6 Ski and Snowboard Mountains that are Almost More Fun in the Summer

The resorts that we ski and snowboard at in the winter don't disappear once the snow stops falling, and many of them are taking advantage of their infrastructure to transform themselves into outdoor playgrounds in the summer months.  With plentiful lodging, quality dining and stunning mountain views, these resorts have a lot to offer a vacationer in the summer. Many offer kids programs, and activities for all ages and interest.

Check out our list of six ski and snowboard resorts that are worth a visit in the summer!

Skiing in July... in Vermont?

 
 

The Craftsbury Outdoor Center has been storing snow since the winter as part of an experimental "snow farming" project working to see if snow can be stored from one season to another.  Many, around the world, are hoping to use this technique in the future to help build early-season bases, and alleviate some of their dependance on natural snowfall as climate change makes weather more variable.  Several major events from the Iditarod to the Hahnenkamm World Cup ski races in Austria, now depending on the technique.

It will be really interesting to see the capabilities of snow storage technology and its impact on the future of winter sports as the technology develops, but for now, it's fun to watch people fool around in a pile of snow in the middle of summer!

Sand Skiing in Peru!

 
 

It's been so hot at our headquarters in Denver over the last couple weeks that it's difficult to believe it will ever snow again.

Jesper Tjäder and Emma Dahlström with GoPro have one idea on how to get your turns - and even hit kickers and rails - without waiting for the white fluffy stuff. Watch these skiers hike up and then shred the Cerro Blanco dune in Peru!

Undoubtedly rad, but all I can think about is the SAND IN THEIR BOOTS!!

The Catamount Trail: Vermont's 300-Mile Nordic Ski Trail

Did you know that if you strap on a pair of cross-country skis just east of the Deerfield River at Vermont’s southern boarder and head north, you can ski on uninterrupted trail until you arrive at the Canadian boarder 300-miles north?

The Catamount Trail, which began in 1984 as the thesis project of Steve Bushey, Paul Jarris and Ben Rose when they were students at the University of Vermont, is now the longest uninterrupted cross-country skiing trail in North America. Its 300-miles of trail, between Vermont’s southern to northern boarders, were painstakingly pieced together by the Catamount Trail Association (CTA) over 20 years. The trail connects vast wilderness areas to old timber roads; it crosses farmland and protected forests, and caters to skiers of a variety of levels.


The trail is a vast cooperative effort, passing through both public and private land, and demanding hours of volunteer labor to maintain; it reflects a state-wide dedication to a no-frills outdoor culture and the preservation of the state's long history of winter sports.


Unlike many aspects of the winter sports world, especially those associated with Nordic skiing’s brasher alpine cousin, the Catamount Trail is explicitly designed to be accessible and inexpensive, where skiers are drawn by the state’s stunning natural beauty rather than by high speed trams, luxury accommodations, or glitzy off-slope shopping. The trail is the result of a rugged culture that is increasingly absent from a skiing world dominated by corporate giants Vail and Alterra.

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But in Vermont — and it’s eastern neighbor New Hampshire — you can still find trail systems maintained by passionate volunteers, mountains where the owner personally greets their customers each morning and, occasionally, lodge beers for less than $5. It is a land that respects rigorous exercise and bone chilling winds, where winter sports are part of a time-honored way of life.

Ben Rose, one of the Catamount Trail’s founders, and the Executive Director of the Green Mountain Club, describes the project’s unique vision: It’s a “very intimate way to see the landscape. Like hiking the Long Trail, skiing the Catamount Trail is a way to see Vermont from its heart.”

Although few people actually ski the whole trail — as it’s always not easy to camp along the route in winter — few people have actually skied the whole trail, each winter it’s estimated to support over 8,000 skier days.

 Photo by  Simon Matzinger  on  Unsplash

On their website the CTA states that their goal “is to create a future in which Vermont is home to a world-class network of locally-supported winter back-country trails and terrain accessible to outdoor travelers of all abilities and means.” As winter recreation is becoming increasingly corporate across the US, organizations like the CTA will play an increasingly important role in ensuring that winter sports like cross country skiing and snowshoeing remain accessible and inexpensive as they have been for centuries.

A lonely stretch along the Catamount Trail is about as far as you could get spiritually from, say, Aspen’s glamorous Little Nell’s bar, but for many, the former encapsulated the soul of winter sports in a way the latter new can.

Snowriders Round-up: Wk 1

Happy Fourth of July, Snowriders! We're starting something new - a weekly round-up of ski, snowboard, snow and environmental news from around the web. We'll use these posts to keep you updated on what we're up to, share the news that Snowriders care about, and provide you with a little snowy inspiration for your week. 

👇 Let us know in the comments what you think about these new weekly posts 👇

New & Exciting from Us: We got our Instagram account up and running again! Follow us @SnowridersOrg! We'll be posting pictures and videos to get you through the summer and sharing photography from our followers - tag us in your snowy posts to be featured!

More from the Week:

Snow fell at Snowdown Ski Area in Montana on Tuesday, July 3rd with temperatures dropping to around 29 degrees. The snow didn't stick around for too long, but not before the ski area snapped some pictures of the summer blanket of snow. See the full story here.

One skier was transported off of the The Great One, outside Bozeman, in a helicopter, the other given a ride down by the search-and-rescue team after not being able to descend alone. Full story here.

 

For more on weird weather in 2018 check out this great article from Popular Science: 

2018 has Been Full of Weird Weather so Far

From snow in June in Canada to a fire started by a thunderstorm in Texas -- check out the full article here

Daydream Fuel:

 Prepare to drool: watch this beautiful drone footage of skiing at Chamonix in April. Watch it  here .

Prepare to drool: watch this beautiful drone footage of skiing at Chamonix in April. Watch it here.

This Kickstarter Wants to Save you from Flimsy Ice Scrapers

The makers of the Tusk claim it's the ultimate survival shovel, with four tools in one: a shovel, a steal digging spade, an extra-wide scraper, and a squeegee.  It's built for those freezing morning when it's dumped two feet of snow and you just want to get to the mountain. It's designed to save its users from ever having to handle one of those double-sided scraper-brushes -  that are never quite long enough, or break just at the wrong moment - again.

They've got several different packages and color option, and they promise delivery to their backers by this coming winter.

There's only two days left in this kickstarter so check it out by Friday (6/29) if you're interested in backing the project!

Ski Resort Giants: who owns what

Growing Giants: As Alterra Mountain Co. and Vail Resorts grow, who owns what and which mountains remain independent

Last week, it was announced that Utah's Solitude Mountain Resort is to join the growing list of major resorts purchased by Alterra Mountain Co. since spring of last year. Alterra, together with its major rival, Vail Resorts, now own a total of 31 resorts across North America.

And with dueling mega-passes - Ikon and Epic - these growing industry superpowers are flexing influence across a huge swath of the ski and snowboard market. Both the Ikon and Epic passes offer access to many of the resorts owned by Alterra and Vail respectively as well as other affiliated mountains, in the US, Canada and Europe.  Here's a current list of who owns what:

Vail Resorts

Afton Alps
Beaver Creek Resort
Breckenridge Ski Resort
Canyons Resort
Heavenly Mountain Resort
Keystone Resort
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Mount Brighton
Mount Sunapee Resort
Northstar California
Okemo Mountain Resort
Park City Mountain Resort
Perisher Ski Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort
Vail Ski Resort
Whistler Blackcomb
Wilmot Mountain

Alterra Mountain Company

Alpine Meadows
Big Bear Mountain
Blue Mountain
Deer Valley
June Mountain
Mammoth Mountain
Snowshow
Solitude Mountain Resort
Squaw Valley
Steamboat
Stratton
Snow Summit
Tremblant
Winter Park Resort

 

 

Independent Spirit

 Some independent mountains like Vermont's  Magic Mountain  celebrate their independent spirit.

Some independent mountains like Vermont's Magic Mountain celebrate their independent spirit.

With so many resorts joining the Epic-Ikon party, smaller independent mountains across the US are at risk of suffering devastating losses in the shadow of these growing giants.  Independent mountains offer some of the most unique ski experiences and develop some of the most devoted followings.

Our organizer, Lucie Coleman, has lived in Colorado for five seasons now, but every new helmet gets a Mad River Glen sticker before it ever sees the light of day.  In Denver, you see more bumper stickers repping Loveland, Cooper and Monarch Mountains than almost any other local ski areas. While we can't deny that we're excited about the prospect of skiing 20+ resorts for less than $900, independent mountains still have our heart!

Tell us about your favorite independent mountain in the comments!

And check out our list of some great multi-mountain passes available for next season that aren't Epic or Ikon.

 

Grass Skis! - a short climate change film by Carbondale students

"Colorado, a beautiful place of wonder and enchantment... and now you can enjoy the warm winters with GRASS SKIS!" 

This short film was created by Carbondale students as a part of the Lens on Climate Change (LOCC) program.  LOCC is a project run by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), that helps Colorado middle and high school students tell the stories of climate changes' impacts on their lives and communities through film.

The students who made this film chose to illustrate the very real threat that climate change poses to the future of skiing and snowboarding - an essential part of their Colorado mountain town lifestyle. They begin with a spoof advertisement for "Grass Skis" - no snow, no problem, just strap on some grass skis this winter!

Then some local experts share some pretty alarming data on climate change in Colorado: "The climate science that looks at this particular region will tell you that in 100 years the climate of Aspen will resemble the climate of Amarillo, TX" - Matthew Hamilton, Sustainability Director for Aspen Ski Co.

We hope that grass skis will not have to become a reality... and that butter won't be replacing ski wax any time soon!

We Asked Winter Olympians about Climate Change, Here's What They Said

We asked some 2018 Winter Olympians about climate change, disappearing winters, and renewable energy.  They share their experiences, and hope for the future of winter sports below.

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"I support a 100% Renewable Energy future because fighting climate change is not only essential for global stability, it is an opportunity for our global community to come together to achieve the impossible. We can achieve a 100% renewable energy future and along the way we can eradicate hunger, poverty and opportunity inequality. Together we can form a compassionate, thriving and sustainable global community. I have had the privilege of travelling the world as a professional skier, and along the way I have seen that anything is possible when we work towards a common goal."

-Noah Hoffman, Olympic X-Country Skier 2018


"Global warming is having a huge impact on the winter sports that we love. As a winter sports athlete, I have seen many events get canceled in recent years in due to lack of snow. This is happening in places that are known for having huge amounts of snow throughout the winter. In order to protect our planet and the sports we love, we have to move forward towards having a 100% renewable energy future. I hope that future generations will be able to enjoy the winter activities that we have been lucky enough to grow up with."

-Mick Dierdorff, Olympic Snowboarder


"Honestly, everything that I enjoy doing in this world is made possible because we have a lot of snow, clean water and healthy mountains. As soon as those things stop being true, everything I love to do in this world will be gone, and I really just don’t want to wait around watching until that happens. It isn’t a matter of if we should change anymore, but how do we change. Each and every step we take, it is important that it is in the right direction. Because hey, we all want to go ski some powder right?

"If we want to keep doing the things we love, and using the earth as our playground, there has to be a change. I want to go skiing for the rest of my life, and I want the next generations to be able to ski. I want to be able to surf in a clean ocean, and I want it to stay that way for everyone who graces this earth. It's as simple as that."

- Casey Andringa, Olympic Freestyle Skier 2018


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"I have spent over a decade traveling around the world to the same snow destinations to compete in World Cup competitions. Over the course of my career, I have seen first hand how climate change has affected many of these places. What were once "winter wonderlands" are now the only places that can host an early season world cup. Places that typically had normal winters now are forced to battle rains, warm temperatures and little to no snow.  Without trucking in man-made snow or machines that can make snow above freezing, these venues could no longer host a competition. All this has happened in just the past decade, imagine how it could be if we continue on this path for another decade! We need to treat ourselves and our environment better and that's why I support 100% renewables."

- Bryan Fletcher, Olympic Nordic Combined Athlete