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Mountain Escapes

Jul/08/2023 / by Lindsey Galloway

Cool Down on the Mountain

Escape the summer heat in these 3 ski destinations

Who needs snow? These 3 ski spots make spectacular summer destinations.

A ski resort may be the last place you think of for summer, but with world-class restaurants, blissfully cooler temperatures, and stunning scenery, mountain towns make the ideal warm-weather getaway. We visited three of the world’s top ski destinations in the quieter summer season to report on where to eat, drink, stay, and play. 

Vail, Colorado

United States

While it may look like an old quaint European village, Vail was actually founded in the 1960s. Known as home to one of the world’s best and largest ski resorts, Vail doesn’t lose any of its charm in the summer months, while its walkable villages offer no shortage of high- and low-impact activities. 

Play: Visit Vail Stables to hop atop a horse for a ride through stunning aspen groves. After a long-ride, wind down with the baby goats on-site or sign-up for a baby goat yoga session. vailstables.com

Stay: When it comes to the ultimate luxury lodge, we love The Sebastian for its cozy but classy interiors, central location, and incredibly friendly and helpful staff. thesebastianvail.com

See: The Vail Scenic Gondola runs in the summer months, so it’s a great way to get up 10,000 feet high for some spectacular views, have lunch on the mountaintop, or get off and take a hike back down. Lift tickets start at $55. vail.com

Eat: Get a taste of Europe and order the pork schnitzel at the German-Austrian staple Alpenrose. Don’t leave before ordering some decadent Black Forest cake and a signature mini-beer, served up in tiny ski boot glasses. alpenrose-vail.com

Whistler, British Columbia

Canada

All Season’s Grill, Caramba Restaurant

Host to the mountain-based events during the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Whistler still retains an Olympic Village feel that makes everyone in the world feel welcome. With the freshest fish and produce thanks to its coastal adjacency, the town makes an ideal destination for foodies, while adventurers can’t get enough of hiking and biking the steep peaks with epic views. 

Play: The ski mountain is a favorite among mountain biking enthusiasts, who take the Bike Gondola up and tear down the forested groves for an adrenaline high like no other. whistler.com

Stay: Nothing beats the scenery out your window at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, only a 15-minute walk from the sparkling Lost Lake. Soak up the summer sun sitting poolside or jump in one of the resort’s three hot tubs. fourseasons.com/whistler

See: Summer is an ideal time to see the mountain’s 60 resident black bears and their cubs. Jump on a 4×4 for a Bear Safari across the mountain, starting at $199. whistler.com

Eat: The gorgeous dining room at Araxi in Whistler Village sets a romantic scene with fresh flowers and original paintings, but the real star of the show is the Pacific seafood like halibut and sockeye salmon, served alongside veggies grown at local farms. araxi.com

Dolomites

Italy

Image credits: Unsplash

Only a two-hour drive from the Venice Airport, the Italian Alps stay cool all summer long (rarely surpassing 75 degrees), and offer gorgeous hiking trails to catch glimpses of still snow-covered jagged peaks. Its unique cultural heritage that comes from its history as Austrian territory provides just as much intrigue as the natural world and plenty of interesting culinary options to boot. 

Play: Understand the unique natural and human history of this mountain region with a trip to the Messner Mountain Museum, occupying a fort that was first built during World War 1. From its summit plateau, see unparalleled views of the range’s largest peaks like Monte Schiara, Monte Agnèr, and Monte Pelmo. messner-mountain-museum.it

Stay: Recently renovated in 2019, five-star and family-owned Hotel Granbaita sits in the heart of Selva di Val Gardena, the highest village in the Dolomites. After a restful sleep in one of the comfortable rooms, indulge in the 2000-sqm Savinela Spa which includes a saline tub where guests can weightlessly float. hotelgranbaita.com

See: Rent a rowboat on the beautiful Lago di Braies or hike the 2.5-mile trail that hugs its emerald shores and you’ll understand why it’s called the Jewel of the Dolomites. la-palafitta.com

Eat: No trip to Italy would be complete without indulging in a little wine, and there’s few better places to do that than at COCUN, the cellar restaurant at food resort Ciasa Salares. The cellar hosts more than 1900 labels and 24,000 bottles from every corner of the world, served alongside unique regional dishes like eel, pigeon, and aubergine risotto. ciasasalares.it

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