When The Snow Melts, Ski Resorts Are Just Getting Warmed Up
Seasoned athletes and novices alike stay plenty active at resorts off season--it's adventure made easy, without the long lines of winter
Festival: As part of the Wasatch Wildflower Festival, guides run free wildflower walks from the top of Snowbird (July 29 to August 1, 801/947-8263, wasatchwildflowerfestival.org, $5 tram ride to where the walk starts). Off-Mountain Adventure: A half hour away, Solitude resort has an 18-hole Frisbee golf course where they'll let you play free rounds if you're willing to hike it (801/534-1400, skisolitude.com). Only Here: Grab a six-pack of locally brewed Polygamy Porter. The beer's slogan is "Why Have Just One!" Lodging: Snowbird's Mountain Escape package includes a room at The Inn, breakfast, and a scenic tram trip or a ride down the Alpine Slide luge (800/232-9542, $59 per person per night based on doubles). Info: Snowbird.com.
Great Hike: Two miles east of Telluride, the Bridal Veil Falls trail ends at a 365-foot waterfall. En route, the 1,200-foot climb traverses territory that is home to bighorn sheep and marmots. Pick up the Telluride Hiking Guide at Between the Covers (224 W. Colorado Ave., 970/369-0967, $14). Festival: Local frustration at a glut of scheduled merrymaking prompted the Nothing Festival (July 21 to 25, telluridenothingfestival.com). Tie One On: Regulars know the Last Dollar Saloon as the Buck (100 E. Colorado Ave., 970/728-4800). Lodging: The Mountain Lodge at Telluride has three rustic log-and-stone buildings furnished in leather, granite, and earth tones (457 Mountain Village Blvd., 866/368-6867, from $99). Info: Tellurideskiresort.com.
Whistler, British Columbia
Great Hike: An ambitious day hike, the seven-mile path to Singing Pass climbs 3,281 feet. The reward is a gorgeous view of two mountain ranges and a glacier. Only Here: A mass of ice over 270 feet thick guarantees snow on Whistler's Blackcomb glacier even in July. The resort is open for skiing nine months out of the year--November through July--so odds are good that mountain bikers, skiers, and sightseers will share a gondola (day pass $20). Lodging: The Summer Peak Adventure package includes four nights' accommodations in the village and one daylong lift pass per guest for the Peak Chair, which goes directly to the summit (800/944-7853, $170 per person). Info: Whistlerblackcomb.com.
Squaw Valley, California
Off-Mountain Adventure: : Spend the day tubing the Truckee River. Pick up a tube for $15 at a gas station, or shoot the rapids with Truckee River Rafting (888/584-7238, truckeeriverrafting.com, $32). After Sunset: In July and August, PG movies screen for free in the outdoor village plaza on Thursdays at dusk. Only Here: A cable car drops you at a heated pool and a skating rink at High Camp, just below the summit (cable car $19, pool $5, rink $3). Lodging: Two-bedroom condos in The Village at Squaw start at $179 (877/297-2140, thevillageatsquaw.com). Info: Squaw.com.
Great Hike: A two-and-a-half-hour hike in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area leads to spectacular American Lake. Festival: The Aspen Music Festival hosts concerts in various indoor halls and the permanent 2,050 seat Benedict Music Tent. Even non-- ticket holders can enjoy the music from the lawn beyond the tent. There are also musicians busking all day long (June 22 to August 21, 970/925-9042, aspenmusicfestival.com). After Sunset: The Snowmass Village Rodeo is Wednesday and Saturday nights June 22 to August 27 (Rodeo Grounds, Brush Creek Rd., 970/ 923-8898, $16). Tie One On: Little Annie's has the cheapest drinks in town (517 E. Hyman Ave., 970/925-1098). If you overdo it, Aspen offers a year-round Tipsy Taxi service, which gives drinkers a free ride home. Ask your bartender. Lodging: Two condo complexes downtown--Chateau Chaumont and Chateau Dumont--have packages that include a two-bedroom condo, free airport transfers, and complimentary Aspen Club & Spa privileges (877/636-4626, from $53 per person based on groups of four). Info: Aspensnowmass.com.