North America’s Best Summer Skiing
While the Northern Hemisphere is basking in the summer sun, winter is just setting in across the prime skiing destinations of New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Chile, luring snow sports enthusiasts with the promise of fresh powder. In Europe, many glaciers offer year-round skiing while summer takes hold of life in the valleys. However, intercontinental travel isn’t the only option for skiing between May and September.
In the US, some West Coast destinations enjoy good snowfall even late in the season. This year, California’s Mammoth Mountain plans on remaining open until August. This full-blown, family friendly resort is served by 28 lifts, with slopes suitable for every level and a wealth of varied lodging options.
In Washington, the Cascade Range offers early summer ski-touring adventures on volcanic slopes. Expert thrill-seekers will be satisfied with steep, challenging lines, while Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens (both active volcanoes!) offer milder descends.
As summer temperatures reach their peak, snow disappears from most North American skiing destinations, but there are a handful that operate year-round and well worth a visit.
Located in Oregon and reaching 8,540 feet above the sea level, Mt. Hood’s Timberline Ski Area is the only US resort open 365 days a year. It boasts 41 trail runs, half of which are intermediate, and a total skiable area of 1,415 acres. The mountain also offers many other outdoor activities - it’s even home to a small section of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Further north, and only 75 miles from Vancouver, lies what is by far the biggest ski resort of the continent: the famed Whistler Blackcomb. However, in the heat of summer, only the small Horstman Glacier is open for skiers and it’s recommended to check the visitor center for weather updates. Slushy snow, warm sun and great après-ski are all part of the experience.
Up until July, adventure-thirsty skiers with a little extra cash to spend can book guided heli-skiing tours in the Chugach Mountains of southern Alaska. This vast range offers virgin pow turns for any ability, and on rest days your very own helicopter can take you wild salmon fishing. The experience comes with a hefty price tag of more than eight thousand dollars, so if you’re feeling adventurous, sticking to climbing on skins is a more affordable and environmentally-minded option.
No money can buy snow if there’s none left. That’s why the snowsports community and industry firmly stand together in an ongoing effort to stop climate change. Initiatives such as POW (Protect Our Winters) aim to draw attention to the shrinking snowpack and changing weather patterns. You can join the movement by donating here, or do your bit by reducing your carbon footprint. It makes missing out on heli-skiing a little bit sweeter!