Many of the usual summer activities -- mountain biking, ziplines, hiking, scenic lift rides -- will be in place in the West during the warm months. But the Covid-19 pandemic has forced resorts to tone down or fully eliminate offerings for the time being.
The 2018-2019 ski and snowboard season isn't going out quietly, as healthy snowfall through April has prompted resorts across the SnoCountry map to extend operations into May – or beyond.
Not long before it's like this at Loveland. (Loveland/Facebook)
Ever since 1936, Loveland Ski Area has been among the first mountains to open for the winter season. And 2017-18 is no different for the Continental Divide ski and snowboard area.
Ready to carve the first turns of the season at Timberline. (Timberline Lodge/Facebook)
The ski and snowboard season is officially underway as Timberline on the slopes of Mt. Baker will crank up a chairlift on weekends.
Hittin' the summer ski scene at Squaw. (Squaw Valley/Facebook)
After one of the best snow season in recent times, a quartet of Western mountains will keep the lifts turning well into what should be the season for sun-bathing and surfing.
Squaw-Alpine wants to stay open all summer. (Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows/Facebook)
A bonanza year in much of the Sierra Nevada and plenty of late-season snow in the Rockies will keep a dozen ski and snowboard resorts operating into May and beyond.
Timberline's Palmer Snowfield in February. (Timberline)
Home to the Palmer Snowfield, Timberline has long been known as a summer training site for U.S. Olympic athletes.
“Timberline has a long and storied history as a summer training site for The United States Ski Team. From Tony Sailer, Billy Kidd, Steve and Phil Mahre to Ted Ligety; from Cindy Nelson and Picabo Street to Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin ... All have trained at Timberline in the summer as well as virtually all other U.S. Olympic Alpine athletes," commends Timberline's president, Jeff Kohnstamm.
Olympic athletes in all disciplines, including alpine racing, snowboarding, freestyle and freeskiing, will participate in summer training at Timberline.
“This partnership really allows us to ramp up what we are dong there, training more extensively, across more teams,” USSA’s Luke Bodensteiner told SnoCountry.com.
The 2017 summer training season is especially important. The 2018 Winter Olympics, taking place in PeongChang, South Korea, are only a year away.
“Getting time on snow in really specialized venues like Timberline are make and break for our team. Creating that access, with priority to training space, bringing teams for pretty extensive periods of time, is going to make a real difference for us in the Olympics,” Bodensteiner told us.
Although it will not eliminate the need for international travel, the ease and accessibility of the Palmer snowfield will mean less time U.S. athletes will have to be traveling for summer training.
Timberline also offers a hard-to-find facility in the summer: a half pipe.
U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing will be training in High Cascade Snowboard Camp's and Windells Camp's terrain parks, where they’ll find a full 22-foot halfpipe, 22-foot pipe with airbag, large jump to airbag, and every type of freestyle feature found in today's top terrain parks. That coupled with camp-specific handle tows will allow team members to access parks without lapping Palmer chair.
Fly through the sky at Seven Springs for Labor Day fun (Seven Springs/Facebook)
The end of the summer is unofficially marked by the Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2-5), and then the long, long wait for ski and snowboard season to begin.
So before the waiting begins, get a whiff of the high-mountain air and winds in the pines by checking out the holiday festivities at resorts all around the country.
Timberline’s Palmer Express lift usually operates June 1st through Labor Day for summer turns on Oregon’s highest peak. (Timberline/Facebook)
Some skiers and riders just can’t get enough, and they aren’t satisfied with wind surfing, whitewater rafting or plain ol’ hiking in the summer. For them, there are options out there that require some travel, a bit of hiking and plenty of sunscreen.
When Rocky Mountain resorts have shut down for the season, there’s always been a summertime option for skiers and snowboarders: Beartooth Basin in northern Wyoming.
The spring skiing and riding season rolls on with eight areas turning lifts this weekend.
New snow in the West is keeping the season alive and well every day at several resorts in California, Colorado, Oregon and Utah. Several other ski areas are playing the “re-open” card on weekends.
Twelve ski resorts throughout the West – many with prodigious pow stashes – have united to offer skiers and riders the opportunity to broaden their powdery horizons with a brand new “Powder Alliance” pass.
Late-season storms have buoyed conditions at many Western resorts, but this recent largesse doesn’t appear to be enough to keep slopes open beyond announced closing dates.