Families flock to Colorado’s slopes in the winter for the varied ski terrain and excellent snow conditions. But the state’s mountain resorts are equally fun – if not more entertaining – in the summer months, when the ski hills are transformed into outdoor playgrounds. Here’s a peek at a few favorite ski resorts that offer loads of fun for the whole family:
Breckenridge: The Peak 8 Fun Park is home to the state’s only ski-mountain alpine coaster (on an elevated roller-coaster track), as well as an alpine slide (where you ride a sled with wheels down a curvy cement track). Then there’s the bungee jump, mini golf, bouncy house, climbing wall, human maze and gemstone panning. Plan to spend an entire day here, because there are also scenic gondola rides, mountain biking trails, guided hikes and pony rides.
Crested Butte: This resort just opened its brand-new on-mountain Zip Line Tour adventure in late June. The guided tour includes five ziplines and a series of bridge features, weaving participants through aspen treetops. The year-round tour is about two hours long, and in the summer it includes a 15-minute hike.
Snowmass: Want to sample mountainboarding – a cross between skateboarding and snowboarding? Try it at Snowmass Mountain, where you can also hike and bike on miles of trails. Otherwise, consider Snowmass’ outdoor paintball course or disc golf course, trout fishing, guided nature walks and the Thursday night free summer concert series.
Durango: This resort in southwest Colorado is also jumping on the zipline bandwagon with the new Purgatory Plunge. Open year-round, the zipline cable takes riders over the resort’s main plaza (i.e. right over après-skiers at the al fresco bar and other spectators). Also available in the summer at Durango Mountain Resort are a climbing wall, mechanical bull, mini golf and bungee trampoline.
Vail: Adventure Ridge at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola is fun for kids with its bungee trampoline, as well as the free slackline park, bocce ball, horseshoes and “dino dig” sandbox. A 45-minute Top of the Mountain Tour takes families in an open-air vehicle on dirt roads for some amazing sweeping views of the mountains and valleys around Vail.
ColoradoGal Kara Williams covers many different attractions in her home state – in summer and winter – at her blog TheVacationGals.com.