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How To Ski Or Snowboard For Free In The Rocky Mountains In Summer

Tom Malone/Adventure Tribune
Colorado is known for its Winter activities, but how can you pursue your snowy adventure passions in the heat of the summer...for free?


Plenty of winter adventurers lose interest in summer adventure activities quickly. Die-hard skiers and snowboarders can’t wait for winter to arrive so they can once again shred the glorious fresh powder on the epic landscapes of the Rocky Mountains.

But, what if you don’t have to wait until the winter snow arrives to get a few runs in? In Colorado’s Rockies, there is a spot less than an hour’s drive from Denver where you can ski or snowboard for free to your heart’s content: St. Mary’s Glacier.

A glacier, by definition, is a permanently frozen piece of ice that never disappears, even in the heat of the summer. St. Mary’s Glacier stays frozen all year long, allowing skiers and snowboarders the ability to utilize it to its full potential.

Often, hikers will tie up their hiking shoes and strap their snowboard and boots to their backpack. After they hike up 3,000 feet to the top of the glacier, they can cruise down the cliff with a beautiful summer view of the lake in front of them.

Granted, the snow isn’t quality this time of year. The glacier’s summer conditions create icy slopes with pockets and divots. But, to hike to the top of the glacier and ski down is free, at your own risk.

Colorado isn’t the only place in the United States with year-round skiing available. Oregon’s Mount Hood features the glacier at Timberline, where the U.S. Ski Team practices during the summer season. Timberline, however, does cost money (though it comes with a lift ticket rather than requiring a hike).

So, if you’re one of those snowbirds that can’t wait for summer to end, revamp your adventure outlook and scout out a place to ski or snowboard in the heat of the summer.


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Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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