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Mountains Of Fun

Ski resorts aren’t just for skiing. They offer peak summer experiences, too.

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Up, Up, and Away: Watch dozens of balloons rise over Stowe village at the Hot Air Balloon festival.  

It might seem counterintuitive to head for the slopes now that the sun is shining for the first time since Kelly Clarkson became the American Idol, but there’s actually more to do in America’s ski towns during the summer than on winter’s snowiest days. During July and August, alpine destinations from Aspen and Beaver Creek to Jackson Hole, Park City, Stratton, and Stowe offer an idyllic mix of hot, dry days; cool, crisp nights; Sound of Music scenery; and mountain sports and diversions such as hiking, biking, fishing, and golf plus food and music festivals and gondola rides.

Perhaps the easiest top resort to get to is Stowe (JetBlue offers cheap flights to Burlington, Vermont). Centered on a white-steepled church, the tiny hamlet charms with quaint shops, winding roads, and postcard-worthy vistas at every turn. Fish for brook trout off one of several classic covered bridges; take a gondola ride followed by a fifteen-minute hike to the 4,395-foot summit of Mount Mansfield; Rollerblade, walk, or bike the pretty five-mile bike path; go antiquing along Route 100; dine alfresco at any of the many cafés and restaurants that dot the Mountain Road (Ye Olde England Inn is a good bet with its game-heavy menu, 150 beers, and breezy porch); go canoeing, kayaking, or tubing on the local rivers and reservoirs; and reward yourself after whatever you do with a tour of the nearby Ben & Jerry’s plant.

Stowe’s top summertime festivals include the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival (7/11–7/13), the Stowe Antique and Classic Car Meet (8/8–8/10), and the Vermont Mozart Festival, which starts on July 20 and runs Sundays through August 3: Bring a picnic to the venerable Trapp Family Lodge Meadow anytime after 5 p.m.; the outdoor concerts start at 7 p.m. The Trapp lodge offers rustic yet luxurious accommodations, from $250 per night. Or try the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa (see “Deal of the Week,” below).

High Times
Here, our top picks for summer activities at a few of the country’s most popular ski resorts.

•Soar down 4,000 feet off Jackson Hole’s Rendezvous Mountain on a tandem paragliding flight (307-739-2626).

•Trade in skis for spokes and explore Little Whiteface Mountain’s scenic bike trails—through winding valleys and rolling hills (518-946-2223).

•Hike up Stowe’s Spruce Peak and swoosh back down the 2,300-foot Alpine Slide ride (think bobsledding, on cement instead of ice; 802-253-3500).

•Sign up for Vail Village’s fly-fishing casting clinic, then reel ’em in on a guided float trip down the Colorado River (970-476-3296).

•Tee it up at the spectacular Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed Sun Valley Golf Course (208-622-2251). BY AARON RASMUSSEN


Deal Of The Week
A class act, the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa (802-253-7355; stoweflake.com) is tops in Stowe lodging. Mention this page and they’ll offer you one night’s stay with two free spa treatments and breakfast for $320—a 25 percent savings—through July 31.

etc.
CASINO ROYALE
It’s been over a decade since a new hotel opened in Atlantic City, but the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, due next month, is making up for lost time. Expect 2,000-plus guest rooms, a 135,000-square-foot casino, 22 restaurants and shops, and a full spa (609-317-1000; theborgata.com; rooms from $179).

ITALIAN LESSONS
The New School now offers weeklong photography and writing workshops in Tuscany (July 7 through mid-August). Topics range from photojournalism and digital imaging to poetry and narrative writing. Call 212-229-5122 for details (from $635 for tuition).

TRÈS FUNNY
The lineup for Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival (July 10–20) includes jokesters like Bill Cosby, Tina Fey, and the brilliant improv gang from Whose Line Is It Anyway? For tickets, call 514-790-haha or visit hahaha.com.


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