Hot? Head for the Slopes
July 28, 2011 | Permalink
Ski slopes in summer? Yep. Top skiing sites are spots of spectacular year-round beauty, much of it inaccessible or unnoticed when everything’s covered in snow and ice. Ski areas also have increasingly made the most of their locations to develop year-round recreation opportunities, and, of course, their mountain locations mean the days are comfortable and evenings are beautifully cool.
Enchantment in Western New York
As most New Englanders know, the Holiday Valley-Enchanted Mountains area has fantastic skiing and winter sports. It’s also a great cool-off destination in the summer. Holiday Valley is just an hour from Buffalo in Ellicottville, where average summer temps in the 70s make wandering through the laid back village a relaxation delight. The eight-acre Nannen Arboretum, with its flowers and Japanese Meditation Garden, will help complete your chill-out experience.
If you want more active adventures (now that you’re actually cool enough to enjoy them), head just 12 miles south to Allegany Park’s gorgeous hiking, biking and blading trails (home of the 3rd largest skate park in the U.S.). Newly opened midsummer 2011, The Sky High Adventure Park’s Aerial Park at Holiday Valley is part Ewok village and climbing course, with eight series of platforms connected by swaying bridges, coded to different skills levels.
Ellicottville holds several weekend events, too. True road warriors will want to be in town September 16th-18th for the Rock ‘n Roll Weekend, featuring classic old cars, as well as oldies performances in the town’s pubs and on the Main Street stage.
Rocky Mountain Cool
Within 1-2 hours of Denver, you can find several popular Rocky Mountain skiing spots—notably Vail and Breckenridge. Both of these spots offer a full range of outdoor activities during summer, including mountain-biking, hiking, rafting and kayaking, rollerblading and golf.Classic music enthusiasts can enjoy Vail’s many music festivals, including the August Soul Festival (19th-20th) and the Summer Jazz Series (June through Labor Day. Another top winter skiing spot, Breckenridge, is a historian and shopper’s delight, with specialty stores and historic Victorian buildings lining Main Street. And both towns include gourmet restaurants, day spas and other pampering spots for a bit of indulgence.
Other nearby ski parks that offer great summer activities include Copper Mountain (check out the climbing wall, bungee jump and bumper and paddle boats) and Beaver Creek (great golfing, rafting, fly fishing and more).
Sierra Summer Scene
You might not think of Nevada as a get-out-of-the-heat location, but Reno (summer high 80s-low 90s) is within an hour or less of a number of Sierra ski parks, many of which (e.g., Northstar, Heavenly Valley, Diamond Peak) are open for summer hiking, biking, boating and horseback riding. The Truckee River is also nearby and great for fishing and kayaking, and the entire river basin is beautiful for walking, picnicking and hiking. Lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful spots in the country, is only a 30-minute drive with all its outdoor—and evening—activities.
Cool and Affordable
Of course, popular ski resorts—even in the off-season—can be very pricey. To make these mountain getaways affordable, be sure to check out the Extended Stay Hotels within easy reach. The roomy suites make a great “home base” for daytrips up into the cool green hills without having to schlep along all your belongings. Because they are located in major cities, the hotels also give you more dining options than you’ll find in most of the charming but small ski-towns. Additionally, with a fully-equipped kitchen, you’ll always have the option of staying at the hotel, relaxing on the sofa, eating in and reliving the day’s highlights.
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