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Summer Highs: America’s mountain resorts

Hiker mountainsAnsel Adams Wilderness in California's Sierra Nevada

For holidays with altitude, check out one of America’s many mountain resorts, says Garry Astle


To think America’s best mountain resorts are reserved solely for the snow of winter would be a great oversight. Many of the country’s best winter sports mountains keep the gondolas running throughout the summer months, often offering passes at a fraction of ski season prices.

According to ASTA research, agents consider Aspen and Beaver Creek, Colorado, among the top 10 North American ski resorts. But after the snow subsides, these resorts, and many others like them, have plenty more to offer via a plethora of summertime activities for the whole family.

Flowers and wildlife take over from ice and snow, creating breathtaking mountain vistas which are perfect for action-packed vacations. So whether it’s relaxing with rod and reel, hiking or, for the more adventurous, mountain biking, rock climbing and zip lining, the slopes are the place to be this summer.

Take Three: Mountains

Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Located in White River National Forest, nine miles from downtown Aspen, Snowmass boasts the highest summit and the most lifts of the resort’s four mountains. It’s stunning in the summer months and has become an epicenter for mountain biking, with 50 miles of terrain. Also on offer is a series of hiking trails through the Elks, as well as camping and paragliding.

Mammoth Mountain, California
Another mountain biking hotspot, Mammoth was named the number one bike park in the US by Outside magazine. Hiking trails vary in difficulty, from the strenuous five-mile Mammoth to the easier 2.5-mile Starkweather, but all offer beautiful views, such as those across the San Joaquin River Valley. In addition, the resort is home to California’s highest golf course at 8,000ft, is renowned for fishing, and sits within close proximity to Yosemite National Park.

Telluride, Colorado
Telluride also featured in ASTA’s top 10 US ski resorts, but it certainly shouldn’t be overlooked during the summer. From late May to the end of June, thousands of gallons of snowmelt swell the Telluride River, creating Class II–III white water, ideal for rafting. The area’s rich mining history also lends itself to 4×4 excursions and hikes.

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