For those who love to ski, the arrival of summer isn’t as exciting as it is for others. The warm weather signals that it’s time to hang up your gear for the season, or consider schlepping your equipment along as you chase the snow to the Southern Hemisphere. However, we’re here to tell you that you can find great skiing during the summer months right in the United States! Summer skiing is the sport’s best-kept secret. Slopes are firm for racing and carving in the morning, and become more forgiving as they soften under the sun throughout the day; perfect for practicing jumps and turns. Predictable conditions mean that you’ll find some of the best, most consistent skiing in the summer, made all the better by smaller crowds and non-existent chairlift queues. Hit up any of these summer skiing destinations in the U.S. to avoid getting rusty on your skis without giving up the summer sunshine and tan lines!
Travel to: The USA
8,540 feet up from the base of Mount Hood lies Palmer Snowfield. Part of Timberline Lodge and Ski Area, Palmer is only accessible from June to September – conditions in the winter are too volatile for skiing, but are perfect in the summer months. Timberline built the Palmer Express chairlift specifically to access Palmer Snowfield, and its addition gave the resort the longest ski season in North America. While Timberline’s slopes are open to the public, you might find yourself sharing the snowfield with summer camp groups and Olympic athletes alike – the U.S. national skiing, snowboarding, and freeskiing teams use the uppermost glacier as their official training grounds. If you’ve had your fill of the slopes, you can swap your skis for hiking boots and hike the Pacific Crest Trail, or trek through the surrounding Mount Hood National Forest to Mirror Lake. You might even catch Timberline Lodge’s resident St. Bernard dogs, Heidi and Bruno, on one of their daily walks! The area also has great bike trails, and you can get to a beautiful view from the top of Mount Hood by riding the Magic Mile chair lift.
Summer at Arapahoe Basin Ski and Snowboard Area is full of exciting activities – including skiing! With a prime location on the Continental Divide, it’s located at an altitude higher than all other Colorado ski resorts, meaning that it usually has the longest ski season in the state. Because most of its slopes are above timberline, the snow takes longer to melt here, so you can have lift-accessed skiing well into June. Stay until after it does, though, and you won’t be disappointed – scenic biking and hiking trails emerge from under the powder, as well as colourful wildflower fields. A-Basin also offers free summer concerts all summer and an 18-hole disc golf course. You can take the Black Mountain Express lift to catch panoramic views of the Continental Divide and explore the ski trails in the summer, or even participate in Yoga on the Mountain, which is a combined hiking, yoga, and lunch experience.
Located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, Mammoth Mountain is home to over 3,500 acres of skiable terrain located within Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. The resort gets a lot more snow than other mountains in California, attracting visitors from throughout the state with its long ski season. Depending on the year, snowy conditions have lingered through July until early August on Mammoth Mountain. The resort has no shortage of thrills and excitement, with new features being added each season. The high-alpine mountain bike park opens once the snow disappears, and its radical terrain and exhilarating geological and manmade features make it one of the best bike parks in the U.S. Alternatively, slow it down with a scenic hike around the nearby Mammoth Lakes basin, or play a game of golf high in the mountains.
It only makes sense that Alaska, the country’s northernmost state, offers great summer skiing, and at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, you’ll find a luxury ski location with no lines, crowds, or tracked-out slopes – only 1.2 million acres of terrain that’s skiable year-round. The remoteness of this luxury ski location means it’s only accessible by helicopter, making it a prime heliskiing destination. Here, you’ll find a mix of terrain, from open glacier skiing to thrilling spines and challenging couloirs, and lots and lots of corn snow – the most elusive snow to ski on, only formed by specific weather conditions, that makes everyone look like a pro. Tordrillo offers a unique Kings and Corn experience, where you can go summer heliskiing on perfect corn snow in the morning, then fish for Alaska King Salmon in the afternoon. Though pricey, a trip to Tordrillo will be one-of-a-kind, and worth the splurge for expert skiers seeking a special challenge.
If your dedication to skiing means you’re prepared to hike for it, then Mount Rainier is the place for you. Not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced, Mount Rainier is a popular training ground for mountaineers who are preparing for more challenging future expeditions. Its varying terrain offers a variety of challenges for mountaineers and skiers alike – the Muir Snowfield offers exciting backcountry skiing between 7,000 and 10,000 feet up Mount Rainier. The hike up will test your stamina, but it’ll be worth it for the smooth off-piste rides and spectacular views of the surrounding Cascades. As the highest peak in the Pacific Northwest, the view of Mount Rainier is a staple in the Seattle skyline, so amazing views from the other side await.
You won’t find any snow on the modest peak of Liberty Mountain in Virginia during the summer months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ski there. The only place of its kind in the U.S., Liberty University’s new Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre promises skiable slopes year-round by using Snowflex technology to achieve super-realistic grip and slip conditions on high-tech synthetic slopes. Winter sport aficionados of all levels can spend their day skiing, boarding, or tubing down runs that are as close to the real thing as you can get without spending a fortune on a cross-country flight. The centre even features a two-storey lodge as the mountain’s centerpiece, giving it an atmosphere of an alpine lodge without any chance of being snowed in – just remember to pack your sunscreen!