10 Ski Towns That Are Just as Spectacular in the Summer

There's nothing "off-season" about ski resorts in the summer.

ski towns to visit in the summer
Aspen Mountain

There is a familiar story you hear from the locals in every ski town you visit: "I came to work for the winter, stayed for the summer, then I stayed for the winter, repeat, and here I am 10 years later."

The draw of the mountains and legendary powder turns hook you, and then they thaw and transform the landscape to the ultimate summer playground. Trails turn from black diamond carving to mountain-bike byways, and lifts elevate hikers to new perspectives. With the infrastructure in place, the summer potential is as unlimited as the breathtaking views, and it's no wonder resort operators are investing heavily in summer programming and capital improvements.

Here are 10 winter wonderlands that keep us coming back for summer fun.

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1 Aspen, Colorado & Snowmass, Colorado
ski towns in summer: aspen mountain
Aspen Mountain

Signature summer activities: — Look forward to community astronomy night August 10, led by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies atop Aspen Mountain. — Mountain-top farm-to-table dinners every Tuesday (now through August 23) and an expanded mountain bike trail system.

Where to stay: (Aspen) //

What's new for the coming ski season: Over the past five years, Aspen Ski Company has invested more than $70 million in capital improvements. During the 2016-2017 season, visitors can expect a remodel of the famed Gwyn's restaurant at Snowmass. Aspen Mountain will also be hosting the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in March 2017. That same month, the Little Nell is welcoming back professional big mountain skier Chris Davenport for the second annual "Click-in with Chris Ski Camp," designed to improve the performance of even the best skier, with accommodations and gourmet meals included.

2 Beaver Creek, Colorado
ski towns in summer: beaver creek
Joel Bear

Signature summer activities: The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is offering a unique partnership with Swedish outfitter Fjallraven and providing guests with the opportunity to test a selection of the brand's legendary products with a "Backpack Concierge." Programming includes themed hikes in the Vail Valley (pictured above) for all ability levels, from a to morning outings and a "hike for wine" to the famous .

Where to stay:

What's new for coming ski season: The White Glove Winter Vacation promises to be the ski industry's most luxurious holiday package. Valued at $50,000, it includes first class airfare to Vail Eagle Airport, a private helicopter ride to the base of , a chauffeured car to the , a private chef, ski instructor, four , a new wardrobe from Helly Hansen and (of course) first tracks every day of your stay. Book at .

3 Banff, Alberta, Canada
ski towns in summer: canadian mountain holidays
Ryan Bavin

Signature summer activities: The 50-year-old is one of the best in the business with 11 lodges throughout the Canadian Rockies, two of which are open this summer for the ultimate in backcountry luxury. CMH Bugaboos and CMH Bobbie Burns (both located two hours west of Banff, flying into Calgary) are accessible only via helicopter, meaning guests are truly off the grid. Legendary for winter skiing adventures that suit every taste and ability, CMH in the summer is a far different experience. During this time of year, CMH offers three- or six-day heli-hiking trips, which are guided excursions through scenery few ever get to explore. New at the Bugaboos this summer is the recently completed Crystal Trail Via Ferrata climbing route and zip line. With the safety of a helmet and harness, guests scale a towering quartz wall and mountain-climb like the experts.

Where to stay:

What's new for coming ski season: Of all of the luxe CMH experiences, nothing beats the appeal of a private lodge and helicopter. This season, two new elite opportunities await those ambitious enough: , located in the Cariboos Mountain Range 100 miles west of Jasper National Park, features the company's largest range of skiing opportunities (it accommodates up to 10 guests for four- and seven-day trips); and offers guests their own private Bell 407 helicopter for scenic runs spanning the Purcell and Selkirk Mountain ranges located on the British Columbia/Alberta border.

4 Jackson Hole, Wyoming
ski towns in summer: jackson hole
Four Seasons Jackson Hole

Signature summer activities: The iconic Aerial Tram elevates trailblazers to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain for hiking and the famous waffles at Corbet's Cabin. Purchase the new Tram Tri-Pass for daytime and evening access to the Aerial Tram, Teewinot chairlift and Bridger Gondola and a season's worth of hiking, dining and sightseeing at the edge of Grand Teton National Park. The Four Seasons Jackson Hole also offers an in-house fly-fishing program that takes visitors on a private .

Where to stay:

What's new for coming ski season: The new Sweetwater Gondola will open in mid-December and offer a third base-accessible lift — between Bridger Gondola and the Teewinot Quad with access to the Solitude mid-station area that will feature a new ski school facility — and continue to the Casper Restaurant for a total of 1,276 vertical feet.

5 Vail, Colorado
ski towns in summer: vail
Vail

Signature summer activity: Vail's new unlocks the White River National Forest's ecosystem for adventure, exploration and education. Accessible from the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead, visitors are whisked to an altitude of higher than 10,000 feet with new high-alpine thrills, including a zip line tour, mountain coaster, climbing wall and rope courses. Additionally, the Arrabelle at Vail Square is offering private in-room liquor tastings from local Colorado breweries and distilleries, complete with a cocktail concierge to guide you through the process.

Where to stay:

What's new for coming ski season: A long-overdue improvement for anyone who has ever skied the legendary back bowls: The notoriously slow Sun Up Lift #17 triple chair will be replaced and renamed as Sun Up Express #9, a high-speed four-passenger lift that will dramatically cut transport time in half from eight to four minutes and increase capacity by 65%.

6 Sun Valley, Idaho
ski towns in summer: sun valley, idaho
Visit Sun Valley

Signature summer activities: The can't-miss figure skating at the Sun Valley Lodge kicked off with US Olympic gold medalist Johnny Weir (see the schedule ). Music is vital to the summer in Sun Valley, and the will feature Kristin Chenoweth in a fundraiser concert on August 7. Bald Mountain's lifts are also open for exceptional mountain biking on expanded trails.

Where to stay:

What's new for coming ski season: The first new hotel in "many, many" years, The (of Aspen provenance) opens its doors in the heart of downtown Ketchum. The 99-room hotel is now accepting reservations for February 2017 onward.

7 Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
ski towns in summer: lake louise ski resort, alberta
Brandon Perlman

Signature summer activities: For one of the best chances to see grizzly bears in their native environment (from the safety of the ), head to . Dine at the new mid-mountain Whitehorn Bistro with epic views of both the Lake and the Rockies. The adventurous might try experiencing old-world luxury at the (Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned here). Skoki is accessible only by hike and features Canada's highest-altitude kitchen. Finally, take out a canoe on Lake Louise at the iconic .

Where to stay:

What's new for coming ski season: The Kokanee Kabin (a skier favorite) is being transformed into an outdoor après ski smokehouse that will provide meats and cold beers in one of the best outdoor spaces in the West. Capital improvements to grooming and snowmaking operations will improve accessibility and conditions throughout the mountain, and a new interpretive snowshoe program will tour the natural history of the area by day and provide a stargazer's fantasy by night.

8 Telluride, Colorado
ski towns in summer: telluride
Kevin Younger

Signature summer activities: is home to two world-class summer festivals: the Bluegrass Festival, which was held in June, and the Telluride Film Festival, which runs from September 2-5 and is known by Hollywood insiders for being a first look at Academy Award contenders. The film festival draws countless celebrities and film executives to the small mountain town in advance of festival season.

Where to stay:

What's new for coming ski season: In advance of ski season, Neil Young just announced back-to-back concerts September 30 and October 1 to kick off the . On the ski front, it's the 20th anniversary of the Mountain Village Gondola, which completely transformed the landscape of Telluride. The occasion will be celebrated in December with events, giveaways and much more.

9 Park City, Utah
ski towns in summer: deer valley
Deer Valley Resort

Signature summer activities: The resort's three lifts offer impeccable access to an extensive, modernized mountain-biking and hiking trail network at an elevation of higher than 8,100 feet. Outdoor music under the stars at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater is in full swing with the Steve Miller Band headlining August 19. See the full schedule , and don't forget to order a gourmet picnic basket in advance.

Where to stay:

What's new for coming ski season: There will be $7.5 million in improvements made to infrastructure and snowmaking, and the resort's entire Cadillac vehicle fleet will be updated .

10 Whitefish, Montana
image
Whitefish Mountain Resort

Signature summer activities: There is something for everyone in , which is located near the western entrance to Montana's Glacier National Park on the shores of idyllic Whitefish Lake. With an A-to-Z offering of summer fun, there's everything from an alpine slide to zip-line tours. Try learning to downhill mountain bike for a $99 fee, which includes bike rental, lift ticket, helmet and body pads.

Where to stay:

What's new for coming ski season: Remodels of the Summit House kitchen and food court as well as other key infrastructure upgrades.

Brandon Perlman is the creator of .

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