Outdoor enthusiasts can slip off to one of North America’s top ski destinations even if they’re not counting down to opening day on the slopes. Beat the queue at the gondola by visiting before trails open for winter while each mountain still boasts a busy schedule packed with festivals and outdoor activities — and before hotel prices soar.
Whiteface Mountain, New York
The site of the 1980 Winter Games, this upstate town is the perfect place to live out Olympic fantasies with its bobsledding and ski simulation experiences, open all year. Visitors can also ride a glass elevator to the top of the ski jump, take in panoramic views from the ski lift or hike and bike the mountain trails.
Mont Tremblant, Quebec
This multi-season, multi-sport destination nestled high in the Laurentians is a popular golf destination during warm months with two world-class courses and the Tremblant Golf Academy. Its spring-fed mountain lake offers sightseeing cruise while night hikes guide adventurous travelers along rock dusk trails in search of the mountain’s legendary giant, Tonga Lumina.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
On the edge of the famous Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole is popular for picnicking and hiking year-round. Grand Adventure Park features a massive ropes course with bridges, zip lines, balance beams and cargo nets suspended 25 feet off the ground and the nearby bike park challenges all skill levels with ramps and jumps.
Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler Village is bustling no matter the season. Gondola rides offer unparalleled views of the village below and surrounding mountains. Adrenaline junkies can get an up close look at bears and other wildlife on nature tours while beer connoisseurs have the option of explore local craft breweries. The family adventure zone has a luge track and mini golf as well as ropes courses, mazes, trampolines and bouncy castles.
Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
Kids of all ages can make a splash in the outdoor water playground on Mors Mountain with eight pools, four water slides and an inflatable water playground. Llama trekking tours lead visitors along mountain trails for a unique perspective and those looking for an active getaway can spend their time in Vermont zip lining, hiking, biking, geocaching, kayaking and canoeing.