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Doubt. Summer Is Icummin' In
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by Joe Harkins - May 19, 99
A lyric written by a renegade monk in the quasi-Saxon dialect that passed for English in the 13th Century says, "Summer is icummin' in, Loud sing cuckoo!" I guess that means another crazy ski season is almost upon us.
You think I'm cuckoo too, right? Well, you'd better wax 'em up because we're going downhill and cross-country this June, July and August. It's moguls on the mountains time.
True, you can find skiing in the Southern Hemisphere's winter (our summer). Ladatco Tours makes the Andes Mountains look attractive and affordable. South American Ski Guide offers compelling arguments that start with, " . . . skiers can travel freely to any of the resorts without advanced planning or reservations. The development boom of the last half of the 1980s resulted in slope and hotel capacities that far exceed the number of domestic skiers."
Snows begin to fall in Chile and Argentina in June but July, August and September are the months to visit their ski resorts. The SA Ski Guide map shows dozens strung out on either side of the serpentine mountain chain that snakes down the continental spine. The surprisingly reasonable prices listed on the web site have not been updated since 1995 so I suggest you ask your travel agent.
But why go that far for summer skiing? Of course, summer skiing in North America doesn't offer the crystal-meth rush of fresh powder that you'll find thos time of the year in the Andes, but a little pebble-grain snow-pack never hurt anyone. Well, not unless you fall on it and slide all the way down to the mud line.
That prospect doesn't bother the folks who flock to Oregon's Mount Hood. National Alpine Ski Camp claims North America's most reliable summer snow conditions. Timberline Ski Area has two high-speed quad lifts serving 2,500 vertical feet of year-round skiing and is the training site of the U.S. and Canadian National Teams. The site boasts, and rightfully so, that seven members of the U.S. Olympic Ski team are alumni. While overnight accommodations are only available for students up to age 18, the facility does welcome adult skiers with a complete day program. However, Timberline Lodge, on the same mountain, invites summer skiing adults.
The area seems to be a hotbed of summer ski and snowboard camps. The interior web page of Mt Hood Summer Snowboard will get you past the useless "splash" page that is the defining cliché of self-centered web site design. You'll find additional links at SkiNet's Summer Directory.
Canada's Whistler/Blackcomb area, British Columbia, is also popular and well equipped for warm weather shussing. Haus Heidi Lodge says it is " . . . the only mountain in North America to offer public summer glacier skiing."
Some folks don't agree. According to Cyberwest Magazine, conditions may vary with the luck of the weather, but at least one US area was open on a recent Fourth of July. A-Basin, the familiar name for Colorado's Arapahoe Basin, had so much snow the lift lines were buried in a 20-inch blizzard. That isn't your only Colorado summer skiing resource but it's more accessible than the next one I found.
Colorado's Mount Sorpis requires a climb of 3,000' according to a report on the web site of FirstTrax webzine. There is no lift. The report's author suggests, ". . . start very early so you can get to where you want and back down before those wet snow slides start. . . Around noon things started to get scary . . . avalanche-wise and weather-wise we could have used just one more hour." This clearly is a test of your sanity, as well as your summer skiing enthusiasm.
An enticing alternative lies further north; far north. Greenland looks spectacular and fresh. Click on the link to Photos for some astounding scenery. Interestingly, " . . . due to the rough weather conditions in winter" the area only offers skiing from April though October. As a bonus, the summer sun hardly sets at all through most of the season.
Next week's Travel The Net will cover summer skiing in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Austria, Sweden and even ('snow fooling) Russia.
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