a concert. Ride the gondola with your bike in tow, or better yet, ride your bike up the mountain and then ride down. Gain a new perspective on the runs you thought you knew so well. Hike the meadows. Bask in the sun. No matter where you ski, you can love ski country year-round.
When You Go….
We love camping, so I recommend planning a weekend (or more) of family time in a tent. I promise it will bring you all together! In the West, most ski resorts are on National Forest land and are close to campgrounds. For information on USFS and other campgrounds on public lands, recreation.gov is a great site. You can research campgrounds, including sites with cabins and yurts, and learn about nearby natural attractions and make reservations.
Interspersing some resort activities with hiking, biking and fishing is one way we’ve found to keep our boys happy and engaged on multi-day camping expeditions. Many ski areas run a lift or two during the summer months as access to biking and hiking trails. Many are also feature activities such as alpine slides, ziplines, and if you go to Snowbird, even panning for gold. Other resorts prefer to keep it natural, allowing you to go up and down under your own power, enjoying the solitude of the forest. Trails, attractions, special events, concerts and the like are too many to list here, so your best bet is to pick an area and research summer activities online.
Even if you’re not into camping, you might be into glamping. Most resorts have plenty of lodging in the summer, often at reduced prices. Book a luxury room, work up a sweat on the trails and glamp the days away. No, it’s not really glamorous camping — you’ll be sleeping indoors — but the beautiful mountain outdoors is never far away.
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