In June I was lucky enough to attend the Travel Blogger Exchange Conference (TBEX) in Colorado, where I met many lovely travel bloggers including Allison Laypath. Allison is a family travel writer at Tips for Family Trips, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She and her husband took their first child on a two-week road trip when he was four weeks old and they have been traveling as a family ever since. Allison loves all types of travel, but especially road trips, national parks and travel within her home state of Utah. Today, Allison has graciously agreed to share her favorite summer fun activities at some top mountain resorts in Colorado (including my family’s favorite, Keystone) and Utah. I know by the end of July, I’m starting to get a little tired of the same old, same old, so these ideas make for a refreshing change – in fact I may just seek out some similar fun when we are in Vermont next week. Thanks Allison!
Ski resorts are not just winter destinations. With their scenic mountain settings and cooler summer temperatures, they offer a fun way to escape city heat and smog during the hottest days of summer. Many top mountain resorts have transformed themselves into year-round destinations with festivals, zip lines, alpine slides, scenic gondola rides, mountain biking, hiking and even summer snow tubing. Let’s take a look at three of the best in Utah and Colorado.
My day went from O.K. to awesome after our first ride on Park City’s Alpine Coaster. Screaming around this coaster’s curves on a sled at 30 miles per hour was terrifying – in a good way.
Please click on photos to view full-size versions.
With 3,000 feet of track, Park City’s long alpine slide is fun too. And the ZipRider zip line is exhilerating. I had never tried a zip line before and I don’t like heights or free falls, but I loved ZipRider. My eight-year-old thought the Flying Eagle zip line was too tame, but it was perfect for my cautious five-year-old.
Salt Lake City locals retreat to Park City year-round for shopping, dining and recreation. Park City is only about 30 minutes away from the metro area, making it easy to escape to the mountains for a few hours, or a few days.
Our family tried the Scenic Lift rides at Keystone Resort this summer and it would be difficult not to appreciate the panoramic views of the Continental Divide, Lake Dillon, and pretty much everything else from an elevation of over 11,000 feet.
Keystone is also the home of the summer tubing hill. It has now closed due to warm weather, but it was open in mid-June during our visit. And I saw so many bikes and scenic bike paths during our stay in Keystone that I wished I had more time to rent a bike and explore.
Keystone is located about an hour west of Denver just a few miles from Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and other top mountain resorts.
We shared the aerial tram with two summer snowboarders on our last trip to Snowbird. We enjoyed the spectacular scenery and a few snowballs before my husband and young son took the tram down. My daughter and I hiked down to the ski lift, where we enjoyed a long and scenic open-air ride down the mountain.
Snowbird is located less than 30 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City and hosts free Family Flicks every Friday evening and the free Cool Air Concert Series every Saturday evening through the summer. Oktoberfest is one of Snowbird’s biggest events and it will be held on weekends throughout the fall, beginning on August 18.
When the summer heat gets you down, plan a trip to one of these resorts for cool outdoor fun.
Ways to save
The only downside to many of these activities is cost. The summer tubing hill at Keystone costs $31 per person, per hour, which was beyond what our family was willing to pay. Here are a few ways that frugal families can enjoy a summer day on the slopes without blowing the budget.
- Choose one or two favorite activities instead of an all-access pass – That summer tubing experience might be worth a splurge if your kids have never seen snow. A single ride on Snowbird’s aerial tram or Park City’s alpine coaster is still a good way to make lasting family memories for a lot less than the cost of a day pass.
- Look for deals – Visit Park City offers new deals every week from local businesses. Snowbird’s aerial tram ride is included in the SLC Connect Pass. And summer is a good time to score off-season deals at premium hotels or family-sized condominiums from discount travel websites or the resorts themselves. For example, we booked our Keystone condo for a good price through Groupon Getaways.
- Go hiking or bring your own mountain bike - These hills are just as thrilling to bike in the summer as they are to ski in the winter. Ride the ski lift up the hill and ride your bike back down. Hiking is free and resorts can direct visitors to the best walking paths.
- Visit during a free event – All of these resorts host free festivals and events throughout the summer months. Check the events calendar on the resort’s website to find out what will be happening during your visit.
- Bring a picnic – All of these resorts have excellent restaurants, but a mountain picnic is less expensive and will still be a fun and memorable family dining experience.
Disclosure: Park City Mountain Resort provided Allison with VIP park passes and her scenic ride passes at Keystone were provided through her attendance at TBEX. All opinions are her own.