The dog days of summer. For most this is an exciting time of year. Outdoor adventures like river surfing. Sending it on your mountain bike. Or just soaking up the sun on a beach somewhere. And yet there are some (like us) that didn’t get enough last winter. That putting away their skis or snowboards is too painful. From a hidden gem in Montana to the iconic bucket list trips, we got you covered on where to go summer skiing in North America.
What We Call “Summer Skiing”
Before we jump into the list, let’s talk about what is the definition of “summer skiing.” We’re talking about those ski areas with guaranteed skiing after the summer solstice (i.e. June 21st). There is more than a dozen places that you could go skiing in June like Arapahoe Basin, Palisades Tahoe, or Mammoth Mountain, but it’s not a normal occurrence for them to push beyond the this date. Rather, these are the ski areas you can go skiing in July or even August.
Level Set Expectations
Let’s be forthright. Summer skiing in North America isn’t going to be perfect. Most of these on the list are either on a glacier, snow field, indoors, or on a material like neveplast (more on that later). Usually you get about half a day even if you know how to combat sticky snow. The goal of summer skiing isn’t about making tons of laps but to work on technique and get better for next season. That’s why a lot of these you can’t even access as a normal patron, but rather need to sign up for a camp.
Out of any on this list, the most guaranteed for real skiing ON SNOW is Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. Due to the mountain’s location, elevation, and topography, it collects A LOT of the white stuff during the colder winter months. On big snow years, it’s not uncommon for the Palmer snow field (where summer skiing happens) to reach depths of 30 – 50 FEET deep. We’re not talking a short lift either. Two high speed lifts give you access to over two MILES of skiable terrain, covering 2,616 vertical feet.
Summer Camps – The Way To Go
Growing up in the Midwest in the early 90’s, all the snowboard films included a segment of the pros shredding up at Timberline. Big booters, monster rails, and summer camps filled with teenagers from around the country enjoying it all. I had a few lucky friends that got to experience it, and they talked about how amazing it was to get coached by their idols. While there is a public terrain park, the private one accessed via the summer camps is the one you see in so many ski and snowboard films. And with the lifts stopping at 2 pm, you have a TON of time to enjoy other stuff in the afternoon before the sunsets.
Find The Right One For You
If you do decide to go the summer camp route, be sure to pick one that fits what you’re looking for. Serious ski racers can choose from Tichy Racing, Ligety-Weibrecht Ski Camp, National Alpine Ski Camp, and Keely’s Camp. Windell’s Summer Camp founded in ’89 has evolved into the premier freestyle summer ski camp in the world. And for snowboarders, it’s High Cascade Snowboard Camp.
As Timberline is to the United States for summer skiing, Whistler Blackcomb is Canada’s destination. The Horstman glacier is where the pros and future Olympians get their skills dialed for the next season. And at the lower elevations, you’ll find some of the best mountain biking terrain in the world. As of 2022, summer glacier skiing is NOT open to the public. That means if you want to access glacier skiing, you are required to sign up to one of the following camps:
Woodward At Copper Mountain
The ONLY on snow option for summer skiing in Colorado. How can that be? Instead of letting the snow melt away and just run down the mountain after the lifts close, they begin snow farming. At some spots, the terrain park gets as deep as 80 FEET, allowing them to re-open during the summer months.
Similar to Whistler, the only way to access it is via a week-long summer camp. Besides the early morning shred fest with rails, boxes, and kickers to hit, the off-the-hill activities are on point. The 19,400 square foot barn features trampolines, foam pits, spring floor, and a variety of other “tools” that coaches can help you progress to the next level once the snow starts flying.
Out of any summer skiing destination on our list, this might be the most unique. Located on the mighty Beartooth Plateau on the border between Wyoming and Montana, due to the heavy snowfall the road to it is impassable in the winter months. But as the Montana Department of Transportation re-opens Beartooth Pass typically around Memorial Day, this one-of-a kind starts up their lifts for summer skiing. Sadly, for 2022 Mother Nature didn’t cooperate so we will have to wait until next year to experience it.
Budget Friendly Option – Dry Slopes
We get it. You’re saving your hard-earned dollars for a big winter trip or just a summer of fun beach side. Another option for those on a tight budget but still want to do some summer skiing – dry slopes.
What Are Dry Slopes?
Instead of skiing on snow, you’re skiing on something that’s similar to a plastic carpet. These square honeycomb blocks of bristles are interlinked with each other making for a soft smooth surface to slide down. Our friend at a Brave Ski Mom say that it “skis like natural snow, albeit hardpack snow (but without any ice.)”
And Now There Is Only One
Before the pandemic, there were three resorts that offered up summer skiing via dry slopes. This included the quaint and cozy Midwest resort Buck Hill which became the first to have the Italian made Neveplast snow surface in North America followed by Powder Ridge in Connecticut. As of 2022, the only one that’s still alive and kicking is the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre. Supposedly, Snowflex is the closest thing to the real stuff. While we haven’t experienced it ourselves, we’d love to hear from anyone that has.
Take It Indoors
Besides dry slopes, another option is to take it indoors. Since 2019, Big SNOW America in East Rutherford, New Jersey is the one and only choice. There are big plans though to create more than 20 ski domes across the country in urban locations including one in northern Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C.
Any Interest For Chile Next Summer 2023?
All that being said, there is no replacement to the real stuff. Last winter we headed up to Terrace BC with a few of our readers for some heli-skiing. Northern Escape Heli Ski was beyond words and one of the greatest experiences of our lives. Our next big bucket list trip? We’re thinking of heading down to Chile in the summer of 2023 – Here’s a taste of the potential trip.
Let us know if this is something you might be interested in.