The annual leaf-peeping season in Colorado's high country is upon us, as the weather this summer is expected to produce an especially vibrant autumn display.
Aspens turn when nights get longer and the arc of the sun descends closer to the horizon. The prime foliage viewing time in the Rockies is forecast to begin September in the northernmost elevations, and extend well into October as you move southward. Here's are some suggestions for autumn color tours:
Start at Steamboat Resort, Colorado's most northerly ski and snowboard mountain. The lifts are closed now, but aspen groves cover much of the mountain that looms over town. Take a 4x4 ride up the aspen-lined dirt road toward Buffalo Pass and Summit Lake. Hikers get bonus viewing by climbing into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness just north of Steamboat Springs.
Pair Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek together for top-end foliage, especially since both run their gondolas late in the season. Either one gets you up to 10,000 feet and opens up a full vista of yellowing "quakies" in the Vail Valley. Or, drive U.S. 24 between Vail and Beaver Creek to legacy mining town Minturn where the Eagle River rocks the colors.
A fall foliage tour wouldn't be complete without a stop at eponymous Aspen. Splashes of fall yellow dot the Roaring Fork Valley, and a visit to the legendary ski town should include a ride up Maroon Creek to the take the perquisite photo of the aspen-splashed Maroon Bells at the top of the road.
Head to southwest Colorado for a San Juan Range foliage extravaganza. Head over color-drenched Dallas Divide to Telluride, where aspen groves quilt the steep sides of its much-photographed box canyon. Bright canvases of yellows and reds pop out on both side. Hop the free gondola between the town and the resort village for a sky view of the aspen groves. Or take a Jeep tour to go deeper into the forest.
Take the uber-scenic San Juan Skyway to Ouray and over Red Mountain, Molas and Coal Bank passes to Purgatory. All along the way, dense stands of aspens spill down onto the road. At Purgatory, the chairlifts runs into October, rising through aspen groves to a 10,000-foot-high perch. Fall colors paint much of the 270-degree view of the southwestern flank of the San Juan Mountains.
We are entering the final period for discounts on multi-resort passes in the West, so let's take a look at what's new for the five nationwide players in the multiple mountain game.
The roster for the two-days-at-each Indy Pass continued to grow domestically this summer, with an eye for close-by pairings. The latest to join up are California's Mountain High -- creating a pairing with nearby Snow Valley above L.A. -- and Dodge Ridge in the Central Sierra, close to Indy partner China Peak.
Earlier this summer, Mt. Hood Meadows became the fourth Indy resort in Oregon. With five in Washington, the road-trippin' Indy Pass now boasts 28 full-on partners in the Rockies, Sierra and Cascades. Just show your pass at the ticket window, and head to the lift.
The unlimited-access Ikon Pass now covers 24 resorts in the West. Last spring, Utah's Snowbasin and Idaho's Sun Valley joined up and later, Panorama on Canadian Rockies' Powder Highway -- bringing Ikon's international presence to 10 countries. The pass also added 2- and 3-day options to its short-term Session Pass.
The Powder Alliance requires showing a season pass from any of its 21 resorts to get three free days at Alliance partners. The pass beefed up its international portfolio this summer with the addition of two New Zealand resorts on the flanks of the nation's largest volcano: Tūroa Ski Area and Wakapappa Ski Area. The rest of the Alliance's roster, including 17 in the West, remains the same.
Mountain Collective passholders now have Snowbasin and Sun Valley in the U.S., and Canada's Marmot Basin and Massif de Charlevois to put on their itinerary. Skiers and riders get two days at each of 11 resorts in the West, seven in Canada, and six others around the globe. Just show proof of purchase of the Mountain Collective pass and head to the hill.
After a decade of frenetic acquisitions, Vail Resorts only added Andermatt-Sedrun in Switzerland to its Epic Pass. Now, the industry's first multi-mountain pass has 37 resorts in the U.S., including six resorts in the Rockies (plus limited-days partner Tellluride), four on the West Coast, and western Canada's Whistler-Blackcomb.
Epic and Ikon passes also offer a variety of more restrictive passes for local areas or regions, limited number of days or late season, and special groups such as seniors, college or military.
After three years of study, a formal environmental review and some 14,000 public comments, the Utah DOT has selected a gondola to load in Sandy, travel 8 miles up the canyon, and make stops at each of the two resorts as the best chance to reduce ski traffic and air pollution the tight canyon in the Wasatch Front just above Salt Lake City.
Much needs to be accomplished before the first lift tower starts to go up. Most significantly is that the Utah state legislature must appropriate funds for the construction project, which is estimated to be at least $500 million. That is likely to take several legislative sessions to sort out.
In the meantime, UDOT will enhance bus transport in the canyon -- a first step in a phased approach to lingering traffic problems in the canyon. Those phases also include mobility hubs, parking improvements and tolling.
The state transportation agency said it selected the gondola option over a road-widening option for dedicated bus lanes because the gondola would be a long-term solution to ever-growing traffic congestion. Plans call for 35-seat cabins going up and down the canyon at two-minute intervals.
Anti-gondola groups have said that phasing prior to allocating millions for a gondola might convince more skiers and riders to take public transportation to the two resorts four miles up State Route 210 -- perhaps rendering the gondola moot.
Because of the volume of skiers and riders driving up the canyon, parking has been an issue for many years, because the steep canyon restricts parking capacities to the tight base areas. Both resorts strongly encourage taking free buses from Sandy, and they also give parking preferences to those who carpool.
Snowbird was the first to require reservations through a "hybrid" system. To get one of 2,800 spots, there's a preferred parking season pass, a daily paid reservation system, valet parking for a fee, free carpooling lots (at least 4 per vehicle), and free lots that mean a bit more of a hump to get to the lifts.
Alta followed with a parking reservation system online. Those choosing to drive up the canyon to Alta have had to reserve a spot before heading up.
Via ferratas require rock-face, cliff-y terrain, so it's no surprise that "iron paths" in the West can be found on ski and snowboard mountains known for their steeps.
Fixed “protection” on the rock, such as cables, steps, pegs and ladders allow inexperienced climbers to hook in and safely ascend on rock faces. Some via ferratas even incorporate hanging bridges. Reservations required for guided tours from 90 minutes to four hours. Here's a look at the "iron roads" within the trail-map boundaries of five resorts in the West.
The highest elevation for a via ferrata sits in Arapaho Basin's East Wall. A chairlift ride to mid-mountain, then an OHV ride gets to the base of the climb at 11,800 feet elevation. The full-day climb ascends 1,200 feet to the 13,000-foot top ridge of A-Basin. A shorter version goes to an abandoned mine shaft for a history lesson.
In the northern Rockies, Jackson Hole built the most extensive via ferrata in the West. A gondola ride delivers climbers to extensive route layout in upper-mountain Casper Bowl. A dozen routes – from introductory to most difficult – and a 120-foot suspension bridge await. Rates include two-hour practice climb, half-day option or six-hour full day on the rock, all spread across rock face with 500 feet of vertical drop.
In the southern Rockies, Taos Ski Valley has open a via ferrata complex on the famous cliffs of Kachina Bowl. At 11,500 feet above sea level, beginner and intermediate routes criss-cross the Kachina face and include a 100-foot-long bridge suspended 50 feet in the air. More advanced climbers move over to the infamous K Chutes that has a 50-foot cable walk.
In California, Mammoth Mammoth is one of two resorts in the state with a via ferrata. A gondola ride to mid-mountain McCoy Station arrives below the Caldera Overlook. Six routes await: three beginner, two moderate with a suspension bridge between, and one expert. Climbs are 180 feet long for three-hour private and 90-minute group tours.
The other is Palisades Tahoe, where the lower mountain's iconic Tram Face is ideal for fixed-route climbing. A 4x4 ride and short hike gets climbers to four routes of varying difficulty that ascend some 800 feet of rock wall. Routes were designed with kids in mind, and 4x4 await at the top for return ride to the Olympic Village.
The summer season has a month or so remaining in Oregon, where a quintet of ski and snowboard resorts attract outdoor enthusiasts of all skills and ages.
Plenty to do at Mt. Bachelor, highlighted by an extensive zipline setup at the top of Pine Marten chairlift. Starting at more than 7,800 feet elevation (right at timberline), a side-by-side cable drops a total of 1,400 feet in a three-stage tour. It's touted as the highest, steepest and fast zip tour in the Northwest.
In addition to the zipline, Mt. Bachelor serves up disc golf, MTB and hiking trails, and chairlift rides up into the spectacular volcanic landscape in southern Oregon.
With the highest elevations in the state, eastern Oregon's Anthony Lakes has fine-tuned a network of mountain biking trails on the mountain and in nearby terrain. No lifts run, so MTB-ers should expect uphill, downhill and level tracks -- all laid out on nordic trails.
Toughest climb has a 1,000-foot elevation gain, and the renowned Broadway Flow Trail covers three miles of banks and berms. A leisurely level ride circles Anthony Lake itself. Trail system open Thursdays through Sundays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Just northwest of Mt. Hood, Cooper Spur has both road and mountain biking routes. Road bikers hit the pavement for the 18-mile circuit down into the valley and back. It's a long and easy MTB route around the mountain itself. All enjoy clear views of Mt. Hood.
On the southeast shoulder of the extinct volcano, Mt. Hood Meadows cranks up the Stadium Chair to get folks to a high ridge, where a web of hiking trails for stroller to trail runner await. The resort also offer a slew of kids camps and music series.
Off the southwest of the mountain, you'll find Mt. Hood SkiBowl that offers up a smorgasbord of classic summer activities. Go-karts, batting cages, free-fall bungee jump tower and aerial park, climbing wall, and Aqua Rollers (human hamster cages) nestle up to the East base area. On the west side, scenic chairlift rides and interpretive hikes complete SkiBowl's summer menu.
After receiving the first winter storm warning out of anywhere in the U.S. this season, fresh snow has dumped on Alaska in its Brooks Range.
In the state of Washington, a trio of ski and snowboard mountains flip the toggle from winter to summer to entice city dwellers and vacationers to head into the Cascades.
Stevens Pass is a two-hour drive from Seattle, pending summer construction delays. Regular bus service runs during the summer, an inexpensive way to avoid traffic on busy U.S. 2.
Owned by Vail Resorts, a Stevens Pass' summer focuses on the mountain bike park. Winding around and down the lower front portion of the mountain, the downhill trail map features two categories: freeride and technical.
The man-made jumps and ramps and berms in the freeride network take riders down two green runs, one blue and one black diamond. The more difficult natural-terrain technical runs rate one short green, three top-to-bottom blues and one black diamond and one double-black.
All runs can be reached via the Hogback chairlift, which is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays. Other things to do include scenic chairlift rides, disc golf and guided tours.
A two-hour drive from Seattle, summer at Crystal Mountain takes its cues from its location across from Mt. Ranier -- deep in the Cascade Range. There's hardly a spot on the mountain where the 14,417-foot stratovolcano cannot be seen.
Thus, summer activities at Crystal emphasize getting up and on the mountain. The state's only gondola tops out at 7,000 feet in elevation, where visitor can go on self-guided interpretive walks or spin a Frisbee on the summit disc golf course up there. Other ways to enjoy the scenery and cool mountain air can be had with horseback riding and hiking tours.
The gondola runs seven days a week through Labor Day, then Fridays through Sundays until Sept. 25.
The northernmost ski and snowboard mountain in the West, 49 Degrees North is tucked up in the Colville National Forest near both the Idaho and Canadian borders.
This back-country, hardy setting lends itself to summer hiking and no-lift mountain biking. Take one of several service roads up into the three high-mountain basins. Or top out at 5,774-foot-high Chewelah Peak. From there, nearly 2,000 vertical feet await, and it's hiker's and biker's choice as to the ways down. And don't forget to pull over for pick-and-eat huckleberries that grow all over the mountain.
Boyne Mountain offers a nice selection of summer activities, especially biking with paved bike path options as well as over 20 miles of mountain bike trails. A new paved pathway runs from Boyne Falls over to Boyne City on Lake Charlevoix, and the other paved option is on Boyne property. Both are nice rides.
The Boyne Valley Trailway offers a scenic ride through countryside mostly away from roads. It's a little over six miles one way, and the Mountain has a scenic mile connecter trail that joins the Trailway as it leaves Boyne Falls. You really feel like you're riding through countryside. Enjoy pedaling around the old town, which comes alive in summer with people and music in late afternoon and early evening. It's around 16 miles out-and-back.
The other paved ride flows over the Mountain Pass Road from the village down to the golf course area and Beach House on Deer Lake. Then ride the seven mile scenic cart path, open to bikers and hikers, that winds up along the golf course and back over the ski hill back to the village. There are nice scenic vistas from the upper trail of the countryside. As you start back down to the village it runs along the ski slopes. The total round trip is 15 miles.
An extensive collection of mountain bike trails are on the north side of the Mountain Pass. I found the lower trails offered some nice riding through forest and meadows. The upper trails, in a forest setting, are considered difficult and most difficult. There are a couple of entrances to the trails on top of the Mountain Pass Road as you head over to Deer Lake. You can also get chairlift access with your personal mountain bike to the top and trails lead over to the upper trail system. There are close to 22 miles of mountain bike trails.
Other summer activities include a nine-station zipline, paintball, horseback riding, and, of course, golf on their award winning courses.
I stayed in the newly remodeled Chalet Edelweiss, a European inspired guest haus sitting at the base of the ski slopes overlooking the village. A bike fleet is included for lodging guests to use during their stay. Luxurious would best describe it with all the amenities included.
Spend a couple of nights to divide the rides into a couple of days and enjoy riding up their chairlift for some great early evening views of the surrounding countryside. You can also get a look at the new peak-to-peak, pedestrian sky bridge being built between the peaks of McLouth and Disciples Ridge with an anticipated opening in late September. It will be the world's longest timber-towered suspension bridge stretching 1,203 feet, nearly a quarter-mile, and 118 feet high offering panoramic views of the valley.
Unauthorized road construction by Vail Resorts' contractors has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to force a delay of opening the much-anticipated Bergman Bowl at Keystone until to the 2023-2024 season.
Work had already begun this spring to prepare 550 acres of intermediate alpine terrain for the coming 2022-2023 season. That work including installation of a new high-speed six-pack chairlift.
However, in July, the Forest Service discovered that crews had built a temporary construction road beyond permit boundaries, and issued a cease-and-desist order until damage to fragile treeline and above-treeline tundra was repaired.
In hopes of keeping the much-touted project on schedule, Keystone officials quickly worked up a restoration plan to remove damage done by the road and reclaim a stream crossing that had been filled in by crews.
Despite saying the restoration project was one of the best they had ever seen, officials of the White River National Forest said further environmental review was necessary before work on the lift could resume.
That led Vail Resorts to announce that Bergman Bowl, long a hike-to and snowcat favorite off the top of North Peak, will remain as such until next summer's construction season. Other parts of the project, including expansion of the Outpost restaurant atop North Peak, placing snowmaking equipment in the area and doing trail work will continue this summer.
The nation's largest ski and snowboard resort conglomerate and purveyor of the Epic Pass, Vail Resorts continues to work on several other lift installation projects. At Vail Mountain, a new high-speed four-pack is set to run from the base of High Noon Express to the ridge-top Wildwood Restaurant. On the front, Game Creek Bowl enthusiasts will get up quicker with a replacement detachable six-seater on the same line as the old lift.
In neighboring Summit County, Vail-owned Breckenridge will give beginners and ski school-ers more runs to lap out of Peak 8 base with a replacement of Rip's Ride fixed-grip with a high-speed four-pack.
At Vail-owned resorts around Lake Tahoe, skiers and riders who go to Northstar California should expect to see a six-pack replacement of the four-seater Comstock Lift at the busy mid-mountain. And, visitors to Heavenly Mountain should be able to get to the top of North Bowl in almost half the ride time with a new high-speed chair.
However, Park City Mountain visitors and loyalists will have to wait for two replacement chairlifts at a busy juncture near the crossover to the Canyons area, as local citizens convinced the planning board to reevaluate the project. Vail Resorts has said it will appeal.
At least a dozen ski and snowboard resorts in six states in the West have strung ziplines at or near the mountain to augment their offerings during the summer months.
In New Mexico, Angel Fire put its zipline network at the summit, with broad views of Sangre de Cristo Range. Guide-required for four-zip tour with six people max. Tours run every hour until 1 p.m, Friday-Monday.
Neighbor Red Riverloads two-seat Pioneer Flyer for backwards pull up to 600 feet elevation. A short pause for viewing, and then pairs are released for 35-mph free-ride back down. A shorter zip ride is incorporated into Hidden Treasure Aerial Park.
A couple of Colorado mountain resorts have ziplines at the mountain. Vail's on-mountain Epic Discovery Park incorporates a kids-only zipline -- about 10 feet in the air -- among its adventure package.
Utah is home to one of the world's highest and longest ziplines, at Sundance Mountain Resort. Tucked up above Provo, the Sundance Zip has four spans with side-by-side cables that total two miles in length. And, you drop 2,100 vertical feet with control of speeds up to 65 mph -- with mid-air stops, too.
Above Salt Lake City, zipliners climb a 50-foot tower at the base of Snowbirdand reach 30 mph on side-by-side cables, landing on the deck of the tramway building. The ride is 1,000 feet long on a 15% grade.
Over in Idaho, Zip Tamarackruns four tours a day for a max of eight people, which lasts four hours. Each tour hooks onto eight ziplines with two suspension bridges interspersed -- plus a total of 1.5 miles of downhill hiking between platforms.
In California, Heavenly Mountainhas several ziplines on the hill. The rock-star zip is Blue Streak, one of the longest at 3,300 feet with a 525-foot vertical drop. Speeds reach 50 mph. The nearby Heavenly Flyer also reaches 50 mph as it skims the tree tops on an 80-second ride. And, an introductory ride can be had on the Red Flyer, which goes 100 feet at 15 feet above the ground.
And at Mt. Hood SkiBowl in Oregon, the resort has set up an aerial park the in air above the base area that includes an 800-foot long zipline. It's open Thursday to Sunday.
Many other resorts in the West sit near independent zipline operations, like Ski Cooper, Palisades Tahoe and Big Bear.
A huge dry ski slope has gone into operation near the western Ukranian city of Lviv. Work on the facility began last autumn and was completed in early summer, despite Russia’s invasion.
The premier Oregon resort becomes Indy's largest by skier volume
PORTLAND, Ore. (July 26, 2022) – The Indy Pass is proud to announce that Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon is joining its coalition of independent resorts for the 22/23 season. Mt. Hood Meadows is one of the largest independently owned and operated resorts in the US and features 2,150 acres, 11 lifts, 85 named runs, and 430" of annual snowfall. It welcomes more skier visits than any other Indy resort partner.
Sited majestically on the flank of Mt. Hood, Meadows features vast snowfields above the treeline.
"We are very excited to welcome our home mountain, Mt. Hood Meadows, to the Indy family of resorts, said Indy Pass president Doug Fish. We know first-hand that Meadows is one of the finest resorts in North America, and their presence on the pass will elevate and support all Indy resorts."
Double-black chutes and treed glades are plentiful in Meadows' Heather Canyon.
Meadows Chairman and CEO Matthew Drake says alignment with the Indy Pass continues the company’s efforts to expand access to quality mountain recreation experiences, stating, "It is our culture to innovate, implement new initiatives, experiment, learn and then refine. Our first year with the Indy Pass is another exciting experiment.”
Mt. Hood Meadows immediately becomes the crown jewel in Indy's Western region. It gives the Indy Pass a Mt. Hood anchor to compliment White Pass, Washington, and Hoodoo, Oregon, each about 2.5 hours from Portland. Meadows' reliable Cascade snowpack comes from the constant barrage of winter storms that pound the Oregon coast before slamming into 11,225' Mt. Hood. Its extensive terrain includes 1,700 additional vertical feet of hike-to snow fields and gate-accessed side country, affording Meadows premier status by any measure.
Mt. Hood Meadows Mountain Stats
- Top of Cascade Express - 7,300 (9,000 at the top of hike-to terrain)
- Vertical Rise - 2,777
- Acres - 2,150
- Night Skiing Acres - 140
- Lifts - 11, including 6 high-speed quads
- Longest Run - 3 miles
- Named Runs - 85
- Annual Snowfall - 430 inches
- Indy Base Pass Blackouts: Holidays and Peak Weekends
- 15K Cross Country trails available to Indy Pass and Indy XC Pass holders
Mt. Hood Meadows' 430" of annual snowfall gives Indy Pass holders a season that lasts well into May.
July Payment Plan Ends August 1 - Interest-Free and No Credit Checks
Indy Pass offers an innovative, interest-free payment plan that allows purchasers to make equal monthly payments through December 15th. If purchased by August 1, payments are $49/month for an adult pass and $146/month for a family of four with two kids under 13. No credit check or credit app is needed, and no 3rd-party lenders are involved.
Indy Pass 22-23 Pre-Season Prices End September 12th
Indy Base Pass - Adult $299, Kids (12-and-under) $139
Indy+ Pass - Adult $399, Kids $189 (no blackouts)
Indy Base AddOn Pass - Adult $199, Kids $99 (partner and allied resort season passholders only)
Indy+ AddOn Pass - Adult $309, Kids $149 (no blackouts)
Indy Cross Country (XC) Pass - Adult $69, Kids $29 (no blackouts)
About the Indy Pass -
After three seasons, the Indy Pass is the fastest-growing multi-mountain pass in North America. It offers 105 Alpine and Nordic resorts across the US, Canada, and Japan, each providing two days of skiing or riding, and ten Alpine Allied Resorts offering up to 50% discounts on lift tickets. Indy resorts are independent and uniquely authentic; most are owned and operated by multi-generational families.
DOWNHILL RESORTS - 92
PACIFIC REGION - 15
ALASKA -- Eaglecrest Ski Area
BRITISH COLUMBIA -- Apex Mountain Resort, Manning Park, Sasquatch Mountain
CALIFORNIA -- China Peak, Mt. Shasta Ski Park, Snow Valley
OREGON – Mt. Hood Meadows, Hoodoo, Mt. Ashland
WASHINGTON -- 49 Degrees North, Ski Bluewood, Hurricane Ridge, Mission Ridge, White Pass
ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION - 19
ALBERTA -- Castle Mountain Resort
ARIZONA -- Sunrise Park Ski Area
COLORADO -- Sunlight Mountain Resort
IDAHO -- Brundage Mountain, Kelly Canyon, Silver Mountain, Tamarack Resort, Pomerelle, Soldier Mountain
MONTANA -- Blacktail Mountain, Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Red Lodge Mountain
UTAH -- Beaver Mountain, Eagle Point, Powder Mountain
WYOMING -- Meadowlark Ski Lodge, Snow King Mountain, White Pine Ski Area, Antelope Butte
MIDWEST REGION - 24
IOWA -- Seven Oaks, Sundown Mountain
MICHIGAN -- Big Powderhorn Resort, Caberfae Peaks, Crystal Mountain, Marquette Mountain, Nubs Nob Ski Resort, Pine Mountain Resort, Shanty Creek, Swiss Valley Ski Area, Tree Tops Resort
MINNESOTA -- Buck Hill, Detroit Mountain, Lutsen Mountains, Mount Kato, Powder Ridge Winter Recreation, Spirit Mountain
SOUTH DAKOTA -- Terry Peak Ski Area
WISCONSIN -- Granite Peak, Little Switzerland, Nordic Mountain, Trollhaugen, Tyrol Basin, The Rock Snowpark
EASTERN REGION - 20
CONNECTICUT -- Mohawk Mountain Ski Area
MASSACHUSETTS -- Berkshire East Mountain Resort, Catamount Mountain Resort*
MAINE -- Saddleback Mountain, BigRock Resort, Black Mountain of Maine
NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Cannon Mountain, Pats Peak, Black Mountain, Waterville Valley
NEW YORK -- Catamount Mountain Resort*, Greek Peak Mountain Resort, Swain Resort, Snow Ridge Ski Resort, Titus Mountain, West Mountain
VERMONT -- Bolton Valley Resort, Magic Mountain, Saskadena Six, Jay Peak Resort
*Catamount straddles NY/MA border
MID-ATLANTIC REGION - 10
NORTH CAROLINA -- Cataloochee Ski Area
PENNSYLVANIA -- Blue Knob Resort, Montage Mountain, Ski Sawmill, Shawnee Mountain
TENNESSEE -- Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area
VIRGINIA -- Bryce Resort, Massanutten Resort
WEST VIRGINIA -- Canaan Valley Ski Resort, Winterplace Ski Resort
JAPAN TOHOKU REGION - 5
Geto Kogen - Kitakami, Iwate
Aomori Spring, Nishitsugaru District, Ajigasawa
Okunakayama Kogen - Ninohe District, Iwate
Shimokura/Pandora - Hachimantai, Iwate
Tazawako - Semboku, Akita
CROSS COUNTRY RESORTS - 14
BRITISH COLUMBIA - Sovereign Lakes Nordic Club, Manning Park Resort
MAINE - Black Mountain of Maine
MICHIGAN -- Tree Tops XC
MINNESOTA -- Mapelap Resort
NEW HAMPSHIRE (2) -- Waterville Valley Resort, JacksonXC
NEW JERSEY -- High Point Cross Country Ski Center
NEW MEXICO -- Enchanted Forest XC
OREGON -- Mt. Hood Meadows
VERMONT -- Woodstock Nordic Center, Rikert Nordic Center
WASHINGTON -- 49 Degrees North Nordic Center
WEST VIRGINIA -- White Grass Touring Center
ALLIED RESORTS - 10 (Discounted Lift Tickets for Passholders)
MASSACHUSETTS -- Bousquet Mountain
NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Dartmouth Skiway, King Pine, McIntyre Ski Area, Whaleback Mountain
UTAH - Cherry Peak
VERMONT -- Burke Mountain, Middlebury College Snow Bowl
WASHINGTON -- Loup Loup Ski Bowl
WISCONSIN -- Paul Bunyan
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April Whitney, On Behalf of Brundage Mountain Resort PO Box 1062, McCall, ID 83638 United States
Between the crest of the Cascades and western front of the Northern Rockies, a half-dozen ski and snowboard resorts stay open -- in varying degrees -- during the summer months for all to cool out a bit.
Summer activity menus ranges from the full-on "adventure park" concept to mountain biking and scenic lift rides to mellow hiking and meditating upon Nature.
Up near the Canadian border, Schweitzer Mountain looms above Lake Pend Oreille and Sandpoint, Idaho. A chairlift ride gets you to mountaintop restaurant Sky House for views, brews and food amidst the Kanitzu National Forest. There's a summit disc golf course, too, and more than 40 miles of MTB trails head down to the resort base -- home to dual ziplines, climbing wall, trampoline and more.
Jump across into Washington and check out 49 Degrees North, one of the northernmost resorts in U.S. It's old-school summer on Chewelah Peak: No lifts, no "attractions" other than a half-dozen MTB and hiking trails along service roads. Mid-summer mean huckleberry picking season all over the resort's three basins.
Still in Washington is Mt. Spokane outside the state's largest city east of the Cascades. The non-profit day hill is open for hiking and biking (no lifts), and Saturdays' Brews and Views at the summit's Vista House.
Back into Idaho, Silver Mountain above Kellogg boasts Idaho's largest indoor water park -- perfect for cooling down in a hot summer. Park has a dozen stations, including flow rider for surfing, lazy downriver tubing, Minor's Island for kids, and a overhead rope course. On the mountain, the nation's longest gondola runs carries lookie-loos, hikers and mountain bikers for fresh air at the summit.
Right at the Montana-Idaho border, Lookout Pass is a short drive from silver boomtowns Wallace and Mullan. Few bike routes compare with the famed Hiawatha Trail, operated by the resort. A premier rail-trail, the 15-mile, all-downhill ride straddles the state line with 10 tunnels, seven train trestles, interpretive stops and drop-dead views of the Bitterroots. At the resort, chairlift runs Friday-Sunday for hiking, mountain biking and soaking in the scenery.
A summer road trip in the Rockies should include time in southern Idaho, where a half-dozen ski and snowboard mountains flip to summer.
There's no shortage of strenuous biking and hiking, relaxing strolls through the wildflowers, music performances and more around the base areas of South Idaho's mountain resorts -- from Idaho Falls to McCall to Boise.
Bogus Basin continues its summer renaissance. It's home to Idaho's only mountain coaster, with 4,330 feet of twists and turns at up to 25mph. The Boise home hill's Basin Gravity Park debuts a one-mile beginner X-C trail, an extension of the Around the Mountain route, and a technical downhiller.
Tamarack takes advantage of its lakeside location by building a watercraft fleet over the last couple of summers. This summer, new jet skies and surf boats joins with paddleboards, kayaks and pontoon boats on Lake Cascade. On the hill, the 27-mile MTB park expands with a couple of intermediate flow trails, and a summit loop.
Kelly Canyon has begun lift-served MTB action to deliver riders to an 18-mile network of trails, plus a 4-mile special loop that will be a training ground for interscholastic riders. New at Kelly, just outside of Idaho Falls, will be UTV side-by-side rentals.
Brundage has built a 20-year reputation of solid hiking and biking trails on the mountain near McCall. The mountain added six new trails for this summer, including a dramatic uphiller into Lakeview Bowl. A scenic chairlift ride unveils a 360-degree view of Payette National Forest and environs.
As usual, Sun Valley offers up a plethora of summer activities and events for summer visitors. Downhill MTBers can ride the gondola to the ridge atop Bald Mountain while, down below, the resort links with a 30-mile cruiser system of paved, non-vehicle riding. Events highlight with performances on the famous ice rink at the resort above McCall.
Neither Soldier Mountain, Pomerelle nor Pebble Creek spin chairlifts during the summer. So at Soldier outside Boise and Pomerelle near Twin Falls, uphill MTBers take the lead to climb the mountain on their own. Just south of Pocatello, Pebble Creek will be open for special events and private affairs only.
Park City Mountain regulars and visitors will have to wait at least another season before riding replacement chairlifts that were designed to reduce crowding at the base and on the mountain.
Therefore, skier and riders at one of America's largest ski areas will have to be content with the workhorse Eagle chair that is one of the main ways to get onto the mountain from the base area, and the Silverlode Express which loads at the crossover junction between Park City side and The Canyons side.
On June 25, the Park City Planning Commission agreed to allow an appeal by a quartet of Park City residents that installation of the two chairs didn't align with the resort's 1998 master plan. In addition, the commission said that resort ownership needs to update its parking plans around the busy base area to align with current carrying capacity estimates.
In essence, the appeal halts any plans for replacement lifts this summer at the 7,300-acre ski and snowboard resort. And, the appeal puts more pressure on owners Vail Resorts to sort out vehicle parking options that have been a sore spot for years, and further exacerbated by a Provo company's plans to cover one primary parking lot with commercial development.
Before plans were waylaid by the appeal, the 30-year-old fixed-grip triple Eagle was to replaced by a six-pack detachable chair to double uphill capacity and cut riding time to get to the Thanes Canyon area. Plan also called for the six-pack high-speed Silverlode Express to become the resort's first eight-person chairlift. Uphill capacity would nearly double to get skiers and riders out of what has become the busy Miner's Camp mid-mountain junction where people either stay on the Park City side or take a gondola to The Canyons side of the resort.
Vail Resort's officials opposed the appeal but have said that construction of the two replacement chairlifts is on hold, at least for this summer's construction season.