Can You Ski In The Summer In Colorado? Discover The Ultimate Guide To Summer Skiing In Colorado

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Colorado is known for its fantastic skiing in the winter. With world-class ski resorts, a beautiful landscape and an abundance of snow, it’s no wonder why so many people visit each year to hit the slopes.

But what about summer? Can you still ski in Colorado when the weather warms up and the snow melts away?

The answer is yes! There are still several options for skiing and snowboarding in Colorado during the summer months. Whether you’re an experienced skier or just looking for a unique adventure, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to shred some snow.

“Summer skiing in Colorado is truly a one-of-a-kind experience, with stunning mountain views, bluebird skies and soft, slushy snow”

In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about summer skiing in Colorado. From the best locations and resorts to helpful tips and tricks, we’ve got you covered.

So whether you’re planning your next vacation or simply curious about what summer skiing in Colorado is all about, read on to discover the ultimate guide.

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Yes, You Can Ski In The Summer In Colorado – Here’s How

Understanding the Science of Summer Skiing

Many people are surprised to learn that there are actually ski resorts open for summer skiing in Colorado. But how is it possible to have snow and skiing during this warm season?

The answer lies in understanding the science behind artificial snowmaking. Essentially, snow machines operate by spraying a fine mist of water into the air, which then falls to the ground as snowflakes when exposed to cold temperature.

Even though the temperatures can be quite hot in the summer, particularly in regions like Colorado, they still drop at night making it possible to maintain some sort of powdery texture on the slopes along with few cooler days.

Naturally occurring snowfall alone generally isn’t enough to sustain optimal skiing conditions throughout the ongoing seasons.

Preparing for Summer Skiing in Colorado

While skiing in the middle of summer might seem counterintuitive to many Coloradans’ busy schedule, preparing yourself adequately for high altitude sports would go a long way.

  • Be sure you acclimate to the elevation in stages, especially if your home is not already around 5,000 ft in elevation.
  • Spend anywhere from two to four days “under” 8,000 feet before launching to higher inclines such as Vail Pass seen extended seasonal periods due to its above average elevational range.
  • Dress properly.The weather at that height is incredibly unpredictable, so bringing layers may come in handy.
  • Using sunscreen is essential because UV exposure is significantly increased at greater altitudes.
  • Stay hydrated! At higher elevations, dehydration can occur quicker and more frequently.

Where to Find Summer Skiing in Colorado

A number of ski resorts throughout the state offer skiing during the summer with some open well into June, July, August and September. Here are just a few of the best options for summertime skiers in Colorado:

  • Arapahoe Basin: Located less than an hour from Denver is known nationwide as the best place to ski nearly year-round thanks to its high elevational range
  • Breckenridge: This popular resort town now offers limited skiing at their high-altitude terrain park – The Imperial Express SuperChair. Through mid-June or early July depending on weather conditions.
  • Copper Mountain Resort : Thanks to snowmaking abilities, Copper Mountain attracts many that love carving fresh powder through spring and early summer months until early July.
  • Snowmass: This resort maintains one lift on weekends throughout June where you take long cruisers down towards a scenic valley!
“Summer ski season is a great opportunity for passionate skiers who want to continue enjoying that experience throughout most months,” said Brian Longyear, Vice President of revenue at Arapahoe Basin in Summit County.

To the uninitiated, skiing amid the sun-drenched mountains of Colorado might seem like an absurd notion. But with a bit of background knowledge and proper preparation, it’s entirely possible to have an incredible time skiing in this amazing feature of the Centennial State. So don’t shy away next time you think about hitting the slopes.

The Best Ski Resorts In Colorado To Visit During The Summer

Breckenridge Ski Resort

If you love world-class skiing as well as summer activities, then Breckenridge Ski Resort is perfect for you. This resort offers a wide range of activities such as mountain biking, golfing, hiking, and much more. With over 300 sunny days per year, the ski slopes remain dry and make it an ideal place for skiing during summers.

“Breckenridge’s terrain parks have always been renowned but snowboarding on Peaks 8 and 9 paired with refreshing après-ski isn’t too shabby either,” says Nicky DeFord, deputy editor at SKI Magazine. “My favorite summer activity in Breck? Spending the day cruising around to all of the beer gardens that dot the town.”1

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Arapahoe Basin or A-Basin is famous for its steeps and challenging runs, making it one of the best places in Colorado for expert skiers. Surprisingly, many visitors don’t know that they can also go skiing there during the summers. However, due to the lack of tourists in the summer season, only one chairlift is usually open.

“This compact little area packs enough punch to keep most Denver locals entertained through October,” notes Alison Berkley-Miller, former managing editor of Mountain magazine. “Weekend live music is a bonus!”1

Keystone Resort

Keystone resort provides access to over 130 trails during peak season, but it too becomes a popular spot for skiing in Colorado even during summer. Keystone offers incredible lift-accessed hike-to terrain – distinct from chairlift serviced areas- known as “The Outback,” and boasting ski terrain suitable for various levels of skiers.

“For an ultimate summer adventure, head on a hiking tour of the area along with fishing, cross-country biking or golfing,” quips Powderhounds.com about Keystone.2

Copper Mountain Resort

Copper’s Summit County location makes it possible for visitors to be able to squeeze in some summertime snowboarding or skiing at more than 12,000 feet. Plus there are plenty of non-snow activities such as mountain biking, indoor go-kart racing, zip-lining to artist showcases that make Copper a fantastic place to spend summers!

“I’ve always loved Copper in the summertime — hiking, disc golfing, and live music right next door all add up to a can’t-miss day of fun in the mountains,” says Eli Duke, editor-in-chief of Ski Area Management.1

    “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” -John Muir

    References:

    1. https://www.skimag.com/adventure/lift-accessed-summer-activities-at-us-ski-resorts
    2. https://coloradoski.com/blog/summer-activities-and-events-colorado-ski-resorts#keystone

    Summer Skiing In Colorado: What To Expect And How To Prepare

    Balancing Warm Weather and Snow Conditions

    If you’re wondering if you can ski in the summer in Colorado, the answer is yes! While most resorts close in spring, a few remain open during summer months for skiing and snowboarding. The main challenge of skiing in the summer is finding snow that’s still suitable for turns despite the warmer weather.

    The key to balancing warm weather and snow conditions is choosing a resort with high elevation and consistent low temperatures. Resorts like Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain offer summer hours with access to top slopes as high as 13,050 feet above sea level. These areas are known for good snow preservation and fantastic terrain parks for all levels of skiers and riders.

    Choosing the Right Gear and Clothing

    Packing your car for summer skiing requires some thoughtful planning. Bring layers, sunscreen, proper eyewear and clothing that are appropriate for variable weather conditions at high altitudes. It’s important to anticipate temperature swings throughout the day, from chilly morning air to hot afternoons under the sun.

    You will also need gear that is specifically designed for performance on snow, including fat powder or carving skis with sturdy bindings, or light board equipped with fresh traction pads. If you don’t have the necessary gear, fear not – rental shops typically remain open during summertime so you can rent during your trip up to the mountains.

    Staying Safe and Healthy While Summer Skiing

    Skiing or snowboarding in the summer can be physically exhausting, particularly at higher elevations where the thinner atmosphere means less oxygen. It’s essential to listen to your body and take breaks when needed – trying acclimating yourself to altitude by taking some easier turns or runs first. Avoiding alcohol, and drinking plenty of water is also key to avoiding altitude sickness that can derail your trip.

    Most resorts provide ski patrol support during summer months, but due to the smaller crowds it’s important for you to familiarize yourself with signage indicating any small tree wells, bare spots on trails, or possible drop offs. Furthermore, overhead sun creates variable snow conditions across the mountain over the course of the day,making it even more important for skiers to cautiously examine terrain as they move down the slopes.

    “Ski smart, wear sunscreen, bring lots of water.” – Kirkwood Ski Resort

    While warm weather skiing may be outside your comfort zone, with careful planning and attention to detail you can enjoy a unique twist on hitting the slopes:

    • Choose from the handful of resorts still open in summertime
    • Pack accordingly for invariable temperature changes at high altitudes
    • Get fat powder or carving skis, rent if necessary
    • Take it easy adjusting to thinner air at higher elevations
    • Familiarize yourself with safe routes and heed any warning signs posted by the resort
    Now that you’re prepared to hit the slopes even during warmer temperatures, go forth and soak up some sunshine while enjoying your tried-and-true wintertime passion!

    Summer Skiing In Colorado Vs. Winter Skiing – Which Is Better?

    Comparing Snow Conditions and Terrain

    If you plan on skiing in the summer, it’s important to take note of the conditions you can expect. Summer skiing in Colorado is usually limited to just a few locations- Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain. The snow may not be as abundant during this time since there are fewer snowstorms occurring in the summer months. However, the quality of snow in summer can be great for skiing since it tends to be softer and more forgiving than winter snow.

    In contrast, winter skiing in Colorado provides access to more locations with ski resorts like Breckenridge, Vail, and Keystone. During peak season, the mountains are blanketed with snow, creating perfect ski conditions for seasoned skiers.

    When it comes to terrain, summer skiing typically offers only a handful of runs that are much more limited compared to winter runs available at the major resorts. This makes sense considering that snowfall is minimal in the summertime and they cannot compensate with too many runs.

    “The snow during summer is generally going to be better when it comes to playfulness,” says ski racer Bryce Bennett. “You’re not going incredibly fast because the mountain isn’t slick – you can ski anywhere.”

    Weighing the Pros and Cons of Each Season

    Despite its limitations, summer skiing has gained popularity over the years due to its affordability and unique experiences. Lift tickets during the summer are often cheaper than during peak seasons – making it particularly attractive for families seeking an affordable vacation.

    Winter skiing, on the other hand, caters towards expert-level skiing and once-in-a-lifetime experience. While expensive during peak seasons, Colorado’s slopes offer world-class skiing and accommodation that make for exceptional adventures. Winter resorts also provide opportunities for various winter sports activities, such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

    “Summer skiing is attractive because of the price, accessibility, and the milder weather,” says Ariel Goldberg, Director of Marketing at NSCD. “You won’t have to fight crowds or worry about layers upon layers when you’re out on the snow.”

    Finding the Best Time to Ski in Colorado

    The answer entirely depends on your preferences: summer skiing can be a good choice if you are looking for an affordable vacation while still enjoying outdoor recreation; winter provides fantastic skiing conditions, but costs tend to be much higher due to peak seasons demand.

    Experts advise that beginners may find it easier to learn and practice skiing during winters. However, ski schools and instructors operate throughout the year in popular locations like Keystone, Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin, and Vail – ensuring everyone gets proper instruction based on their skill level.

    If you want to experience everything, visiting during shoulder season (November through December) or springtime (March through April) can offer more accessible lodging, less crowded slopes, and some of the best ski conditions Colorado has to offer. Whatever time you choose to visit, be sure to check local weather reports and mountain forecasts before booking.

    “Winter sports enthusiasts should not underestimate the power of UV rays. They are notorious for reflecting off snow, ice, and water,” warns Dr. Linda C. Morrison, a dermatologic surgeon at the University of Michigan Health System. “High-altitude environments can amplify the effect even further.”

    Choosing the Right Type of Skiing for Your Preferences

    For those who prefer challenging terrain and world-class skiing, winter is undoubtedly going to be the best option. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a laidback ski trip or are engaging in winter sports activities beyond skiing like snow tubing and sledding, Summer skiing can also be an enjoyable time.

    But at the end of the day, it all comes down to your preferences when choosing what type of skiing suits you most. Whether it’s carving sleek turns on sun-soaked slopes or gliding through fresh glades of powder as gently falling snowflakes surround you – Colorado offers both summer and winter skiing options that cater to varying skill levels and interests.

    “The smell of hot cocoa with marshmallows was wafting through the streets, people were gathered around fire pits roasting s’mores,” recalls Jonathan Shepherd, a writer for Travel + Leisure. “For me, this is why we come to these mountains – not just skiing but enjoying everything from cozy mountain-lodge dinners and drinks to ice-skating.”

    Exciting Summer Activities To Pair With Your Colorado Skiing Experience

    Hiking and Mountain Biking

    If you think that skiing in Colorado is only for the winter season, then think again. Colorado boasts of stunning mountains and valleys that offer a scenic backdrop for hiking and mountain biking. This summer, why not explore the picturesque trails surrounding ski resorts in Colorado?

    The Breckenridge Resort has an expansive network of hiking and biking trails for beginners and advanced-level adventurers. The trail offerings are amazing, ranging from easy paths through aspen groves to difficult terrains with steep climbs and panoramic vistas.

    If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping experience, Keystone’s Bike Park should be on your list. Covering 55 acres within the resort, it offers over 100 miles of singletrack trails with different skill levels. You can ride with family or friends while taking in the stunning scenery of the Rockies.

    “Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.” -Anatoli Boukreev

    Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking

    Colorado is home to some of the best rivers and rapids in North America, offering exhilarating experiences ideal for thrill-seekers.

    Rafting and kayaking are must-try activities during your summer visit to Colorado. These activities provide a unique way to take in the alpine landscape, especially when rafting along multi-colored gorges surrounded by soaring cliffs and towering peaks.

    The Arkansas River outside Buena Vista town is among Colorado’s top spots for whitewater rafting. It features Class II-IV rapids that ensure an unforgettable adventure for both novice and seasoned paddlers.

    If kayaking is your choice, Colorado has numerous world-class venues to offer. For instance, Clear Creek located about 30 minutes from Denver offers challenging Class V rapids for experienced kayakers who enjoy technical runs and waterfalls.

    “The river is everywhere at once, at the source all around you, linking the earth and sky.” -Frank Waters

    Summer activities in Colorado extend far beyond skiing slopes. Hiking, mountain biking, rafting and kayaking are only a fraction of what this beautiful state has to offer during the warmer months. Visiting ski resorts in Colorado, where these outdoor adventures abound, should be top of your list when planning your next summer vacation.

    How To Save Money On Your Summer Skiing Trip To Colorado

    Planning Ahead and Booking Early

    If you’re planning a summer skiing trip to Colorado, it’s important to book your accommodations and activities well in advance. This allows you to take advantage of early bird discounts and avoid inflated prices during peak seasons. Most ski resorts in Colorado offer their best deals on vacation packages when booked at least six months in advance. So start planning early to make the most of your trip.

    Taking Advantage of Discounts and Packages

    Don’t forget to look for discounted lift tickets, rental equipment, lessons, and other activities before heading to the slopes. One way to get discounted rates is through local shops which often have special deals on ski rentals or passes. Additionally, check online websites like Groupon for popular deals on package releases. It’s also worth looking into multi-day or season pass options since they can be more affordable compared to single-day passes. Remember that every penny counts so do not hesitate to avail the offers while planning for ski trips.

    Bringing Your Own Gear and Equipment

    Renting ski gear is expensive, even in off-seasons. Instead, consider bringing your own gear if you plan to ski regularly. If you don’t want to lug all your snow sports gears with you, packing important items such as boots and outerwear leaving behind small items may save some money in case these are unavailable for rent. Check airline carriers for baggage fees and weigh the costs between shipping versus carrying bags yourself by checking out reviews from experienced travelers about cargo companies to simplify the process and budget efficiently for your whole trip.

    Staying at Affordable Accommodations Outside of Resorts

    You can save quite a bit of money staying outside of resort towns and quickly reach ski slopes from affordable accommodations. Options include camping at nearby National Parks, staying in motels or vacation rental homes away from the resort areas with friends to split costs. Check out Air BnB and other home-sharing apps for good deals that will make your skiing trips relaxing yet budget-friendly.

    • Planning early and taking advantage of discounts is key to saving money on a summer skiing trip to Colorado. Bring your own gear if you plan to ski regularly to avoid high rental costs.
    • Staying outside of resort towns can be more budget-friendly without sacrificing access to ski areas. Don’t forget to check reviews beforehand so you know what fits best within your traveling needs
    “Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face.” -Dave Barry

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is it possible to ski in Colorado during the summer?

    Yes, it is possible to ski in Colorado during the summer. Many ski resorts offer skiing on their glaciers and snowfields, which can be accessed via chairlifts or gondolas. The ski season usually runs from June to August, depending on the resort and weather conditions. However, it’s important to note that summer skiing is typically limited to intermediate and advanced skiers due to the harder snow conditions.

    Are there any ski resorts in Colorado that operate during the summer months?

    Yes, several ski resorts in Colorado operate during the summer months. These include Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, and Breckenridge. These resorts offer skiing and snowboarding on their snowfields and glaciers, as well as other outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and zip-lining. The summer skiing season usually runs from June to August, depending on the resort and weather conditions.

    What are the conditions like for skiing in Colorado during the summer?

    The conditions for skiing in Colorado during the summer can vary depending on the resort and weather conditions. Typically, the snow is harder and icier than during the winter season, which can make it more challenging for beginners. However, the snow is usually well-groomed and there are fewer crowds, which means more space to ski. The weather is usually sunny and warm, but can also be unpredictable, so it’s important to check the forecast before heading out.

    What types of skiing opportunities are available in Colorado during the summer?

    During the summer, skiing opportunities in Colorado are limited to the snowfields and glaciers at ski resorts. These areas offer skiing and snowboarding on groomed runs, as well as terrain parks and halfpipes for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. The skiing is typically geared towards intermediate and advanced skiers due to the harder snow conditions. However, some resorts also offer skiing lessons and programs for beginners.

    What is the best time of the summer season to go skiing in Colorado?

    The best time of the summer season to go skiing in Colorado is typically in June or early July, when the snow is still in good condition and there are fewer crowds. As the summer progresses, the snow can become harder and icier, which can make it more challenging for beginners. It’s also important to check the weather forecast before heading out, as summer thunderstorms can cause closures or delays at ski resorts.

    What other outdoor activities are available in Colorado during the summer besides skiing?

    Colorado offers a wide range of outdoor activities during the summer, besides skiing. These include hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, fishing, camping, and rock climbing. The state is also home to numerous national parks and monuments, including Rocky Mountain National Park and Mesa Verde National Park. Additionally, many ski resorts offer summer activities like zip-lining, alpine slides, and scenic chairlift rides.

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