Travelers visit many locations in the winter for pristine mountain ranges, fresh white powder, and impeccable chalet rentals right at the foot of the slopes. And why wouldn't they? These destinations have spent years crafting their winter offerings so they can become a "go to" location for anyone needing R&R among the snowflakes. With that said, its not like these top destinations then close up shop the other nine months of the year. There is still plenty happening, especially during the warmer seasons, that any prospective traveler shouldn't miss. So we've picked out the top winter destinations to visit in summertime and listed some helpful tidbits about why each makes such an appealing destination when things heat up.
BUNDLE UP: Are you an adrenaline junkie who loves the snow? If so, Mammoth, California may be the place for you. With 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, 3,100 foot vertical rise and 400 inches of average yearly snowfall, this mountain really does live up to its ginormous name! Don’t forget about snowmobiling, tubing and cross country skiing.
FEEL THE HEAT: Mammoth may be known for its winter activities, but be sure to mark your calendar for July 31 through August 3. “Blues and Brews” weekend is four days of fun in the sun! Started 19 years ago in a parking lot of Whiskey Creek complete with a local garage band, ribs on the grill and ten breweries, the event is now known as one of the best beer and blues festivals in the United States. While keeping your taste buds happy by sipping a beer that has been brewed at 8,000 feet (the highest elevation of any brewery on the West Coast), keep your ears happy with musical notes from Buddy Guy, the Taj Mahal Trio and many more top jazz performers. If beer isn’t your thing, spend some time outdoors by camping along the Alpine Lake, viewing wildlife and waterfalls in the National Forests or geocaching “aka” treasure hunting in historical points of interest.
BUNDLE UP: Are you an avid skier? Bozeman is ranked by Skiing Magazine as one of the top ten ski towns in the West! Be sure to check out Bridger Bowl Ski Area for desolate terrain or Big Sky Ski and Summer Resort complete with one of the largest vertical drops in North America. Skiing not your forte? Take a snow coach tour of Yellowstone National Park, ride along on a dog sled or strap on some snowshoes for a winter hike with views of backcountry canyons.
FEEL THE HEAT: For the outdoor lovers, be sure to sign up for a zip line tour or hop on a chair lift for breath taking views of the surrounding mountains. Looking to cool down? Take a whitewater rafting tour on the Yellowstone, Madison or Gallatin River. A tour guide is optional for those who are unfamiliar with whitewater rafting and is a great way to learn more about the area. For those who prefer to shop until they drop, plan a trip between July 18 and July 20 to participate in the Downtown Crazy Days Summer Sidewalk Sale. Located downtown, you will find over 100 merchants providing unbelievable sales on spring and summer merchandise. The best part? The event is free for all!
BUNDLE UP: For those searching for a laid back trip, especially during the holiday season, look no further than Sandpoint! 6,400 foot Schweitzer Mountain provides 2,400 vertical feet access to 2,900 acres of terrain attracting skiiers and snowboarders alike. Selkirk Lodge, located at the tippity top of Scheweitzer, contains a small community of restaurants, shops and housing. Have you ever wanted to try ice fishing? The lakes combined with the long chilly winters present a large opportunity for travelers to catch an array of fish (think rainbow fish, lake trout and Chinook)
FEEL THE HEAT: Whether you want to kick back and relax or get down and dirty, Sandpoint has a lot to offer during the summer months. Get away from it all by taking a horseback ride along one of many trails around Trestle Creek, Gold Creek, Trout Creek and Rapid Lightening Creek. Stick around for the International Draft Horse Show full of competition and nostalgia which has been around for thirty three years. Take a drive by the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge which offers over 300 different species of wildlife or circle around the spectacular Selkirk Mountains on the 280 mile International Selkirk Loop. Prefer to get your heart pumping? Hit up Tubb’s Hill for some cliff jumping or take a scuba dive in the fifth deepest lake in the country at 1,158 feet, Lake Pend Oreille. Don’t miss The Festival, Sandpoint’s summer concert series for all ages through August 7 and August 17. Pack a basket or munch on the snacks on Festival Street for this town’s 32nd annual event underneath the stars on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. Keep an eye out for the Early Bird Season Passes!
BUNDLE UP: Also known as one of the three ski areas in the U.S. that does not allow snowboarding, Alta has a worldwide reputation for skiing; think cross country, cat and backcountry skiing. Ski solo, with friends or with a ranger; during this free tour, discuss topics such as local mining history, public lands and the watershed. If you are looking for a little competition, participate in recreational racing to enhance your skiing skills.
FEEL THE HEAT: Alta’s mountains are not just for skiing but for summertime camping as well. Located below Devil’s castle in Alta’s Ski Area, the campground is surrounded by Wasatch’s famous wildflowers and mountains. Hop on a hiking trail through the Cottonwood Canyon or biking trail alongside the alpine lakes and Albion Basin. If the Albion Basin doesn’t give you enough thrill by bike, try Germania for some steep trails. July 25 through July 27 marks the annual Wastach Wildflower Festival. The festival celebrates the beauty of the wildflowers while educating the public on how to protect the mountain’s natural resources. Participate in a free guided wildflower walk and enjoy food and good music!
BUNDLE UP: Do the San Juan Mountains ring a bell? These rugged mountains cover more than 12,000 square miles of southwestern Colorado and provide the perfect terrain for skiing and winter activities. This location sees an average snowfall of 250 inches which cover the half pipes, free style areas and Durango countryside for cross country skiing. Mix things up by hopping on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad: a Polar Express site-seeing trip!
FEEL THE HEAT: This wintry destination transforms into a go-to summer spot come June. Make note of Vallecito, “Lake of the Little Valley,” for rafting, horseback riding, hunting, hiking and backpacking. This is one of the biggest bodies of water in CO and contains a plethora of wildlife. Check out ancient cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park, the largest cliff dwellings remaining in North America. Calling all history buffs: Relive the wild, wild west! Kicking off on August 14 is the True West Railfest, complete with vintage rail equipment! The World Fast Draw Association provides shoot outs and competitions, American Indian dances and storytelling. Don’t miss out on the railroad excursions either! End the season with the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally on Labor Day weekend. At this event you will find motorcycle activities including beer gardens, the Durango Harley-Davidson demo fleet, Durango Bike Parade and classic car show!