Skiing in June? Bobsledding in July? Ice hockey in August? Yes, yes, and yes.
It happens every summer. The warm days and pleasant nights of early June give way to the unrelenting inferno of August and the need to escape the heat becomes all-consuming. Most opt for a fetid family pool or the Band Aid-riddled ooze of a water park. This year, don’t be like most. Escape the heat by seeking out ice, not water. Dust off the skis, snowboard, or dog sledding shoes and make your way to those few places around the world that stay cold while everyone’s hot. Here’s your guide for winter sports in the dead of summer.
Ski at Portillo Ski Resort in Chile
Photo: Jonathan Selkowitz / Corbis
Instead of searching for America’s tiny pockets of ice during June and July, hop a jet to the southern hemisphere, where our summer is their winter. There aare few South American slopes better than those at Portillo. Wedged into a remote Andean valley, this bright yellow resort is one-of-a-kind, with no pre-fab ski village mucking up the surroundings and a singular focus on the snow. There’s a reason national ski teams regularly make the trek in the off-season.
Snowboard at the Snowdome in Mt. Hood, Oregon
Photo: Getty Images
Way up at the top of Mt. Hood, which is located way up at the top of Oregon, there's an area called the Snowdome, which stays packed with frozen stuff all year round. Some 9,500 feet above sea level, Snowdome isn't unique in that respect, at least as it relates to Mt. Hood. There's plenty of summer skiing on the mountain, but none as difficult to get to, and therefore private, as the backcountry routes on the Snowdome.
Ice climb at Sólheimajökull in Iceland
In the experience of most Americans, ice is a temporary thing. Whether it's in a drink or on the sidewalk, it's not going to be there for long. In Iceland, it's the opposite. Take the Sólheimajökull Glacier, an enormous ancient block of ice with a jagged, constantly morphing face that's going to be around for a very long time. That's why it's totally OK to stab axes into it. The icy blue surface of the glacier provides some of the world's most picturesque ice climbing and a hell of rush too, as climbers ascend ice walls above impossibly frigid waters in one of nature’s most impressive settings.
Hockey at Black Family Ice Rink in Beaver Creek, Colorado
Photo: Walter Bibikow/ JAI / Corbis
Beaver Creek Resort, outside of Avon, Colorado, is a massive ski resort with three different villages and 1,815 acres of skiable area. It's not the kind of place we'd recommend for a weekend, unless you're looking for an outdoor ice rink in July. The Black Family Ice Rink provides a family-friendly slab year-round, so you'll have to be careful practicing your slapshot out here. Probably best to crosscheck all the moms into TCBY first. Sounds harsh, but it might be your only way to get a summertime game of hockey under the stars.
Dog sledding in Lapland, Finland
Photo: Getty Images
In those few short months each year when Norway isn't covered with snow, the nation's population of panting sled dogs have to stay in shape. Help them out by taking a trip on a dog sled with wheels. Zipping through the Arctic Circle in near-constant daylight, with the trees and flowers shaking off the endless months of winter, and the melting snow filling every waterway to the brim will have you wondering if this wasn't a sport meant for the warm weather after all.
Bobsled in Lake Placid, New York
Photo: Getty Images
Built in 1932 and remodeled in 1980, the Olympic bobsled track in Lake Placid, New York, is no longer reserved for world class athletes or snowy weather. Each summer the track opens up for tourists who want to experience the seven-turn, 41-second ride down the intimidating concrete track. There’s no ice, of course, but the sled’s wheels make them unnecessary. Drivers and brakemen ride along, which might seem to take the shine off the experience, but since you’d almost certainly crash and die without them, it's a safe bet you won’t mind the help.
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