If your family of snow bunnies sheds tears when the snow melts and the skis get stored away, we’ve got great news for you. An increasing number of top ski resorts have invested big bucks to become year-round destinations for active families, offering a ton of fabulous outdoor experiences that’ll make your kids forget about hurtling down the moguls at top speed. Whether your gang wants to zipline, hike, spot wildlife, swoop down alpine slides or jump in a lake, there’s plenty on tap to tire everyone out. Bonus: Mountain vacation spots tend to offer bargain rates as the temperatures rise. So, head (back) to the hills to these ski resorts that are better in the summer.
1. Whiteface Lake Placid – Lake Placid, NY
In this town — host to two Olympic Games — kids can channel their inner athletes on a professional bobsled run. Check out the Summer Jumping Series as freestyle aerialists soar 40 feet into the air and into a deep pool of water. Pick up an Olympic Sites Passport for access to gondola rides and all the official sites, along with discounts to attractions including the Whiteface Adventure Zone, which features bungee-assisted trampolines, climbing walls and slides. Hike High Falls Gorge for jaw-dropping views, or hop into a 4×4 for an alpine expedition along Whiteface’s rugged mountain roads.
Recommended Resort: Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort
2. Stowe Mountain Lodge – Stowe, VT
Perched atop Mount Mansfield, adventure awaits your brood. Ride the gondola to the top, where thrill seekers will love the world’s fastest ziplining experience as you soar above Vermont’s lush forest canopy. Take part in the Tree Top Adventure Course, featuring 60 aerial tree-to-tree connections mixed with balancing elements. Go horseback riding through open pastures surrounded by Blue Spruce, or learn how to fly-fish for rainbow trout.
Recommended Resort: Stowe Mountain Lodge
3. Whistler Blackcomb Mountain – Whistler, British Columbia
If your gang loves mountain biking, Whistler Blackcomb is an ideal choice. The expansion of its world-renowned bike park sees 13 new miles of trails this summer. You also won’t want to miss the new Whistler Peak Suspension Bridge, with its multi-tiered viewing platform and cantilevered walkway offering spectacular 360-degree vistas. Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for awesome glacier views, or try a TreeTrek tour for a family-friendly ropes course in the forest. Not into heights? The Blackcomb Base Adventure Zone offers a variety of family activities, including the Westcoaster Luge, electric go-carts, a bungee trampoline, batting cages and mini-golf. You can also take guided tours of bear viewing areas and feeding sites.
Recommended Resort: Fairmont Chateau Whistler
4. Aspen Snowmass – Aspen, CO
Popular with year-round endurance and mountaineering athletes, Aspen is also a go-to destination for families who love leisurely outdoor summer activities like still water SUPing, and horseback riding. If your kids are up for some adrenalin rushes, the Roaring Fork River offers whitewater rafting, while the Aspen Snowmass resort features more than 9 miles of downhill mountain-biking trails for riders of all abilities — many that are served by lifts up to the top. Sign up for a mountain boarding lesson and explore the open trails on long boards, and don’t miss the newly expanded ‘Lost Forest’, featuring Breathtaker, a new alpine coaster, plus a guided canopy zipline tour, a tree line challenge course, a climbing wall and 2.4 miles of hiking trails.
Recommended Resort: Limelight Hotel
5. Northstar California Resort – Lake Tahoe, CA
Sophisticated yet relaxing, Northstar California Resort is nestled in the mountains of Tahoe, and is truly a watersports paradise. Kayaking, waterskiing, cliff jumping — take your pick. On land, families can explore 43 bike trails accessible from three lifts, plus 15 hiking trails where you’re welcome to bring the family dog as long as he or she is leashed. Other family-friendly options include roller skating and gem panning. Interested in learning more about local flora and fauna? Book a naturalist tour and sneak a little education in your vacation.
Recommended Resort: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
6. Sunday River Resort – Newry, ME
Sunday River offers a wide variety of summer adventures like an 18-hole disc golf course, scenic chairlift rides, twin ziplines, a huge climbing wall and a bungee trampoline where kiddos can jump 20 feet high — all at the resort’s Mountain Park. Of course, there are mountain biking options galore, including electric bikes for tired little legs. From early June through mid-August, Sunday River also hosts the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools with beginner clinics in archery, kayaking, and SUP. Families can also take leisurely horseback rides or head out on a pontoon boat. And don’t forget to check out some of the pristine swimming holes nearby, including Frenchman’s Hole, Honey Hole and Emerald Pool.
Recommended Resort: The Bethel Inn Resort
7. Timberline Lodge – Government Camp, OR
As the only Pacific Northwest ski resort to be designated a National Historic Landmark, Timberline Lodge is a special place. One ride on the Magic Mile Chairlift up 7,000 feet to the peak of Mt. Hood and the family will never want to leave, especially when the kids discover that Timberline has the most exciting summer snow scene around — sign up to ski or snowboard under the hot sun at a summer camp! Hike the Pacific Crest Trail for outstanding views, or wander through Mt. Hood’s National Forest — the trails begin right outside the lodge doors. Coming soon: a lift-assisted bike park, which will open even more adventurous possibilities for families.
Recommended Resort: Timberline Lodge
8. Attitash Mountain Resort – Bartlett, NH
In picturesque Bartlett, located in the Mount Washington Valley of Northern New Hampshire, your gang can catch some outdoor thrills on the super-fun Mountain Coaster, or on the longest alpine slide in America, where parents can ride tandem with younger kids. Grab lunch aboard the Conway Scenic Railway for a restful treat and awesome views of nature. Other family-friendly options include hiking on Wildcat Mountain to see Thompson Falls — enjoy a picnic lunch at the summit after a relaxing gondola ride — or jumping into one of several hot ponds — such as Sawyer Pond. Little ones will love StoryLand, the most popular attraction in the region. Finish off the day by beating the heat on one of several mountain waterslides, or take in some outdoor music on Saturday afternoons.
Recommended Resort: Red Jacket Mountain View Resort
9. Park City Mountain Resort – Park City, UT
Got kids that like to compete against each other? Let them race side by side down one of the nation’s best zipline courses, the Flying Eagle. The mountain’s all-in-one Alpine Day Pass offers unlimited rides on the chairlift and bike haul, plus the 3,000-foot alpine slide and toboggan-style rollercoaster. The pass also includes access to the tamer kids’ zipline, plus mini-golf, tubing, rope and challenge courses, gem panning and a climbing wall. The resort also hosts summer adventure camps for kids, and features miles of cross-country bike and hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. Two especially fun treks: the Fantasy Ridge Trail and the Wasatch Crest Trail. Or, take a one-hour canopy tour of the canyon for a birds-eye view.
Recommended Resort: Waldorf Astoria Park City
10. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort – Jackson Hole, WY
Up for some Wild West-style experiences? Try tandem paragliding high above Teton Village overlooking the pristine beauty of Jackson Hole; as long as your child weighs 40 pounds, the sky is literally the limit! Enjoy the Grand Adventure Park, where your brood can ride the tram to the Rock Springs Overlook. Go mountain biking, hop on the trampoline and navigate a ropes course. For adrenaline junkies, try freefalling from a drop tower. The resort’s newest outdoor adventure, Via Ferrata, takes participants 12 and up across suspended bridges and along granite walls with an experienced guide for an assisted climbing activity the whole family will love. Be sure to catch the Jackson Hole Rodeo, held Wednesdays and Fridays.
Recommended Resort: Hotel Terra
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