Most people think about skiing only when the winter season approaches, however, the majority of you probably know that it’s possible to go skiing all year round on many European glaciers.
A short break/long weekend trip to the Alps in the summer is a good way to keep your skiing activity going so that it’s not so long before you put your skis back on in the winter.
Skiing on a glacier doesn’t mean “skiing on ice”, very often it happens to be skiing on fresh powdered snow even in the summer months.
With a limited amount of ski slopes on a glacier compared to the winter time, it really enables you to concentrate on your technique.
If you are passionate about ski racing, then a glacier is where you get to see World Cup athletes, National Teams and the possibility of training next to them. It’s a good opportunity to see how hard they work to prepare for the next ski racing season and it’s very motivating particularly for young ski racers who are willing to emulate them.
A summer ski holiday trip is not only about skiing, as all these summer ski resorts have an amazing choice of other activities to do in the afternoon especially if there are bad weather conditions when perhaps the lifts aren’t operating.
A typical day begins with an early start to get up to the slopes, skiing all morning until early afternoon, and then back down for lunch to proceed with the afternoon activities.
Here below is a suggestion of some of the best summer ski resorts:
Les Deux Alpes, France
Les Deux Alpes is between Grenoble and Briançon, around two hours from Lyons. Its glacier, Glacier du Mont de Lans, offers skiing up to 3570m. From the top you can access the off-piste playground of La Grave. Les Deux Alpes has a large popular terrain park on its glacier during the summer months.
Zermatt, Switzerland / Cervinia, Italy
Zermatt’s glacier is located at Klein
Matterhorn and is where the Zermatt pistes link to nearby Cervinia in Italy. The
pistes on the glacier are graded blue and red and are not particularly steep but
usually have the best snow in Zermatt. There is a year-round half-pipe on the
Hintertux is a tiny village at the far
end of the Tux valley. The glacier is accessed by lifts which are a 15-minute
walk from the village. The Hintertux glacier has particularly challenging and
interesting runs when compared with most pistes on glaciers and claims to have
the steepest glacier skiing in Austria.
La Grand Motte glacier offers skiing above
Tignes from 3,030m-3,455m with access by both an underground funicular and fast
but more scenic chair lifts. There is a good variety of terrain with red, blue
and black runs and a mixture of chair lifts and drag lifts. Long descents all
the way back to Tignes are possible during the winter months.
Solden has two glaciers, the Tiefenbach and
Rettenbach, and this makes up 39km of pistes. The glaciers are linked by the
Glacier Express gondola. The Rettenbach glacier has a ski test centre with all
the latest skis to try out and a fun terrain park.
Passo Tonale, Italy
Passo Tonale is a purpose-built village
set on a high pass in Trentino. The Presena Glacier is open in the summer and
has a variety of slopes that are graded from blue to black but with just two
drag lifts. Fantastic off-piste runs from the glacier, up to 10 miles long.
The Stubai Glacier is the largest glacier
in Austria, 20 minutes from the resort of Neustift. Lying south of Innsbruck in
the Stubai Valley, the glacier has a huge variety of runs, mostly blues and reds
between 2,300m and 3,200m. There are fabulous off-piste runs.
Saas-Fee is a traditional car-free
resort with skiing at Mittelallalin at over 3,600m. The glacier at Saas-Fee has
20km of pistes and is easily accessible by the Metro Alpin which is an
underground funicular. There are also stunning off-piste routes down the many
One hour from Salzburg, above the pretty
village of Kaprun, is the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. It is down the valley from the
popular resort, Zell am See. The glacier has a large ski area with lots of
varied runs, mostly intermediate standard, up to 3,030m. The Gletscher terrain
park is open almost year round.
The world’s first rotating cable car
takes you to Titlis at 3,020m above the resort of Engelberg. Huge descents on
and off piste are possible from this high altitude down 2,000m to the resort.
Due to the glaciers shrinking here it is no longer possible to ski in the summer
months as the resort has been protecting its glaciers by covering them during
this period. This area is less well-known than some of the bigger glacier ski
areas despite being close to Lucerne and Zurich.
These are just a small selection of the many other glaciers to go skiing in Europe. Before you make any decisions, just check on their website and webcams to see what the conditions are and the weather forecast for the period you intend on going there.
I hope this has helped. We organise trips with accommodation, and with transfers and ski coaching included. If you’re interested please get in touch.