It’s June 8, 2002, and I’m running alongside the Elk River in Steamboat, my legs feeling like jelly from the downhill pursuit and my heart racing as we near town. I’m one of a few hundred participants in the Steamboat Marathon and I’m overjoyed at my discovery as my boyfriend, Carlton, later toast the race with margaritas at a downtown watering hole. Who knew that a ski resort could be so much fun in the summer?
Flash forward 17 years and we know just how much fun these Colorado peaks can be when the snow melts. Carlton (now my husband) and I recently relocated here with our kids (now 10 and 12) and we have discovered resorts that cater not only to kids or their parents, but to both, with family-friendly events all summer long. To name a few:
Arapahoe Basin: Believe it or not, on July 4, the skiing and riding will finally end at A-Basin after an epic season, but the fabled tailgate parties simply switch locations—to the Summer Concert Series on Saturday afternoons (with bands such as Liver Down the River), Yoga Sundays and Wildflower Hikes Galore.
Team Up For: The PDGA Sanctioned Disc Golf Tournament on August 3 and 4.
Aspen & Snowmass: From Buttermilk to Highlands and beyond, the Aspen hills are alive with all-ages events in the warm-weather months. Think Wild West Rodeos on Wednesdays, representing the longest-running rodeo in Colorado, the Lost Forest ropes course and Farm-to-Table Tuesdays that fuel families with fresh local fare.
Team Up For: The Audi Power of Four trail race, in which participants get to run up and down all four of Aspen’s mountains, on July 13.
Copper: Need we say more than Mac & Cheese Fest? It happens here on July 27 and 28 at Copper, where little tykes and grown-ups alike can earn the calorie bomb by bombing the Copper Triangle, competing on the go-kart track and swinging through a round at the Copper Creek Golf Course.
Team Up For: The West Lake zip line (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until September 16) which allows two people to fly across the water at once, reaching speeds of 30 miles per hour.
Steamboat: Perhaps the poster child of Western ski towns, Steamboat serves up multi-generational summer fun in the form of the Hot Air Balloon Festival on July 13 and 14 (paired, naturally, with a rodeo), and an eye-popping Fourth of July extravaganza that includes a parade on Lincoln Avenue and ski-jumping competitions at Howelsen Hill.
Team Up For: Wildflower Wanders led by environmental organization Yampatika, through August 26.
Sarah Tuff Dunn
Sarah Tuff Dunn recently moved to Louisville, Colorado, with her husband, Carlton, and their two children, Dillon, 12, and Harper, 10. They’re looking forward to exploring the world-class skiing in Colorado, aided by the Colorado Ski Country 5th and 6th Grade Passport Program. Sarah has been writing professionally for nearly 25 years and her work has appeared in The New York Times, SKI, Skiing and Powder, among other publications. Read more of Sarah’s stories here and follow along with her Colorado skiing journey here.