When The Snow Melts, Ski Resorts Are Just Getting Warmed Up

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Seasoned athletes and novices alike stay plenty active at resorts off season--it's adventure made easy, without the long lines of winter

Snowbird, Utah

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.

Telluride, Colorado

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.

Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado

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.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Great Hike: From the Jenny Lake parking lot in Grand Teton National Park, hike two miles around the lake toward Cascade Canyon. Beyond the lake, a brook bordering the trail hints at the splendor half a mile further--the 80-foot Hidden Falls (307/739-3399, nps.gov/grte, weeklong car pass $20). Off-Mountain Adventure: Jackson Hole Whitewater runs four-hour trips on the Snake River (800/700-7238, jhww.com, from $44). Tie One On: The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar uses saddles as bar stools (25 N. Cache St., Jackson, 307/733-2207). Only Here: Watch the Jackson Hole Shootout--a mock gunfight--from the roof of the Rancher bar every day but Sunday at 6:15 p.m. (20 E. Broadway, Jackson, 307/733-3886). Family Fun: Kids Ranch Summer Day Camp in Teton Village (at the base of the Jackson Hole resort) has hiking and arts and crafts (307/739-2691, from $75). Lodging: The Cowboy Up package includes three nights in a two-bedroom condo in Teton Village, an aerial tram ride, a horseback ride, and passes to the Jackson Hole Rodeo (from $159 per person). Or plan your adventures à la carte from a two-bedroom with kitchenette at Jackson Hole's Village Center Inn (from $185; for both properties, the contact is 800/443-8613). Info:Jacksonhole.com.

Vail, Colorado

Great Hike: Wander through aspen groves on the two-mile hike to Booth Creek Falls, a 60-foot waterfall. Pick up a map from Vail Information, upstairs at the Transportation Center in the village, where you can also catch the free bus to the trailhead (970/479-1394). Festival: Last year's Big Wheel 'n Chili party in Vail Village hosted a cook-off, beer festival, and Big Wheel race. This year's event, on June 25, may feature barnyard animals (970/477-0111). Off-Mountain Adventure: Mount Massive Golf Course in Leadville offers 18 holes for $29 (259 County Road 5, 719/486-2176). Family Fun: Camp Vail entertains kids 5 to 12 with hiking, drama, and even golf (970/479-2292, vailrec.com, $62). Lodging: The Choose Your Own Adventure package includes four nights' lodging at one of the many inns in and around Vail Village, car rental, round-trip airfare from Dallas, Chicago, or L.A., and an activity of your choice, such as rafting or horseback riding (877/750-8245, from $699 per person). Or the Holiday Inn has rooms from $89 (2211 N. Frontage Rd., 970/476-2739). Info:Vail.com.

Big Mountain, Montana

Great Hike: The Walk in the Treetops, along a 1,000-foot boardwalk up to 70 feet in the air, is much more about the view than the distance you'll cover (406/862-2900, half-day outing $48, includes a snack, water, and souvenir fanny pack). Festival: This year marks Whitefish's 100th anniversary. The town's party includes an art and music festival (August 12 to 14, 877/862-3548). Tie One On: For $8, the Dire Wolf Pub will fill a half-gallon jug with one of its beers on tap for you to take out--ask for a Growler (845 Wisconsin Ave., 406/862-4500). Lodging: At Hibernation House on Big Mountain, you can get a room with a queen-size bed, two bunks, hot-tub access, free laundry service, and free breakfast (800/858-4152, from $65). Info:Bigmtn.com.

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