Still don’t have plans for this summer? Still don’t know what to do during your vacation? Well, here is a refreshing idea, away from the heat of the beaches: why not go skiing? Yes, yes, skiing in the summer.
Due to the pandemic, we cannot say that the 2020/2021 ski season was one to remember. In France, the stations were closed all winter. After this “spoiled” season, except for those who have had the opportunity to ski in Spain, Andorra, Switzerland or Austria (generally reserved for locals) or for fans of backcountry skiing, it is still possible to take advantage of 2020. And without waiting for the end of the year!
We visit some European resorts that offer summer skiing. Yes, on paper, it is not very attractive (small slopes, limited hours), but this summer 2021 is presenting especially well due to a still very important snow cover and the exceptional cold of this spring.
As a general rule, summer skiing is practiced mainly by professional skiers to prepare their season, or by amateurs, addicted to sports, who come to perfect their technique.
For the ski industry, this year has been especially bad. With summer skiing, they hope, at least a little, to get the cherry back. And it is a curious sensation to go up to more than 2,500 meters, ski, go back down and put on your swimsuit to go to the pool at 30º.
Also this year the cold and rainfall in May allow an opening of the summer ski season in exceptional snow conditions.
But a little advice: do not hesitate to get up early with the crowing of the rooster to enjoy good conditions. It’s very hot, even in the mountains, and the sun beats down. Adapted sunglasses and creams with a maximum index highly recommended!
The largest station in FranceLes Deux Alpes has started the season earlier than planned after professionals and amateurs were desperate to see this year’s exceptional snow conditions. As of June 12, Val d’Isère will join and then Tignes on June 19.
Even the smallest resorts, such as Avoriaz or La Clusaz, have decided to take advantage of the late snow to offer fans in need after a season without skiing throughout France, a few hours of happiness with a partial opening of their slopes.
Valley of Isere
On Valley of Isere, amateurs and tourists will enjoy the slopes of the Pisaillas glacier together with the professionals of the French team. The station is open from Saturday June 12 to July 11, also with very good snow conditions for the summer season. The opening has been delayed for a week to coincide with the clearing of snow on the road from the port of Iserán, the highest road port in Europe.
Accessible from 7 a.m. to noon, three of the six courts are reserved for amateurs and three for professionals. The rest of the day, swimming, hiking and, for the bravest, a huge network of downhill mountain bike routes.
On The two Alps, the “largest skiable glacier in Europe”, as the tourist office proudly recalls, is open from May 29, three weeks before the usual date. It will remain open until the snow allows good skiing conditions. The Dôme de la Lauze, at 3,600 meters, is accessible from 8 in the morning for everyone (a little earlier for national team skiers and club members). Until June 18 the daily rate is € 36.50. Then it will go up to 43.50 euros.
Thanks to the snowfalls in May, 10 ski lifts could be set up that allow a vertical ascent of 1,000 meters to the 2,600-meter-high Toura glacier. Exceptional for skiing in summer.
The station team explains that the opening was brought forward, among other things, due to requests from professional skiers. This opening in May could become the norm, because in recent years there has always been heavy snowfall at the end of the season, which would allow to consider closing only in August.
You can also rub shoulders with the professionals and admire them from a distance; they have their own reserved track.
The station allows the practice of mountain biking on snow, and vertiginous descents “dry” to the town. The nightlife and all the imaginable mountain activities in summer complete the offer of this giant of the European resorts.
The Grande Motte glacier will be open from June 19 to August 1. About 20 km of slopes between 3,400 and 2,700 meters in the heart of the Vanoise Natural Park. The ski pass costs 38 euros per adult and day. The station also offers tours of the glaciers, accompanied by professionals and, like all large Alpine resorts, countless sports activities to complete the summer offer. The novelty this year is the “laser game”, a kind of paintball, without the inconvenience and danger of small paintballs (€ 38 / adult and € 30 / child).
The advantage of Norway is that you don’t have to climb very far to find snow. The Nordic country has glaciers open in summer at only 1,200 meters of altitude. This is the case, for example, of the Fonna station.
The number of tracks is limited but they are suitable for all levels. There is even a snowpark for the daredevils wanting to jump. Here, on the other hand, you have to forget about the atmosphere, the animations and the services offered, for example, by the French megaresorts: a small restaurant and an accommodation in the middle of the fjord, and that’s it. But, that is surely what makes it so charming. You can ski all day, until 4 p.m., because the snow doesn’t melt as much as in France … Then, continue the very long day until the midnight sun! The pass costs 332 crowns, which is equivalent to 32 euros.
In Stryn you won’t find hundreds of restaurants or a great deal of accommodation (beware, the website is only in Norwegian). At no more than 1,000 meters above sea level, this resort offers “only” four runs on the Tystigbreen Glacier. But for off-piste skiers, there is plenty to do. Most of the accommodations in the area are campsites, a handful of hotels, and some rental apartments. In the complex, you will find a cafeteria and an equipment rental shop. The price of the ski pass is 450 crowns, that is, 44 euros.
Galdhøpiggen It also has a handful of well-snowed slopes that can be accessed from 9 am to 3 pm, for 405 NOK (40 euros). The place is located at the foot of the highest mountain in northern Europe (2,469 m), which gave the station its name. After taking the only ski lift on the glacier, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy an area divided into 25 (small) runs. In the same spirit as other Norwegian resorts, Galdhøpiggen offers only the essentials, a place to eat and equipment rental. If you search well, it is possible to find accommodation in the area.
Sognefjelletmeanwhile, it does not have alpine ski slopes, but offers Nordic skiing throughout the summer in the highest port in northern Europe, at 1,400 meters, off the RV 55 road. The resort’s website offers a dozen of accommodation options in the vicinity of the complex. A one-day pass costs NOK 180 (€ 15).
In Austria, in the heart of the Alps, summer skiers will have it easy. Thanks to its glacier, some resorts even allow skiing throughout the year.
In Kaprun, in the Salzburg region, it is possible to ski on the glacier Kitzsteinhorn, 3,229 meters high, until July 24. The different tracks are suitable for both beginners and advanced levels. And until June 27, from Friday to Sunday, freestylers will also be delighted to know that there is a snowpark waiting for them to take to the air. The price of the day pass is 49.50 euros. Also throughout the year, it is possible to take the cable car to enjoy the view of the Alps, including the Großglockner, the highest peak in Austria (3,798 m), from the viewpoints “Top of Salzburg” y “National Park Gallery”.
In summer, you can also ski on the glacial slopes of the Hintertux resort in Tyrol. Here, nine ski lifts serve 20 km of slopes almost 365 days a year, depending on weather conditions. To experience the joys of Tyrolean skiing in summer, the ski pass costs 49 euros per day for an adult. There are also many activities available in the area, such as lounging in the thermal baths after a good dose of skiing.
On the Swiss side, two of the largest Swiss resorts offer the possibility of skiing in summer. But Switzerland is obliged to offer higher prices than in the rest of Europe. And whether in Saas-Fee or in Zematt, it is not possible to drive to these two stations
On Saas-Fee, in the canton of Valais, the summer season will start this year on July 17. Located at 3,600 m, its glacier has 20 km of slopes for all levels. Equipment test sessions are also organized at the Valais resort, which is also known for its “sommersnowpark”. The latter will be open from July 31. It costs 75 Swiss francs per day, that is, 68 euros.
The other great place to ski in summer in Switzerland is Zermatt. There, you pass on the Theodule glacier, where more than 20 km of slopes open all year round await you. The access is worth it because to get to this area you have to take the “Matterhorn glacier paradise”, a cable car will transport you up to 3,882 meters from the top of the mountain, where a platform also allows a 360 ° view of the Swiss Alps , Italians and French. For those looking for strong emotions, a snowpark also awaits them in Zermatt. The price of the pass is the same as in Saas-Fee, that is, 68 euros.
The destination of summer skiing in Italy is the area of the Cervino, in the Aosta Valley. More specifically, you will have to go to the Breuil-Cervinia station, which is right next to Zermatt. It is possible to take the Matterhorn to go skiing to the plateau de la Rossa, which is 3,500 meters high.
Of course, you can also use the cable cars from the Italian station Le Breuil. And to be able to enjoy the slopes open in summer, you will have to pay 33 euros.