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Why You Should Visit these Iconic Ski Resorts in Summer

Aspen, Colorado
Why You Should Visit these Iconic Ski Resorts in Summer
Yes, we know: A ski resort isn’t the first thing you think of when considering where to vacation this summer. But when you consider the setting alone, it makes sense that a ski resort would be an ideal summer destination.

Underneath all that snow is mountainous terrain where you can hike, trail run, enjoy hilltop yoga, and even swim. Plus, amid that wilderness are luxury hotels and noteworthy restaurants (both of which are almost impossible to get into during winter) and accessible airports. And these ski resorts more than make up for the lack of snow with festivals, outdoor concerts, and summer celebrations. You may find that vacationing at a ski resort is even better during the off-season. Here’s when to visit several ski resorts to get the best of what summer offers.
By Mary Holland , AFAR Contributor
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    Aspen, Colorado
    Aspen, Colorado
    When to go: First weekend of July for the Wanderlust Festival; Labor Day weekend for the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival

    As the snow melts away, so does Aspen’s notoriously flashy scene. Finally, you can get that sought-after hotel or restaurant reservation without having to pretend you’re a Kardashian. In the summertime, Aspen becomes a playground for everyone—not just the ultra-luxe—so you won’t have to worry about wearing cutesy fur hats or boots that match your beanie. Instead, trade in that quilted vest for a hemp caftan and head to Aspen’s Wanderlust Festival, a four-day festival celebrating yoga, eating, hiking, and music. And for music fans of any genre—from Stevie Wonder to The Killers—the Jazz Aspen Snowmass is a summer highlight. 

    Hot hotels to book: Hotel Jerome, The Little Nell
    Impossible reservations to snag: Meat and Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop, Grey Lady

    Photo by Bachir/Flickr
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    Park City, Utah
    Park City, Utah
    When to go: 7-10 July 

    Unparalleled ski conditions and the annual Sundance Festival may have put Park City on the map, but snow sports and celebrity aside, it is also home to a notable food scene (surely you wouldn’t expect Robert Redford to eat at McDonald’s). Food lovers flock to the city during the Park City Food and Wine Classic, when the town offers a host of tastings, toasts, and luncheons in a magnificent setting. 

    Hot hotels to book: The Montage Deer Valley, St. Regis Deer Valley
    Impossible reservations to snag: High West Distillery & Saloon, The Farm 

    Photo by Ken Lund/Flickr
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    Innsbruck, Austria
    Innsbruck, Austria
    When to go: From July 4th through August 

    Innsbruck is the gateway to Austria’s best ski spots, which means it’s also the gateway to some of that nation’s prettiest summer destinations. From July 4th to July 31st, the town leaps to life with the Innsbruck Promenade Concerts, a variety of music concerts which take place in the courtyard of the Innsbruck Imperial Palace. The shows are free, which means you can save your cash for a hotel room upgrade or—even better—extra apple strudel. If you go during late July, you’ll also catch the beginning of the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, celebrating composers such as Mozart and Bach. 

    Hot hotels to book: Lanserhof, The Penz
    Impossible reservations to snag: Jagdschloss 

    Photo by francois schnell/Flickr
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    Gstaad, Switzerland
    Gstaad, Switzerland
    When to go: Mid-July

    Turns out, holiday-goers have been traveling to Switzerland in the summer for fresh mountain air and scenery long before it became a ski-holiday destination. In 2016, because we’ve turned healthy living into almost an obsession, it’s more apropos to visit Switzerland in the summer than ever. Gstaad, in particular, is so much more than a ski town with a unpronounceable name. Here, you can do yoga in the mountains at the Gstaad Palace, which offers a six-day yoga retreat, or plan your trip for mid-July when you can catch the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad—an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournament.

    Hot hotels to book: Gstaad Palace, Hotel de Rougemont
    Impossible reservations to snag: Le Petit Chalet 

    Courtesy of Gstaad Palace
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    Arosa, Switzerland
    Arosa, Switzerland
    When to go: 1 July - 31 August

    Arosa is a lovely, low-key town in the Swiss Alps, featuring everything you could ask for from a Swiss village, including mountains, chalets, and fondue. Getting there is half the reason you should go: The iconic red Swiss train travels high up into the Alps, past small towns and grazing sheep. In fact, we love this place so much, we’ve written about it before. In the summertime, Arosa turns into a dreamy escape. There are hiking and festivals, of course, but the highlight of the trip is the opportunity to stay in a tepee. The Tschuggen Grand Hotel offers a mountain adventure where you can live out your own version of A River Runs Through It: Travel on horseback, eat farm-style breakfasts, spend your afternoon fly-fishing, and then retire to your tepee. 
    Hot hotels to book: Tschuggen Grand Hotel
    Impossible reservations to snag: Alpenblick 

    Photo by Majida Tufail Hanel 
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    Niseko, Japan
    Niseko, Japan
    When to go: 22 and 23rd of July 

    Japan isn’t the first country that comes to mind for stargazing—or for ski resorts, for that matter—but then again, you also didn’t know you could see wild zebras in California, right? During the summer, the delightful ski town of Niseko, which is home to things that you do travel to Japan for (like sushi and hot springs), also plays host to Star Fes. The unusual but intriguing festival includes a professional stargazing workshop and space photography lessons and is all the more enjoyable for the mild summer weather.

    Hot hotels to book: Kimamaya, The Green Leaf Hotel
    Impossible reservations to snag: The Barn by Odin 

    Photo by Making-Things-Better/Flickr 
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