Picture your favorite mountain town.
Chances are you pictured it covered in snow.
But when the snow melts, do you know what’s underneath? Probably not, because you’re too busy looking for parking at the beach like everyone else.
Ski resorts take on new lives in the summer. Warm, green and action-packed lives. Ask any local and chances are they’ll tell you the same thing: “It’s winter I came for, but summer is what made me stay.”
So this summer, trade salt air for mountain air and head to these five “ski” destinations.
For fly fishing: Sundance Mountain Resort
An artistic alpine community founded by Robert Redford. Also the birthplace of all things Sundance (institute, film festival). Sans snow, drop by the Sundance art studio for a painting class, then head to the resort’s mountain bike school for a clinic or guided ride. The real draw, however, is fly fishing on the nearby Provo River, a prolific Blue Ribbon stream known for its large German Brown Trout. Never cast? Sundance has classes and guides to show you how it’s done.
For summer’s best hike: Stowe Mountain Resort
In the winter, New Englanders and New Yorkers know Stowe as the best place to ski that doesn't involve getting on an airplane or crossing the border. Come summer, when everyone’s compasses are pointed east (Montauk again?), head north. Stowe’s got you covered when it comes to golf, but to really break a sweat, hike to the 4,393-foot summit of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly low elevation, though, this hike isn’t for the faint of heart — or quadriceps.
For wine, bikes and supercars: Sun Valley
Sun Valley, ID
A one time home to Hemingway, Sun Valley has a storied history as an all-seasons adventure playground. For quite moments in nature, there’s world renowned fly fishing, biking and hiking — and then there’s the Sun Valley Road Rally, a weekend of alpine car racing (July 22/23). On offer: 3.2 miles of mountain road to watch Bugattis, Ferraris, Porsches and more reach their top speeds. While in town, check out Sun Valley Wine Auction, a weekend of wine events that include vintner dinners held at some of Sun Valley’s most impressive private estates.
For cyclists: Vail Mountain Resort
Vail does winter so well you’d think they invented the season. But when the snow melts, it remains internationally renowned for its scenic beauty and outdoor adventures — not to mention high-end hotels and restaurants. Sure, there’s some of the country’s best hiking, mountain biking, golfing and fishing, but Vail’s also a cycler’s dream. Try the 8.7-mile stretch of Vail Pass, which you can bike up (it’s a 1,831-foot elevation gain) and then coast down after shuttling to the top. For a slightly farther afield adventure, spend a day whitewater rafting nearby rivers, like the Colorado, Eagle or Arkansas.
For skiing, biking and golf (all at once): Mammoth Mountain
Mammoth Lakes, CA
With the highest base elevation of any resort on this list (9,000 feet), Mammoth Mountain’s snow tends to stick around. In fact, Mammoth’s ski season usually lasts into June, longer than any other mountain in the lower 48. So to ease into summer, visit over Memorial Day weekend and take the Ski/Bike/Golf Challenge to do all three in one day. For full-fledged summer action, sample beers from more than 100 breweries and take in concerts from artists like Michael Franti and Allen Stone at the Mammoth Festival of Beer and Bluesapalooza (August 4-7). And don’t forget about the region’s world-class rock climbing.