A summer mountain vacation may not be a top-of-mind choice for everyone, but ski resorts offer even more outdoor activities and experiences in the summer than in the winter, among them: taking in snow-capped mountain sunsets, hiking through aspen groves, horseback riding, outdoor concerts and festivals, and of course, mountain biking. Of recent, many ski resorts turned mountain bike resorts by summer opened up their trails, so we compiled a list of the best places to ride your bike, and enjoy a plethora of other activities.
Snowmass, which opened June 22, 2013, is one of the newer summer mountain bike resorts. It’s an ideal destination for families and bikers just picking up downhill riding, because you won’t find a ton of ultra-technical trails. The resort still enjoys smaller crowds in comparison to other bike parks. Snowmass has two advanced trails, Valhalla and Vapor. Valhalla features tons of buffed-out berns, a wall-ride, and mostly small to medium jumps. Vapor is more rugged, with more of a cross-country feel, but the views from atop the trail–of the famed Maroon Bells–are stunning. Families and intermediate bikers will enjoy Espresso and Easy Rider, which are fun, smoothed-out trails ideal for perfecting your turning and speed control skills. Beginners have a new “skills” park at the mid-way point off of Elk Camp Gondola, the area offers a course that teaches how to properly center your weight, turn and control your speed. Cross-country bikers can also access three trails, one of which, Government trail, runs into Buttermilk resort.
For non-bikers or those looking for apres-bike activities, Snowmass offers 18-hole disc golf, beach-style volleyball and a Thursday night outdoor concert series. The Westin Snowmass‘ offers an incredible, don’t-miss brunch, plus it’s new property, the Wildwood, hosts a public pool party, daily from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Crested Butte ushered the summer season in on June 15th, 2013 and welcomes it’s annual “Bike Week,” June 26-30, 2013. Bike Week is hailed as America’s oldest bike festival, and includes all sorts of bike races and events (from pro-class to pure fun), brews, compliments of Oskar Blues, parties and music. The rest of the summer, you’re sure to find plenty of bike-related activites going on, since Crested Butte is one of mountain biking’s birthplaces. This mountain bike resort is home of Evolution Park, and features seven downhill trails ranging from easy to expert, and another seven cross-country and all-mountain trails.
After a hot day on the trail, the Grand Lodge pool is the place to go to cool off, with a beer, of course. The whole family will love the Adventure Park, which features a climbing wall, trampoline bungees and mini golf.
Famed for it’s technical downhill park, Trestle, and it’s convenient locale–a mere 45-minutes from Denver, you can expect to see a myriad of pro-downhillers here. While, beginners and intermediates will surely want to stick to Winter Park‘s more mellow offerings, the mountain bike resort is a great place for watching world-class competitions, including the Red Bull Final Descent (featuring 100 teams racing over 12 hours) on September 7, 2013, the Winter Park proprietary Gravity Series, June 22-September 2, 2013, and the Colorado Freeride Festival July 25-28, 2013.
Famed as an advanced downhill mountain biking mecca, Keystone‘s Drop Zone, which features rock gardens, drops and high-speed features is considered one of the best in the U.S. But its not only a great place to catch world-class bike competitions, it also has 100-miles of cross-country biking. The resort’s trails intermingle with the Colorado Trail. Keystone is home to host of family-friendly summer mountain activities, including dinner wagon rides to its historical Soda Creek homestead, golf and horseback riding.
The Whistler downhill biking is world-famous, as it should be with trails that offer dedicated bikers a 5,000-foot descent. Its resident trial design company, Gravity Logic, has received international acclaim as the best in the business. Whistler is known as a serious mountain biking destination, but its knowledgeable designers have created plenty of trails for all levels of bikers. As expected, Whistler hosts a ton of biking events every summer, among them: weekly Wednesdays competitions series and Crankworx Freeride Mountain Bike Festival, August 9-18, 2013.
*Note: Ski.com suggests that all downhill bikers wear all the appropriate protective gear (full-face helmet, knee/elbow guards, back/neck/chest protection).