This post includes affiliate links for resorts I have visited recently.
A blending of seasons has happened in the ski resort industry and vacation destinations that once opened for a short and specific time of the year have found a way to capitalize on their extraordinary terrain. Summers can be as busy as the best powder day, but spending time in the mountains on a crisp fall day is an experience not to be neglected. Check out these activities for everyone in the family!
Hiking & Mountain Biking Getting up the mountain to explore is always the hardest part of hiking and mountain biking. Save your energy and keep the kids in good spirits by riding the ski lift to the top. Have fun exploring before making your way back down the mountain. For even more adventure, pack a picnic lunch to eat beside an alpine lake or high mountain meadow.
|Hiking to Cecret Lake, Alta Ski Resort, UT|
Horseback Riding For a different perspective, take the afternoon to ride a ridge atop the back of a well-trained horse. The beauty of the autumn colors and the peacefulness nature brings are only enhanced when you’re up a little higher and letting the horse guide your way. Many ski resorts collaborate with local ranches and farms to offer trail rides for every skill level.
|Horseback riding with Rim Rock Outfitters near Hesperus Ski Resort, Colorado|
ZipLine & Alpine Slides Adventure sports are becoming commonplace on vacation and completely make sense in venues already known for the thrill and adrenaline that comes from skiing. Taking advantage of already built-in steep turns and inclines, ziplines are making a debut as the warm weather activity all the cool kids want to try. With the blur of vibrant autumn colors whirring around you and crisp fall winds whistling in your ear, speeding down the hill in a harness, on a slide, or in a wheeled sled is a family activity that treats each one of the senses.
ATV Tours If covering a lot of terrain, and getting a little dirty, is more your family’s style, booking an ATV tour will make everybody happy. Whether on an organized tour or a self-guided adventure, the variety of equipment choices available make this a great option for every skill and interest level. Independent teenagers can drive their own machine over bumps and through puddles while the younger ones double up with Mom or Dad. The whole family can ride together safely buckled in a 4-seat vehicle and Grandma and Grandpa can even come along with a 6-seat rental.
|ATV ride near Sundance Ski Resort, UT|
Festivals Ski resorts, with their little bit of inherent rowdiness, are the best place to go for an Oktoberfest celebration. With the sounds of live music echoing through the canyons and the taste of hearty German dishes to fill and warm the belly, the atmosphere will get even the staunchest summer die-hard excited for the changing of the seasons. Plan to spend the day with children’s carnival activities, arts and crafts booths, and ethnic entertainment that will transport you in spirit to a faraway German hillside.
Scenic Lift Rides (Moonlight Ride) An autumn ski resort visit doesn’t have to be about fitting in every experience offered. Sometimes it’s nice to just take a drive up the mountain and enjoy being together surrounded by quiet while riding the ski lift or tram to the peak and back. Slow life down a bit and listen to the conversations the kids have as they take in everything they’re seeing around them. For an even more special outing, watch for moonlight rides that often happen only during the few days surrounding each month’s full moon.
Spa Day Maybe getting sweaty on a mountain trail or whizzing down a mountain afraid for your life is not for everyone. Is there ever a reason the family can’t divide up and let Mom spend an afternoon being pampered? Ski resorts are well-known for providing world-class spa services to their snow-weary patrons. The extra attention you can receive prior to the business of peak ski season promises to make your time relaxing even more refreshing.
Good Eats Spending time in the mountains will always work up an appetite. Whether you’re hungry for a burger and fries, or looking for a meal more elegant and refined, resort restaurants are prepared to delight you. Order a boxed picnic lunch to carry, grab a snack slope-side, or find a table by the window where you can enjoy breathtakingly majestic views and reflect on the beauty around you that is a ski resort in autumn!
Which ski resort is nearest you?