In summer, you can take leisurely walks and visit farms in Zermatt. Photograph: ©Pascal Gertschen
Visiting a ski resort might be the last thing on your mind for your holiday this summer, but you’d be surprised that many remain open even after the snow has melted.
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Drop by one of these popular ski resorts in summer and you will be spoilt for choice by the diverse range of activities available so you will never have a dull moment. Pick the right one and you may even get to enjoy skiing in summer!
Zermatt is a culmination of the best of both worlds complete with magnificent views of Switzerland’s most photographed mountain, the Matterhorn. Even in summer, you can have fun in the snow and ice on the Swiss Alps — visit the world’s highest glacier palace, experience summer skiing on the Theodul Glacier, or try out snowboarding and freestyling at Snowpark Zermatt.
Away from the snow-covered peaks, there are cheese farms that you can stop by to learn about local cheese-making traditions and purchase dairy specialities. For some adrenaline, try mountain biking, go-carting or hike up to the world’s longest suspension bridge. Alternatively, you can try your luck at spotting elusive marmots as you take a leisurely walk along the numerous hiking trails that lead to picturesque lakes and rustic villages.
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Sunflowers in bloom at the foot of Mount Yotei. Copyright ©JNTO
Like a blank canvas being doused with the colours of an artist’s palette, Japan’s most popular ski resort in Hokkaido sheds its coat of white for a sea of different colours in summer — a sight best enjoyed from the vantage point of a hot-air balloon. Amid the greenery are pink and white potato flowers that mark the start of summer every June and July, while vast fields of bright yellow sunflowers spread across the foot of Mount Yotei from June till October. Visit Niseko in August and you will see fireworks lighting up the night sky in a myriad of colours as part of local celebrations such as the Hirafu Festival and the Potato Festival.
Summer is also the best time to experience rafting on one of Japan’s clearest rivers, go horse riding to explore the countryside of Hokkaido and have an outdoor barbeque with family or friends.
Experience high-altitude mountain biking in the Dolomites. Image by IDM Südtirol-Alto Adige/Daniel Geiger
Encompassing 18 peaks soaring above a height of 3,000m in north-eastern Italy, the Dolomites mountain range has breathtaking landscapes and terrain ideal for winter skiing and summer hikes. During the warm season, you can enjoy a game of golf or join thousands of cyclists in biking competitions and events that will have you pedalling across the slopes, valleys and plains of this UNESCO-listed region.
The Dolomites also marks the confluence of Italian and Austrian gastronomy given its proximity to the Austrian border, and the foodie in you will be amazed by the multitude of award-winning restaurants — including Michelin-starred ones — scattered across the valleys. Spice up your vacation further by participating in exciting gourmet events that will have you dining under the stars in an alpine village or sipping on an aperitif as you admire the alpenglow atop a plateau.
Take in views of the village and valley as you ascend the mountain. Photo by Murray Foubister / CC BY-SA 2.0
Chamonix may have a reputation as one of France’s oldest ski resorts and the venue of the first Winter Olympic Games, but it also packs a punch as a summer playground. You can spend your day paragliding, fishing, hiking to waterfalls, having a picnic by a beautiful alpine lake, experiencing white water rafting, or exploring the countryside on horseback or with a husky.
For the best views of the French Alps, take a cable car ride up to the summit terrace of Aiguille du Midi; this is the closest you can get to Mont Blanc, one of Europe’s tallest mountains, without actually climbing it.
Enjoy whitewater rafting in Whistler in summer. Photo by tinali778 / CC BY 2.0
With two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, located side by side and three glaciers in its surroundings, Whistler in British Columbia consistently ranks as North America’s best ski resort. Here, you can have the surreal experience of hiking atop a glacier with an ice axe in the middle of summer. The famous Peak 2 Peak gondola connecting both mountains is also operational in the warmer months, offering you 360-degree panoramic views of the main village, lakes, glaciers, forests and ski slopes.
You can also embrace the warmth and sunshine by riding an ATV over meadows and valleys, speeding through the rapids in a jet boat, soaring over the forest on a zipline, or embarking on a safari adventure to spot local brown bears in their natural habitat. After an eventful day outdoors, you can relax and rejuvenate in an outdoor Scandinavian spa surrounded by the tranquillity and beauty of nature.