Popular as snowy escapes during the winter, ski resorts in the summer months offer plenty of exhilarating action on the slopes. Trade out your skis and snowshoes for mountain bikes and hiking boots. Scenic tram and chairlift rides are must-dos, and each resort offers something different. Here are our picks of Northwest ski resorts where you can find a wide range of fun when the snow melts.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort BRITISH COLUMBIA
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort outside Golden, B.C., is a must for the daring. Located in the Canadian Rockies between six national parks, this setting for adventure is stunning and has plenty to offer.
Tour the largest enclosed and protected grizzly bear habitat in the world. Open daily during summers, the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge interpretive center and tours allow you observe and learn about Boo, the resident grizzly.
At an elevation of 3,700 feet, mountain bikers can take advantage of Canada’s longest bike park, which comprises more than 30 trails. If you like to hike, choose from one of the mountain’s trails or take a side trip to nearby Yoho National Park or Glacier National Park, both situated along the Trans-Canada Highway.
The biggest thrill at Kicking Horse might be the via ferrata, which is Italian for “iron road.” It is a fixed climbing route fitted with steel cables, ladders and bridges, and climbers are clipped on, allowing anyone to experience a beautiful side of the mountain that would otherwise be reserved for experienced climbers and mountain goats. A highlight of the route is “Hanging Glory,” a 197-foot-long suspension bridge stretched between two ridges.
If this sounds too daunting, take the gondola up to 7,700 feet and view the mountain range from the comfort of a seat. Once at the top, you can hike along a ridge or two and grab a bite at the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, the highest restaurant in Canada.
Learn more at kickinghorseresort.com.
It wouldn’t be Alaska if there wasn’t dog sledding, even in the summer. At Alyeska Resort, about an hour outside Anchorage, dog sled tours run through the summer. Sled with Alaskan huskies guided by an Iditarod musher and enjoy the opportunity to drive the dog team yourself. Depending on the tour, soak up the sights of sun and snow from the off-road vehicle or helicopter transfers.
Because Alaska’s wilderness is so expansive, consider spending the day getting to know it from up high in a helicopter. Flightseeing tours of nearby glaciers—one includes a glacier landing—at Prince William Sound or Denali are ideal with a summer day’s clear skies and calm weather.
Back on solid ground, several hiking trails leave from Alyeska Resort’s courtyard. The 2.5-mile North Face Trail leads hikers 2,000 feet up to the top of the mountain. It’s a difficult one, but the views are remarkable. Plus, you don’t have to walk back; the scenic tram ride back down is free. Nonetheless, an easier option is the flatter Winner Creek Trail which inds through a beautiful boreal forest.
To learn more about summer at Alyeska, visit alyeskaresort.com.
Mt. Bachelor OREGON
For an opportunity to learn a bit about the sights and life surrounding Central Oregon’s mountains, visit Mt. Bachelor, located about 30 minutes west of Bend. Twice daily, U.S. Forest Service rangers lead their popular 30-minute interpretive talk at the top, touching on the region’s geology, ecology and cultural history. After a talk, check out the nearby disc golf course.
To beat the heat, head down the mountain and hit the water with a part- or all-day excursion with Sun Country Tours (suncountrytours.com). Take it easy and drift along on a tube, balance on a stand-up paddleboard or gather some friends for a day of white-water rafting.
Walk among the wildflowers on the mountain or hike to the 9,065-foot summit if you wish. Starting from Pine Marten Lodge, you’ll only climb around 1,300 feet to the top for panoramic views. Before you go, reserve your table for one of the signature summer sunset dinners at the lodge.
For more information on summer at Mt. Bachelor, visit mtbachelor.com.
Brundage Mountain IDAHO
Located in Central Idaho less than 10 miles from McCall, Brundage Mountain delivers a classic summer ski resort experience. The resort has a popular 9-hole disc golf course named the “Easy Street 9” for a relaxing afternoon of open holes with just a few more difficult ones through trees and foliage.
The Brundage Mountain Bike Park includes a unique uphill 4.7-mile loop for added challenge. New last year, you can rent electric bikes from the resort for an exciting boost in speed.
The resort’s chairlift, called the Bluebird Express, allows you to see southeast to Payette Lake and northwest to the Seven Devils Wilderness. After alighting, start an afternoon hike and make your way down on foot or bike or hang out at the top and catch the Bluebird Express for another relaxing ride.
To learn more visit brundage.com.
Sun Peaks BRITISH COLUMBIA
Rolling green hills, horses and manicured fairways will greet you at Sun Peaks Resort in B.C., 45 minutes north of Kamloops. A spirited destination, Sun Peaks takes summer celebration to a new height with concerts, festivals and events almost every weekend.
Ride the lift to the start of the Sun Peaks Bike Park, which includes 40 downhill and cross-country trails. There is also an extensive cross-country biking network on Mt. Morrisey. Pack a picnic for a leisurely stroll across a grassy ridge dotted with alpine trees and clusters of colorful wildflowers. Pick a more difficult trail of the 16 available and climb to a summit. If you want to rest your feet, explore the resort on horseback instead.
Don’t miss the chance to tee off at the highest golf course in British Columbia. The par-72 Graham Cooke course sits at around 3,600 feet with the tee boxes of its best-known hole at 4,353 feet in elevation.
Go to sunpeaksresort.com to plan your trip.