Summer on the slopes
Ski resorts as summer destinations? While it may seem counter-intuitive, many mountain resort towns attract off-season visitors with unique cultural and outdoor experiences.
With ski slopes blanketed not with snow, but with wildflowers and daffodils, tourists are drawn to the spectacular scenery, diverse ecosystems and exciting opportunities for recreation.
Here are just a few mountain towns across North America that are celebrating summer with vigour:
“You come to Whistler for the winters, but you stay for the summers,” according to local legend.
About a two hour drive north of Vancouver, Whistler offers passionate mountain lovers an array of summer activities including horseback riding, guided fishing tours, mountain bike and jet boat adventures, golf, river rafting, and hiking. Summer glacier skiing is also available at Whistler Blackcomb.
Sun Peaks Mountain Resort, located in the BC interior, offers a range of family adventures including bungee trampoline, canoe expeditions, hiking tours, fly-fishing, and horse trails. Massage and spa services are also available.
And along with the gorgeous weather and breathtaking views, the Alpine Blossom Season brings with it the Summer Village Concert Series and Music in the Mountains with the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra.
Photo shoots and photography clinics are also available.
The grande dame of Laurentian Mountain resorts, Gray Rocks is a sprawling playground along the shore of Lac Ouimet. It boasts its own marina, a tennis centre, riding stables, two golf courses, as well as a modest ski hill.
Ninety minutes north of Montreal, Gray Rocks has enjoyed a guest list of VIPs as diverse as Bob Dylan and Al Capone.
Gray Rocks offers all-inclusive packages including meals and a range of activities such as tennis, golf, lakeside barbecues, ballroom dancing lessons, spa services and horseback riding.
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Summer fun in Aspen includes a food-wine festival or Jazz Aspen Snowmass as well as whitewater rafting, horseback riding, camping and climbing.
In the nearby Vail Valley, visitors can top off a day fishing and hiking with a concert or dance performance under the stars. The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater seats 1,260 in fixed seating with room for an additional 1,240 on the surrounding hillside.
The resort town of Telluride, located about 320 kilometres southwest of Denver, hosts weekend festivals throughout the summer, from jazz and bluegrass to culinary arts, wine and films.
About 15,000 people hike to the summit of Pike’s Peak each year. Visitors can also traverse the mountain by car or rail with designated viewing spots for local wildlife such as black bears, mountain lions, bald eagles and elk.
In Lake Placid, winter activities are made summer-friendly with bobsledding on wheels and a biathlon on foot and bike. An indoor skating rink allows tourists to skate on a warm summer evening.
Greek Peak, located about 48 kilometres south of Syracuse, offers an indoor water park, hotel and conference centre.