It's prime time to book your next luxurious vacation
There is a familiar story you hear from the locals in every ski town you visit: "I came to work for the winter, stayed for the summer, then I stayed for the winter, repeat, and here I am 10 years later."
The draw of the mountains and legendary powder turns hook you, then they thaw and transform the landscape into limitless summer splendor. Trails turn from black diamond carving to mountain-bike byways. It's no wonder resort operators are investing in summer programming and capital improvements.
Here are 10 summer experiences in winter towns that’ll keep you coming back for more, on the off-season.
Utah: Deer Valley
Cant' Miss: Mountain Bike Deer Valley As close to skiing as you can get in warm weather. This adrenaline-pumping adventure is the product of Deer Valley’s years of commitment to mountain biking. Having joined forces with Whistler-based terrain experts, Gravity Logic, 3,000 vertical feet across six mountains have transformed 70 miles of the country’s most pristine ski facility into biking nirvana. For experts, take on the Tsunami, an expert-level flow trail with large 10-foot berms, jumps and 25-foot table tops that will leave your heart racing. Better yet, become an expert with the guides from White Pine Touring who can set up guided day trips to explore beyond Deer Valley into Park City’s 450 mile trail system.
When: Through September 4, 2017
Where to Stay: Stein Ericksen Lodge
Price: $45 for a all-day lift ticket/ $400 season pass
What was new in the 16/17 ski season: $7.5mm in improvements to infrastructure, snowmaking and updating the resort’s entire Cadillac vehicle fleet.
Park City: White Pine Touring
Can't Miss: The premiere summer mountain experience specializing in guided mountain biking, yura camping, and rock climbing, all in the heart of Park City. White Pine Touring offers lessons in any outdoor activity you desire including hiking and road biking, using only top-of-the line equipment. Whether you are a local or a visitor, an expert or a beginner, you can explore the scenic 450 miles of trails and the neighboring Uinta Mountains at Park City Mountain Resort.
Where to Stay: Park City Lodging
Prices: Starting at- Rock Climbing: $325, Road Biking Tour: $150, Hiking: $100, Mountain Biking Tour: $150.
Banff: Via Ferrata
Can't Miss: Four spectacular routes through the cliffs above Mt Norquay that make for an exhilarating assisted climb. Beginners can opt for the 2.5 intro climbing experience, and adventuring experts can choose to take on the 4, 5, or 6 hour-long routes that will take you on a breathtaking excursion as you cross over suspension bridges and climb ladders. Experience jaw-dropping views of Banff that can only be found at the Via Ferrata.
When: Mid‐June through early October
Where to Stay: Fairmount Banff Springs
Price: Starting at $149
Canada: Lake Louise Ski Resort, Alberta
Can’t Miss: Grizzly Bear Watching from the Lake Louise Gondola For one of the best chances to see Grizzly bears in their native environment (from the safety of the Grizzly Express chairlift), Lake Louise Ski Area is the place. Dine at the new and improved mid-mountain Whitehorn Bistro with epic views of the Bow Valley.
Where to Stay: The Post Hotel
Price: Gondola ride: $34.95
What was new in the 16/17 ski season:: Skier favorite, the Kokanee Kabin was bing transformed into an outdoor apres ski smokehouse serving BBQ and beers on one of the best outdoor decks in the west.
Colorado: Aspen/ Snowmass
When: August 2–6
WEDNESDAY, August 2 -- WineCrush Presented by Sotheby's and hosted by Amy and John Phelan 6 PM I Cocktails 7 PM I Dinner
THURSDAY, August 3 -- PreviewCrush - Baldwin Gallery, Aspen Public cocktail reception previewing ArtCrush Live Auction lots 6-8 PM I Live & Silent Auction Preview, Champagne, Cocktails, Light Fare
FRIDAY, August 4 -- ArtCrush - Buttermilk Mountain, Aspen 6 PM I Cocktails, Silent Auction of Contemporary Art and Wine, Wine Tasting 8 PM I Seated Dinner, Presentation of the Aspen Award for Art, Live Auction
AfterPartyCrush - Belly Up Aspen Dance party featuring a sponsored bar and special guest DJ Eve Salvail 10 PM- 2 AM I Music and Open Bar
Price: Tickets start at $1,875
Can't Miss: Aspen Art Museum ArtCrush In it’s 13th year ArtCrush is Aspen Art Museum’s annual three-day Summer fundraiser. This year contemporary artist Lawrence Weiner, whose conceptual work has defined the boundaries of sculpture, is the recipient of the 2017 Aspen Award for Art.
What was new in the 16/17 ski season: Over the last five years Aspen Ski Company has invested more than $70 million in capital improvements. New for the 16/17 season, visitors enjoyed a remodel of the famed Gwyn’s restaurant at Snowmass, Aspen Mountain hosted the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in March of this year, and launched a new kids ski free program. Lastly, The Little Nell welcomed back professional big mountain skier Chris Davenport for the 2nd annual “Click-in with Chris Ski Camp” designed to improve the performance of even the best skier, accommodations and gourmet meals included.
Can't Miss: Glamping at Collective Retreats The #CabinPorn trend of last year may still be alive and well, but be on the lookout for #TentPorn as Collective Retreats has starting to up the glamping game. Close enough to the luxurious environs of Vail and Beaver Creek, yet sufficiently off the grid on the working 4 Eagle Ranch, a feast for the senses awaits overlooking the Vail Valley. Awaken to a fresh, chef-prepared breakfast and at night, feast on farm-to-table dinners. Ride horseback and on ATVs through 1,000 acres of pristine landscape. Hike, raft, and zip-line through the Central Rockies. Each luxury tent features a king size bed with 1,500 thread-count sheets, wood burning stove, private bathroom with running water, and deck complete with Adirondack chairs.
Price: Starting at $500- 700/ night
What was new in the 16/17 ski season: A long overdue improvement for anyone who has ever skied the legendary back bowls: the notoriously slow Sun Up Lift #17 triple chair was finally replaced and renamed the Sun Up Express, a high-speed four-passenger lift that dramatically cut transport time from eight to four minutes and increased capacity by 65%.
Telluride Film Festival
Can’t Miss: Telluride Film Festival The “Oscar darling” buzz machine that helped launched acclaimed films like Juno, Brokeback Mountain, Slumdog Millionaire to stardom enters its 44th year. Attendees place blind faith in the festival organizers as the films on display are a closely guarded secret until the last minute. Telluride has gained an esteemed reputation for never letting down its attendees.
When: September 1-4, 2017
Where to Stay: The Madeline Telluride
Price: Individual film tickets: $25 each / festival passes start at $390
What was new in the 16/17 ski season: 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the Mountain Village Gondola which completely transformed the landscape of Telluride.
Chile Portillo // Valle Nevado
Can’t Miss: Actually Summer Ski in South America - Just can’t wait until December in the Northern Hemisphere? Hop the next flight to Santiago and head to the wintery peaks of the central Andes, where your summer winter wonderland awaits.
In just the last few days, two feet of fresh powder has hit the region. Ski Portillo (where many of the world’s olympic ski teams train) is ideal for powder hounds who just want to focus on skiing. The iconic yellow structure is an all-inclusive throwback with every amenity at your fingertips. Valle Nevado, slightly closer to Santiago, is ideal for those who want to ski, but also access explore the emerging cultural and culinary metropolis.
When: May 27- September 24, 2017
Price: Starting at $964/pp for three nights, meals included (Portillo) / Lift tickets from $49 (Valle Nevado)
New Mexico: Taos
Can't Miss: Look around at the expansive, sky-piercing mountains on a scenic chair ride through the clear, blue summer skies with picturesque views of Wheeler Peak, Kachina Peak and colorful wildflowers. Let the sparkling moonlight shine on you 10,000 feet up high on the summer full moon hike to Williams Lake that is indigenous to Taos.
When: Full Moon Hike: August 7 & Sept 6, Chair Rides: June 23 through September 4
Where to Stay: The Blake
Price: Chairlift starting at $18, Full moon hike- no charge!!
British Columbia, Canada: Whistler
Can't Miss: Guinness World Record breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola (world's longest unsupported span for a lift and highest lift of its kind) gives a 360° views of British Columbia's volcanos, rainforests, and glaciers. Spanning the distance between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, it is an unparalleled 4.4-kilometre journey beyond your imagination. Blooming wildflowers juxtaposed against two mountains, custom (and free!) guided tours to anywhere you desire, over 50 km of hiking trails that lead to incredible vistas- all only 2 hours north of the Vancouver International Airport.
When: May- October
Where to Stay: Whistler Four Seasons
Price: Day ticket: $53.95, Peak 2 Peak 360 season pass: $79.95,
Canadian Mountain Holidays: Heli-hiking
Can’t Miss: Heli-hiking Interior British Columbia The 50-plus-yea-old Banff-based operator is one of the best in the business, with 11 lodges throughout interior British Columbia, two of which are open for the ultimate in summer backcountry luxury. CMH Bugaboos and CMH Bobbie Burns (both located two hours west of Banff, flying into Calgary) are helicopter accessible only, meaning you are truly off the grid. Legends with winter powder skiing adventures to suit every taste and ability, CMH in the summer is a far different experience, offering three- or six- day heli-hiking trips on guided excursions through scenery few ever get to explore. New at the Bugaboos is the recently completed Crystal Trail Via Ferrata and zip line. From the safety of a helmet and harness, guests scale a towering quartz wall, experiencing mountain climbing like the experts.
When: two- or- three day trips available through September 2nd
Price: Three day- trips start at $3150 CAD. Six day- lodge-to- lodge: $6,215 CAD.
Montana: Big Sky
Can’t Miss: Golf ‘The Reserve’ at Moonlight Basin A 18-hole, par-72 Jack Nicklaus- designed “Signature” course could possibly be the Pebble Beach of the Rockies. The massive ~8,000 yard course is as much a nature preserve as it is golfer’s paradise. Carved and crafted into the countryside the elevation can vary up to 1000 feet from tee box to pin averaging out at 7,500 feet above sea level. Although it opened in 2015, it remains one of the best kept secrets in golf, catering only to a few dozen members and guests each day. Some days more elk might traffic the fairways than players. This is truly an unparalleled experience.
Where to Stay: The Silvertip Cabins
Price: $25 cart fee for members / $235 greens fees for non-members staying in Moonlight Basin
Can’t Miss: See Elvis Costello & the Imposters in Beaver Creek The “Hike to the Mic” is Beaver Creek’s signature Summer event. Concertgoers bike, hike, and gondola the Overlook trail to an elevation of 10,000 feet where this season caps off with the one and only Elvis Costello against a backdrop of the Gore Range.
Where to stay: Park Hyatt
Price: $65 // $300 for VIP
What was new in the 16/17 ski season: The White Glove Winter Vacation proved to be one of the ski industry's most luxurious holiday package. Valued at $50,000, it includes first class airfare to Vail Eagle Airport, a private helicopter to the base of Beaver Creek Mountain, a chauffeured car to the Trappers Cabin, a private chef, ski instructor, four Epic Passes, a new wardrobe from Helly Hansen, and (of course) first tracks every day of your stay. Book at BeaverCreek.com/WhiteGlove.
Can’t Miss: The Solar Eclipse in Sun Valley August 21 is a huge day at ski resorts. At 11:29am the “path of totality” will pass over Ketchum, Idaho and the Sun Valley ski area. The “best seats in the house” for the “Great American Eclipse” has been the talk of the area for months and the tiny resort town is almost at capacity. Pro tip: while lift tickets might be running out, the Bald Mountain Trail is a free hike for those who choose to brave the five mile hike.. A full weekend of activities has been planned from yoga on Bald Mountain, to a performance by Huey Lewis and the News. While the actual eclipse might only last two minutes, the experience is bound to last a lifetime. Additionally, if a cosmic event isn’t “your thing” the American Ballet Theater and one of its leads, Isabella Boylston, a Ketchum local, will be in town performing August 22nd and 24th.
Where to Stay: The Limelight
What was new in the 16/17 ski season: The first new hotel in "many, many" years, The Limelight (of Aspen provenance) opened its 99 rooms in the heart of downtown Ketchum last winter.
Wyoming: Jackson Hole
Can’t Miss: Unplug on the banks of the Snake River Enjoy 800 unspoiled acres along the banks of the Snake River, adjacent to Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming. Every reason for you and your family to leave your phones behind has been accounted for from six miles of private fly-fishing access, world-class equestrian center, a Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, archery and sporting clays.
Where to stay: Snake River Sporting Club
Price: Starting at $225/night
What was new in the 16/17 ski season: The new Sweetwater Gondola opened in mid-December offering a third base-accessible lift (between Bridger Gondola and the Teewinot Quad).