Top 10 Places to Ski and Snowboard in Summer
Some of us simply can't get enough skiing in the five or so months of winter the northern U.S. has to offer. Fear not, there's a whole other hemisphere in which it snows. To ski every month of the year, you may also need to head north to colder regions or super high in search of glaciers...unless you call skiing on patches of poop-hued snow the size of a city bus skiing. So in honor of never-ending winter and never-relenting powder hounds, the Powder Feed's last blog post of the season offers the gift that keeps on giving: the top ten places to ski in summer. Don't forget the sunscreen and happy turns.
• Ski Portillo, Chile
One of the U.S. Ski Team's favorite summer haunts, Portillo has killer steeps, wide-open alpine terrain, famed dry powder, plus views of Aconcagua and the glowing glacial Laguna del Inca. And because the resort famously only accommodates 450 people at a time, lift lines are virtually unheard of. The season runs June 19-Oct. 2.
• Timberline Lodge & Ski Area, Mt. Hood, Oregon
Mt. Hood's Palmer Snowfield retains schuss-worthy snow all year round, which is why Timberline stays open throughout the summer and claims the only year-round lift-served terrain in the country. Beware of the kid racers mach-ing down the hill.
• Zermatt, Switzerland
While the rest of Europe is hitting the Greek isles, Zermatt's Theodul glacier, just under the shadow of the Matterhorn, stays open for die-hard skiers (and European national ski team training) all summer. So sure they are of their high altitude and efficiently run ski area, those Swiss offer an "absolute snow guarantee." Not bad.
• Las Leñas, Argentina
If 50-degree chutes and ultra-dry powder happen to be your thing, rethink the beach vaca and consider Las Leñas. Situated at 7,400 feet about a 90-minute flight from Buenos Aires, its the epicenter of lift-served South American steeps, with rocky chutes and steep open bowls aplenty.
• Valle Nevado, Chile
Less than 40 miles from Santiago, Valle Nevado is helping establish Chile solidly in the vanguard of South American skiing. This season, the resort is unveiling a host of improvements, from hotel remodels to a new state-of-the-art rental shop. But the real attraction is the snow, which, at 10,000 feet, tends to stick around quite nicely indeed.
• Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand
Comprised of two ski areas—Whakapapa and Turoa—Ruapehu is the largest ski resort in New Zealand. That isn't saying all that much actually, since New Zealand's resorts tend to be small. (Together, they spread across almost 2,600 acres.) The good news is they have a lot of heart. Seriously. Kiwi skiers are anything if not enthusiastic, and the culture is less about attitude than goofiness and pure unadulterated fun.
• Mt. Hutt, New Zealand
Mt. Hutt may not be very big—some 25 trails in fact—but it's worth the trip just for the views. On a clear day, spot the Pacific stretching beyond the plains in one direction and the southern Alps in the other. A few double-black chutes, some hike-to terrain, and locals BBQ tailgating in the parking lot sweeten the pot.
• Thredbo, Australia
Let's be honest, Australia isn't exactly renowned as a ski destination. But if you're there already, you'll find a novel ski experience at Thredbo. Situated on the flanks of the country's tallest peak, Mt. Kosciuszko, Thredbo gets a mere 80 or so inches of snow a year, but the resort has the biggest snowmaking operation in the southern hemisphere. And who can argue with racing by exotic gum trees?
• Tordrillo Mountains of the Alaska Range, Alaska
Chugach Powder Guides runs Kings and Corn packages from Tordrillo Mountain Lodge through early July. Consider this bang for your buck: five days of fishing for king salmons, skiing late-season corn and whitewater rafting, all under the deep blue summer sky and with the help of, yup, your very own helicopter. At $8,650 per person, it ain't cheap, but you gets what you pays for.
• Blackcomb Glacier, British Columbia
It takes about 45 minutes to take the three lifts and bus up to Blackcomb Glacier, but the combo of summer weather and soft glacier skiing is nothing short of brilliant. Watch all the tykes at summer camp, race a few lines yourself, then head off for the next activity in Whistler's summer playground: downhill biking, hiking, or beer swilling at the base area?