Most people only ever see the inside of a ski resort in deep mid-winter, when the ground is covered in a few feet of snow, the cold air is enough to give you frost-bite, and the sun barely reaches above the mountain tops at midday. Yet ski resorts have another life entirely during the summer, and typically offer a completely new range of attractions and activities to visitors. So put away your snowboard, ski-mask and ski poles, and think about packing a little bit lighter the next time you visit a ski resort. Here are a few reasons why they make the perfect destination for a summer holiday.
Ski chalets and alpine lodges, full of charm and character, look just as inviting in the summer months as they do in the middle of winter. And with most properties equipped for extreme weather as standard, you can safely rely on good insulation, heating and air conditioning, keeping your living space climate controlled all year round.
Though ski resorts are often overwhelmingly crowded and claustrophobic at the height of the skiing season, in the summer you can usually find the same places peaceful and hassle-free. By no means deserted, many resorts, such as Tignes or Serre Chevalier in the French Alps, offer that right mix of vibrancy and calmness, without the crunching crowds you are more likely to find in the winter. This balance is ideal for having your own space but still having the freedom to meet and mingle with new people.
Ski resorts are, by definition, located in stunning mountainous areas that receive a great deal of snow. And in the summer, when it has all melted away, many turn from white winter wonderlands into wonderful green landscapes of jagged peaks, soft rolling hills and incredible canyons. You can mountain bike through pine forests, bathe in mountain streams and hike all the way up to incredible mountain peaks.
After the snow has melted away a wealth of extreme sports opportunities open up in most Alpine resorts, with difficult pistes turned into mountain biking tracks, snow-boarding slopes transformed into high-altitude hiking paths, frozen rivers turned into white-water rafting venues and inaccessible peaks opened up for dare-devil para-gliders.
Anyone interested in extreme sport is well-advised to check out ski resorts, and everything from base and bungee jumping to sheer rock-climbing can be had in locations such as the French Alps or Tyrolean hills. Yet anyone with a love of the outdoors, especially teenagers and young children, is bound to have a memorable summer in such a pristine natural environment. So if you are looking for summer camps with a host of exciting activities, look no further than an off-season ski resort.
Most ski resorts make the bulk of their money during the winter season, trading on superb snowy pistes to ski down. Yet, in order to survive during the lean summer months, they have to work extra hard to entice visitors, which means low prices for consumers. Plenty of resorts in the Alps, and even in the Rockies, will offer substantial room discounts during summer, meaning you can have a great holiday on a low budget. So if you are looking for a summer break surrounded by gorgeous natural surroundings, or are looking for an inexpensive, value for money solution for a summer youth camp, make sure to take a look at out of season ski resorts.
Even in the coldest winter months you cannot spend all your time skiing or snowboarding outdoors, so most ski resorts offer plenty of Après-Ski activities. Great night-life, superb restaurants, laid-back cafes, cultural diversions, outdoor concerts, weekend festivals and historic architecture mean that you will never be bored when seeking to take it easy. And many locals prefer to take full advantage of the sun, spending more hours outside than most, after being stuck inside for most the year by the bitter cold.
Creative Commons photo by Martin Abegglen