Summer Fun At Western Ski Resorts - My Family Travels

Utah, Colorado and Lake Tahoe are known for winter and skiing, but these family-friendly resorts offer economical — and usually cool — summer vacations that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Since the late 80’s, most ski resorts have invested in their summer offerings, knowing that year-round guests can only help their traffic and revenues. What began as resorts opening their mountains in the summer for hiking – perhaps with one chairlift operating on limited hours – has evolved into a summer ski resort culture offering a dozen or more summer-only activities.

Cheap Mountainside Housing in Summer

Summer is the time to get great deals on resort accommodations as well. The summer season – generally defined is the months of June through September (this may vary at different resorts) – offers deeply discounted lodging rates from the winter ski season. Popular slopeside accommodations at Park City, for example, cost about 35% during the summer season of what they would during a non-holiday winter week. What’s more, quality lodging can be had at ski resorts on short notice in the summer. A quick search for an upcoming summer weekend yielded many suitable results. Many of the same accommodations are already fully booked for many winter weekends.

Below are three resorts from different states along with the summer offerings and rate discounts. These resorts are generally representative of what you’ll find at most major North American resorts.

Park City, Utah in Summer

Less than an hour from Salt Lake City, Park City is one of seven ski resorts in the immediate area and a great combination of village and mountain. Summer offerings in Park City include a zipline, where you hang (securely) from a cable and let gravity take you for a thrilling ride down the mountain. For those who prefer to sit rather than hang, an alpine slide and alpine coaster can give you a summertime bobsled feel for a fast ride down.

Park City operates two of their chairlifts throughout the summer, offering rides up the mountain and providing access to hikes or simply a scenic ride back down. In addition to the lifts, ziplines, and slides, a wide array of hiking and mountain biking can be found in the immediate area.

Park City’s lodging is deeply discounted in the summer, up to 60% off. The same goes for many other Salt Lake area resorts, many of whom also offer similar amenities. Note that the southern Utah ski resorts don't have to discount so much because they are close the very popular Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks.

Breckenridge, Colorado in Summer

By driving a couple hours west of Denver, you’ll find many great ski resorts including Copper, Winter Park, Beaver Creek, and Vail. Breckenridge is another excellent choice, offering outdoor adventures along with excellent dining and spa services in the village area. The Breckenridge area offers scenic lift rides, hiking, mountain biking, and a climbing wall, in addition to other activities such as gem stone panning. Given its great location close to several rivers, Breckenridge makes the most of them by providing both fishing and whitewater rafting to summer visitors.

Lodging at Breckenridge is deeply discounted in the summer, with a random sample of August versus February lodging running at a 60% discount.

Northstar-At-Tahoe, California in Summer

Northstar-At-Tahoe, long considered a "best" family ski resort during winter months, does it up well in the summer with an array of activities for the entire family. Golf, hiking, mountain biking, tennis, and fly-fishing are just a few of the activities you’ll find at Northstar if you visit while the weather is warmer.

On the unique list of things to do at Northstar, geocaching is a popular summertime activity. Geocaching is basically a high-tech treasure hunt, using a GPS unit on Northstar’s many hiking trails to find treasures. Northstar also offers a continuous lineup of summer events, such as the once-per-month Wine Walk. Each Wine Walk features a different California winery of high quality, such as Stags Leap.

Lodging at Northstar-At-Tahoe, which jas just been bought by Vail Resorts, will cost about half during the summer of what it would during the winter, which includes a “3rd night free” deal on many accommodations.

These are just a few options at ski resorts in the summer. As the local saying goes in many mountain towns, people “come for the winter but they stay for the summer.” Don’t be afraid to check out your favorite ski destination during the summer months – you’re bound to be pleasantly surprised with its offerings and affordability.


Contributed by the editorial staff at is a one-stop resource for resort reviews, online community, and family skiing tips for skiing families.

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