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Truly Budget Travel for Summer: Ski Resorts

What can you do at ski resort destinations when there's no snow? How about hike, bike, swim, soar, plunge, and dine. Oh yeah, and save money.

While skiing is the main attraction in winter, during summer, visitors get to choose from a wide variety of activities. Hiking and mountain biking are cursory, and, depending on the destination, you can also swim on a mountaintop, dig for dinosaur bones, take a thrill ride at top speed down the mountain, or join a celebration.

I've rounded up some examples, but I didn't have to look hard to find them: Nearly all ski resorts open in summer offer similar reasons to visit.

Get Adventurous

Ski destinations offer dozens of ways to challenge yourself while enjoying the great outdoors. Soar above the mountains in a glider near Stowe, Vermont; take a ride on the world's steepest zipline at Olympic Park in Park City, Utah; or tackle any of the 70 miles of dirt single-track mountain biking trails in Mammoth Mountain in California.

Take in the View

During the summer, ski resorts often keep a gondola in operation. The ride offers great views, and there are often reasons to stick around at the top as well. For instance, at Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe, California, the gondola delivers you to High Camp, where you can ice skate, swim, or dine with a view. In Vail, Colorado, you can take the gondola to "Adventure Ridge," where you can take a guided nature hike, dig for dinosaur bones, or play bocce ball.

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Celebrate

From free outdoor movie nights to full-on festivals, many ski resorts line up events throughout summer. Breckenridge, Colorado, has a wealth of festivals this summer, including a celebration of the town's 150th anniversary on August 8 and a jazz and wine fest from August 14 to 16. Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia is hosting events such as a Dragon Boat Festival on July 4 and 5, and the Kokanee Crankworx, a weeklong freeride mountain biking festival.

Save money

Here are a few of the many deals out there this summer:

  • Sunday River in Maine has summer packages such as $49 per person, per night for breakfast, accommodations, and a lift ticket and trail pass to the mountain bike park.
  • Copper Mountain, Colorado has a package that includes lodging and activities for $69 per person per night.
  • Squaw Valley in California has packages including a Family Fun in the Sun deal from $98 per person per night that includes lodgings, gondola tickets, swim passes, and additional activities
  • The Innsbruck Inn's Golf Getaway Package in Stowe, Vermont starts at $189 per person for two nights' accommodations, breakfast and afternoon tea, a day of greens fees at the Stowe Country Club, and motorized cart rental. Stowe lists more lodging specials as well.
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