Is your summer spent dreaming about the winter season? Counting down the weeks until you can ski or snowboard in the mountains again? It needn’t be. We’ve put together a definitive list of the top 15 glacier ski resorts, which is pretty much all the places you can go summer skiing in Europe.
If the dry slope or indoor scene does not appeal to you. And taking advantage of the southern hemisphere ski season is not possible. Then you could check out these glacier ski resorts in Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden.
Not only will you be in the mountains, but on real snow. You can then take advantage of the summer skiing in Europe by having ski or snowboard lessons so you’re ready to impress next winter. Freestyle is particularly popular in the summer, so you could head into next season with some new tricks up your sleeve.
Summer skiing in Europe means you are unlikely to get stuck in a whiteout or have frozen fingers and toes. Furthermore, the top 15 glacier ski resorts below also offer a whole range of summer activities. So you could ski in the morning and mountain bike, hike, paraglide, climb or relax in the sun during the afternoon.
Open the entire summer Hintertux is one of the few 365-day ski resorts in Europe. It boasts year-round natural snow, and during the summer has 20km of groomed pistes suitable for all levels. There is also a large snow park with features suitable for beginner and advanced freestylers.
National ski teams from all over the world have summer training camps in Hintertux. So you can watch the pros as they train hard – you might even share the chairlift with them.
Up at 3000m you’ll find an array of attractions, alongside the glacial summer skiing. Experience the Kitzsenhorn’s ‘Ice Arena’, slides, snow beach and ice bar. There are also plenty of hiking routes for your afternoons once the skiing has finished.
The closest of Austria’s glacier ski resorts to Innsbruck airport, Stubai is perfect for a long-weekend summer skiing holiday. You may have seen pictures of the amazing, protruding viewing platform at the 3220m peak of Stubai, which – according to GEO magazine – is one of the best viewpoints in the world .
If you can drag your eyes off the view, there’s up to 62km of piste to explore in the summer. Although please note due to lift construction and repairs Stubai will not be operating in the summer of 2016.
With plenty of north facing runs, the snow quality is good for skiing on the Dachstein glacier in summer. It’s a popular travel destination for cross-country skiing and lots of Nordic skiers also spend time training here.
If freestyle is more your thing head to Dachstein’s snow park. It is well stocked with features and is open until July.
A state-of-the-art funicular takes you up to 3456m and the Grande Motte glacier. With 20km of piste and great snow conditions Tignes is a popular training ground for ski racers – if it’s good enough for the pros, then it’s good enough for us. Hire a local, private instructor to improve your technique, or learn some tricks.
The skiing is only open in the morning but Tignes offers some of the best mountain biking in the French Alps. Your lift pass gives free access to the Lagoon swimming pool in Tignes le Lac. You could even try out Acroland on the Tignes lake: ski, snowboard or BMX down a huge ramp, flying into the water!
Les Deux Alpes has the largest skiable glacier in the French Alps. With a lot of blue pistes, it attracts ski and snowboard camps and clubs that use the summer glacier ski resort to build confidence and improve.
There’s a good snowpark that includes an airbag to practice big tricks on. Like Tignes, Les Deux Alpes’ glacier is only open in the morning to preserve the snow conditions. However, lifts open at a bright-and-early 7.15am, so you can get plenty of slope time before lunch.
Despite only having two drag lifts, Passo del Tonale’s glacier offers a good variety of skiing and snowboarding, plus stunning views from the high-mountain pass. The pistes cover everything, ranging from blue to black, and there’s a long off-piste option from the top of the glacier.
A small ski area, but with demanding runs – Val Senales ups the ante for summer skiing. Take on the Leo Gurschler slalom training run or the eight km downhill slope. It has a snowpark sponsored by Nitro so expect some good features. For beginners and kids, there are nursery slopes and ‘Tiroli Kinderland’, with two magic carpets and ski carousel.
The Plateau Rosa glacier is reached by cable car from Cervinia. With a link to the year-round glacier at Zermatt there’s plenty to explore. At 3480m, the natural snow stays in good condition and its ‘Gravity’ snowpark is the highest in Europe, offering features for all ski and snowboard levels.
At 3800m, skiing on Zermatt’s glacier provides incredible views of the famous Matterhorn. The area has 21km of tame, gentle terrain, but plenty of other exciting activities. Take a lift 15m down inside the glacier, try an ice slide or squeeze through a natural crevasse. Zermatt is easily reached by train.
Saas Fee’s Allalin glacier is open in the mornings and offers skiing on a few varied, enjoyable slopes. You can relax at the snowpark’s Chill Out Zone, with music and sofas, and watch the freeride pros taking on two rows of kickers.
Pistes in Folgefonna are short but sweet, with something for every skill level. The new, green Panorama piste gives amazing fjord views. Plus there’s a well-maintained cross country slope on top of the glacier.
However, the Fonna-freestyle park is Folgefonna’s main draw featuring rails, boxes and kickers. Although Folgefonna is smaller and lower than other Norwegian ski resorts, its exceptional winter snowfall holds well and long into the summer.
Galdhøpiggen is Norway’s highest mountain (2469m). Just below it, you can ski on the Juvbreen glacier all summer long. Although the resort only has one T-bar, there is a great park where lots of teams train (and stay in the nearby youth-hostel).
The off piste from Juvbreen is good even in the summer. With a guide and the appropriate equipment, you can ski tour over to the next-door Styggebreen glacier.
Stryn is the most popular glacier ski resort in Northern Europe, and has been a tourist route for 100 years. The glacier offers all sorts of activities – why not hire a specialist instructor and try telemark, cross-country or Nordic skiing.
Even in the summer there are off piste opportunities here, particularly if you don’t mind a hike. Unlike some of the Alpine resorts, which only open in the mornings, Stryn is open 10am – 4pm. To get even closer to nature, there are camping facilities nearby.
And now for something a little different. Ski at midnight in Sweden’s ‘most legendary ski area’… Riksgränsen. It sits inside the arctic circle, so for two months around midsummer, the resort experiences 24-hour sunshine.
The lifts open for ‘night’ skiing between 10pm and 1am. The glacier ski resort at Riksgränsen is also open for day-skiing. There are off-piste options for ski touring and heliskiing available in the summer.
We hope you enjoyed our guide to summer skiing in Europe and our list of the top 15 glacier ski resorts. Please note resort opening and closing dates are subject to the weather and may change.
While lots of ski and snowboard instructors take on summer jobs, some passionate professionals stay at high altitude all year. A service like Ongosa will help you find an exceptional ski or snowboard guide or instructor all year round.
Visit the Ongosa website, give a little information on your requirements, then they’ll do all the searching for you: www.ongosa.com