Ski resorts are naturally intended for a place to ski. But, as the snow disappears and winter sports gear is stowed away, many of the world’s best ski resorts don’t shutter their doors for the offseason. Instead, it’s time to welcome summertime visitors in what is the high season for many international destinations with all sorts of activities to enjoy in the great outdoors. Nevertheless, for many other top ski resorts, the traditional summer months are actually the best time of year to enjoy winter sports. Here’s a look at just five of the world’s best ski resorts to visit in the summer.
Consistently mentioned as one of the world’s premier ski resorts, Alpe d’Huez may be as storied for its winter sports as it is for its summer activities. That’s because this fabulous resort that once hosted bobsled events for the 1968 Winter Olympics is also recognized as part of one of the most famous mountain stages of the Tour de France in July. Not surprisingly, bike rentals are in high demand at the resort, especially for amateur cyclists who want to ride parts of the same legendary route as the pros. Alpe d’Huez also offers a host of other outdoor activities over the summer, such as canoeing and kayaking, horseback riding, swimming and tennis.
As Japan’s largest and most visited ski resort by international guests, Niseko also leaves out the welcome mat over the summer. This is especially true when the rainy season ends by mid-July and average temperatures reach a peak through August. Niseko is located on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, which holds the country’s largest concentration of ski resorts and also includes the nearby city of Sapporo, the first site to host a Winter Olympics outside of Europe and North America. While all of the regional ski resorts are lauded for a wealth of summer activities, Niseko, the so-called “Aspen of the East,” offers a far wider variety of dining and lodging options, along with popular outdoor activities like golf, river rafting, biking and hiking. Of the four resorts comprising Niseko, the Grand Hirafu, known for having the “world’s best powder snow,” is the top choice for activities, entertainment and accommodations.
One of the most unique ski resorts on the planet is actually located on the property of one of the world’s largest shopping malls in the middle of the desert. Located in the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, with 22,500 square meters (over 5.5 acres) of ski area and featuring 279-foot-tall indoor mountain with five slopes and a quad chair lift and tow lift. The extraordinary indoor snow resort also offers ski and snowboard lessons, the world’s largest Snow Park equipped with a twin-track bobsled run, a penguin show and so much more. First opened in 2005, Ski Dubai is open year ’round, making it a very attractive family friendly spot to visit during the summer. Visitors looking for overnight accommodations can actually stay at one of the five hotels within the Mall of the Emirates, including the five-star Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates and five-star Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel. The largest and most populous city of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is also home Burj Khalifa, which at 2,722 feet tall is the world’s tallest skyscraper and a major tourist attraction.
Unlike many other international destinations, the ski season in South America is typically from mid-June to mid-October. Therefore, “summer” camps at Valle Nevado are for learning how to ski or snowboard instead of soccer or football lessons. Located in the heart of the Andes Mountains, Valle Nevado is perfectly suited for skiers of all levels and offers 7,000 acres of ski area, making it the largest resort in Chile and in all of South America. For visitors who want to enjoy the true summer months of Chile, the time to visit is from December through February, when activities like hiking, biking and horseback riding are the norm. Just 42 miles east of the capital and largest city of Santiago, Valle Nevado can be reached by private vehicle or shuttle in about 90 minutes.
The setting for the 2010 Winter Olympics and home to the highest and longest ski lift in the world, Whistler has all the makings for an unforgettable summer vacation. Located just two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler has been ranked among the best ski resorts in North America for more than 25 years. However, it’s during months when there is a far more diverse collection of things to do, such as mountain biking at Whistler Mountain Bike Park, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, white water rafting and golfing at championship-caliber courses designed by golf legends like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. What’s more, Whistler Village offers a variety of upscale overnight accommodations including Adara Hotel and Carleton Lodge, a number of upscale restaurants, luxurious spas and more than 200 retail shops.
Related: Outdoorman’s Guide To South America