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Thirty years ago the most a ski resort could muster in the off-season summer months was an Alpine Slide luge-type high speed ride down the mountain popular with kids and teens and the occasional bike tour. Times have certainly changed. Nowadays, most ski areas are thriving summertime resorts with hiking, golf, tennis, mountain biking, rock climbing, and cultural hotbeds with summer theaters, food festivals, outdoor music venues and hotels built for year round activities with big swimming pools.

In Vermont, Stowe Mountain (tel. 800/253-4754; www.summer.stowe.com/activities) has an entire website dedicated to summer rituals. Mountain activities include hiking, that alpine slide we talked about, a bungee jumping machine, a zig-zagging mountain toll road, and a gondola ride. So you can take advantage of all these mountain activities in one packed day, Stowe offers an "Attraction Package" costing $52 for adults and $46 for juniors or seniors. The package includes three Alpine Slide rides, one round-trip on the Gondola and two bungee trampoline jumps per person. Stowe's tennis facility, the Inn at the Mountain Tennis Club, offers summer specials for court rental times and lessons. An individual monthly membership costs $100 with a discount on tennis lessons available for $40 for members and $50 for non-members or the general public. Semi-private lessons (couples welcome) cost $50 per couple for members and $60 for the general public. Group lessons and clinics are also available. Court rental time costs just $2 an hour for non-members and nothing for members. Stowe also has a golf course at the Stowe Country Club with stay and play packages starting at approximately $119 per night that include one night accommodation, greens fees and a cart rental.

Lake Tahoe's North Star (tel. 800/GONORTH; www.northstarattahoe.com/summer/index.asp) has several different packages offering savings on golf, kayaking, shopping and tennis. Of course, Lake Tahoe is already an active summer community with water skiing, jet skiing, boating and hiking. A stay and play golf package comes to around $62 per day or $124 per two for a studio apartment with two rounds of golf per room, two nights' accommodations, and use of a golf cart. The package is offered weekdays with some date restrictions around summer holidays. A weekend package is available for slightly more money coming at $85 per person day or $169 for two. The package includes the same as the above. Kayaking packages with overnight stays begin at $62 per person or $124 per two people. A two night minimum stay is mandatory. The package includes one three hour kayak rental per person from Tahoe Paddle and Oar and a $10 coupon per person good fro redemption at the Martis Valley Grille. If you decide not to use the kayak rental, you can exchange the three hour rental coupon for a $25 Resort gift card. The kayak package is good through September 4, 2006 with the golf packages valid through August 26, 2006. Mountain bikers beware. The Mountain Bike trails at Northstar are closed this summer as they supe-up the tracks for next summer.

Park City, Utah has a Summer International Music Festival (tel. 435/649-5309; www.pcmusicfestival.com) that has been around for the last twenty years. Taking place from June 27 to July 24, 2006, the festival is a who's who of international classical musicians. This year's line-up is currently being finalized, last year's roster included violinists Philippe Djokic and Arturo Delmoni and the acclaimed Korean pianist Jee-Won Oh. While the line-up isn't final, ticket prices are. You can purchase tickets online at www.pcmusicfestival.com/tickets.html with regular adult 10-punch cards going for $150 and 6-punch cards costing $90. Prices are reduced for seniors. The punch cards grant you admission into the events of your choice and can be used for a similar music festival in the fall. Single tickets to individual events can be purchased at the door of the event for $20.

Park City (tel. 800/453-1360; www.parkcityinfo.com) has some "Hot Summer" deals at many area hotels offering discount prices on mid-week and weekend stays throughout the summer. If you travel before May 31, 2006, spring specials include a three night minimum stay at the Changing Seasons Condos for $59 per night for a one bedroom at the base of the Canyons Ski Resort with views of the Wasatch Mountains. The Park City Lodge has a summer special offering a fourth night free with regular rates hovering around $139 per night. See all the specials at www.parkcityinfo.com/hotdeals/travel.asp. Fly fishing, horseback riding, white water rafting and other adventure-oriented activities are easy to find around Park City, as are great shops, restaurants and live music.

Bear Mountain State Park (tel. 845/786-2701; www.hudsonriver.com/bearmtn.htm) has long been a winter wonderland close to New York City. Only a fifty minute drive from New York, Bear Mountain is along a route that takes you through the environs surrounding the Storm King Art Center (tel. 845/534-3115; www.stormking.org), a vast sculpture garden where people picnic and enjoy the outdoor art scene. With ice skating, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing and other winter sports possible at Bear Mountain State Park, the area is also known for spectacular nature walks, a large swimming pool, paddle boats, a zoo, and picnic area. If you don't have a car, you can take the Metro North commuter train to the Peekskill Station and then a $25 dollar taxi ride to the park. The park is open everyday of the year from 8am till dusk. Bear Mountain, where many a New York City kid first stepped on skis, was named because the mountain resembles a bear. The area is steeped in Revolutionary War folklore and only a short ride to West Point. Parking is only $6 at the park with admissions for hiking and other activities free. The pool, which overlooks the valley below, costs $2 for adults and $1 for children.

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