Tips For Summer In The Mountains

Staff Picks: Ric's Tips

Posted July, 23 2022
When people think of Vail, they think of cruising through the Legendary Back Bowls on a perfect line. But there’s so much more to Vail than just our epic powder days. Summertime in the Rocky Mountains is full of activities with something for everyone, whether it be hiking or mountain biking, enjoying the thrills of Epic Discovery, or taking in the breathtaking views of a scenic gondola ride. Even if you’re a Vail-frequenter in the winter, there are a few things you should know before hitting the road to explore all that summer has to offer.

Weather:
Sometimes, mountain weather has no rhyme or reason in the summer months. In a single morning, we can experience a cool start followed quickly by July heat with temperatures soaring into the upper 80’s, but with just one cold breeze, you’re reaching for a jacket (or two). Summer also brings monsoon season, which means afternoon storms. The monsoon rains are awesome, and lead to rainbows and cool temps, but they also bring lightning which means you should seek shelter. Make sure to always be prepared. Layer up for those chilly mornings and bring a raincoat to keep you dry.

Sun-Safety: Colorado is notorious for its sunny blue skies, averaging over 300 days of sunshine in a calendar year. Take sun safety seriously, especially at high altitude. With Vail’s elevation of 8,000 ft and higher, the sun has a much stronger intensity than at sea level. Up high in the mountains, the sun has less atmosphere to travel through, so it delivers a stronger ultraviolet punch. For every 1,000 ft in elevation gain, the sun has roughly an 8-10% increase in UV intensity, so make sure you slap on the SPF in the morning, and reapply throughout the day.

Elevation: Sometimes, breathing is not so easy when you’re up here on top of the world. Your lungs may have you asking for a little more oxygen when you first arrive in the area. There are a few simple things you can do to make sure you have a successful acclimation to the higher elevation. First and foremost, hydrate! To be clear, we mean water. Drinking plenty of water and staying away from alcohol when you first arrive will help you avoid any altitude-caused headaches or sickness. Second, eat plenty of carbs. Not often do we get an excuse to stuff our faces with bread and snacks, but more calories will give your body the fuel it needs while adjusting to the higher elevation. Finally, build up to that massive hike you’ve been eyeing. Plan for a more leisurely day upon arrival, and then as your body adjusts to the elevation, you’ll feel more comfortable getting on the trail.

If you ask any local, summer in the mountains is one of the best times of the year and one of the best times to explore all the Rockies has to offer. With amazing weather, spectacular views, and endless activities, a summertime mountain getaway is the best way to scratch that exploration itch. All you have to do to make the most of your trip is be prepared!