There's an old adage that says people move to the mountains for the skiing, but ultimately decide to put down roots because of the allure of summers. Mountain summers certainly do offer an endless list of possibilities-as well as a cool respite from big-city summer heat. In this special Mountain Summer issue, we present the ultimate warm-weather guide to the mountains, with information-packed, insider reports on the Top 30 resorts for summer, beginning on page 43.
Each resort review is loaded with local tips and includes "Don't Miss" and "Best Deal" recommendations.
Then in our Summer Salvation package (page 60), we take you on a tour of the greatest scenic drives, the best bike routes, the finest mountain golf courses, the most intriguing alpine water playgrounds and the snowiest slopes where you can ski all summer long. Just because it's summer doesn't mean you have to hang up the skis and boards. In fact, these days, giving up your favorite sport each summer is more a matter of habit than necessity. This year, break a bad habit. Many North American ski resorts stay open into May and even June. And with exceptionally strong snowfall from coast to coast this season, the spring and early-summer conditions should be excellent. So leave the golf clubs in the garage until the greens dry out, and head to the hills for the best skiing of the year.
Besides offering reliable snow, sunny days and uncrowded slopes, late-closing resorts also give you the best deals of the year. How about paying just $59 to stay and ski at Alpine Meadows, Calif., Arapahoe Basin, Colo., or Killington, Vt.? Or only $145 for three nights and two days of skiing at Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C.? For these deals, more bargains, a rundown of mountain festivals, plus a spring travel primer, check out Savvy Traveler on page 37.
You can also slake your summer ski thirst on the snowfield at Mt. Hood in Oregon (page 88) or at the Horstman Glacier at Blackcomb (page 45). They are both essentially open all summer, and offer a glimpse into skiing's future: They're the testing grounds for the world's best equipment manufacturers and skiers.
Looking to add a cosmopolitan flare to your summer ski adventure? Head to another continent entirely. Executive Editor Greg Trinker traveled to South America in search of the elusive endless winter. Destination: Portillo, Chile, where big mountains beckon, condors soar and the good life is the goal (page 90). Or perhaps you've always wanted to go to Europe. France and Austria make it easy to add glacier skiing to the itinerary. In fact, throughout Europe, more than a dozen resorts offer thousands of acres of ski terrain and a variety of challenges (Page 92).
Don't look at summer as the end of a ski season, but rather as the start of a new one.
Ski Las Lenas, Argentina with Dave Swanwick and Kim Reichhelm. www.laslenasvacations.com/swany/swany_and_kim/