advertisement

When the snow melts and the snowboarders jump on skateboards and hot chocolate is replaced by iced tea, the winter wonderlands don't become any less wondrous. No, the ski resorts shift gears and become summer havens for adventure travelers, health conscious fitness lovers, hikers, white rapid rafters, fisherman, and golf and tennis nuts who power walk and spring up the slopes with the same smile as skiers fly down them.

Vail Mountain in Colorado is one of the premiere summer resorts in the country. With activities ranging from rafting, horseback riding, kayaking, hiking, rock-climbing, biking, Vail is complete summer activity destination for the outdoor-oriented traveler. Add world-class spas, high-style fashion houses and five-star dining, then take away the jet-set skiing types, and summer Vail becomes a mellow alternative to its winter hot-spot. For a complete look at the complete offerings of summer Vail including dining, shopping and transportation information, check out www.vailalways.com.

The site also has an excellent reservation engine that allows you to choose your dates before giving you a choice of hotels and prices relating to your travel requirements. For a three-day trip in June, we found accommodations at the Vail Racquet Club Town homes and Condominiums for just $135 per night for double occupancy. Tucked away in the Vail woods, the hotel and condominium facility has a large outdoor pool, a work-out room, 14 outdoor tennis courts, fitness and Yoga classes, an on-premise bar/lounge/restaurant as well as a long list of in-room facilities and comforts. Several other hotel options are available.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is an incredibly quaint and beautiful ski town at the base of Grand Teton National Park. Summers in Jackson are relaxing and fun-filled as the Tetons become a Mecca for hikers and rock climbers looking for incredible climbs and beautiful local vistas. With many hotels to choose from, remember that Jackson Hole is so coveted by outdoor enthusiasts the summer rates can often exceed the ski season rates. One hotel to check out is the Cowboy Village Resort (tel. 800/329-9205; www.jacksonhole.net/properties/downtown/cowboyvillage.htm). Just four blocks from downtown and a fifteen minute drive from the base of the Tetons, the Cowboy Village is a series of 82 log cabins that sleep from one to four people. With outdoor barbecues, two outdoor hot tubs, and several public transportation bus stops on the property, the Cowboy Village is popular lodge for first-time and repeat visitors to the Jackson area. Summer rates start at $75 per night and increase to $190. Don't forget, Jackson Hole sits about an hour's drive north to Yellowstone National Park where you can see Old Faithful spout.

Further east, in the Vermont mountains, the village of Stowe is a growing summer vacation getaway for New England-savvy travelers. Centered with a colonial church with a high steeple, Stowe's main attraction is a main road leading to the mountain filled with shops, hotels, restaurants and bars. Surrounded by bike trails, mountain bike areas, swimming holes and a well known "recreation trail" where joggers and walkers exercise daily, Stowe is known for its clean air and good living.

For a traditional Vermont summer retreat, the Stowe Inn (tel. 802/253-4030; www.stoweinn.com) has affordable summer rate specials and plenty of country history. Just a quick walk under a covered bridge to the village of Stowe, the Stowe Inn is on the list of National Registered Historic Places. Furnished in 19th century period pieces, the Inn is a nice break from the hectic pace of today's city life. Its restaurant is known for hearty New England cuisine. Summer rates, which work from June 12 to September 15, 2005, start at $99 for a midweek stay increasing to a starting cost of $129 on the weekends.

These are just a few of the summer offerings from winter ski resorts. Check your favorite mountain area for summer deals.