Just because the winter season has come to an end doesn’t mean skiing has to also! Many resorts have glacier skiing playgrounds during the summer months and the beauty of summer skiing is combining it with a summer holiday or a city break as there are a wealth of other activities to try out when you’re not shredding the slopes.
Although the extent of terrain is fairly compact and limited during the summer, you can take advantage of the cheaper lift passes where you can chose either a 6 day pass or chose to buy a half or full day pass so you have more flexibility to decide when to hit the pistes.
Resorts also have shorter opening times so visitors can make the most of the optimum snow conditions before it turns slushy. This does mean early starts, with some resorts opening their lifts as early as 7am and closing as early as 12pm. This does vary from resort to resort and many have activities to try in the afternoon that are included in the lift pass price.
The other major selling points are the terrain parks. Glacier resorts make their parks first class for summer in order to make up for the limited slopes. Not only do they attract a lot of pros nailing the kickers, rails a pipes but the parks also have features to cater for all ski and snowboard levels, plus it is the ideal time to practice some tricks when the snow is soft.
Want to go skiing this summer? Why not visit one of our top 5...
Tignes Grande Motte glacier between 3000 and 3456m opens up 20km of runs during summer as well as a terrain park. The Grande Motte Funicular runs from Tignes Val Claret and accesses the Grande Motte glacier, or take the Perce Neige funicular from resort to the foot of the slopes in just 7 minutes. Pedestrians with a pass also have access to the glacier where you can enjoy stunning views of the valley from the world’s largest open air gondola. For thrill seekers, the Acroland at the lake in Tignes le Lac is a must! Try out the hot jumping slide where you can slide on your back or belly and finish with a jump into the lake or the 35m lake jumping ramp on skis, BMX or skates before tackling the big jump at the end. This is the spot where Freestyle champions train to master their flips and tricks.
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Tignes open air cable car - Photo: The Telegraph
2. Hintertux – 365 days a year!
The Hintertux in the Zillertal ski area claims some of Europe’s top glacier skiing and is Austria’s only all year round ski area. Accessed by 3 separate lifts taking about 20 to 30 minutes, the area has 60km of pistes for all levels in the summer with freeride slopes open from May all the way through to October. The Betterpark has features tailored for all abilities as well as a 120 metre superpipe whilst the Funslope has obstacles tailored for children. For non-skiers or if you’re looking for alternative activities, take a visit to the Nature’s Ice Palace. Located inside the glacier itself, you can see spectacular ice chambers and venture even deeper into the cave below where you can take a guided tour to learn about the stalagmites and stalactites.
3. Les Deux Alpes
Les Deux Alpes's Mont de Lans glacier has 11 runs open over summer accessible by 17 lifts as well as a snowpark which is considered as one of the best summer freestyle resorts in the world. For both pros and freestyle novices, it features a snowskate zone, slopestyle (Big Air, tables, kickers, rails), a cool zone and a half pipe. The summer season starts off with a bang in L2A with their Outdoor Festival with their third edition this year from the 21st to the 23rd June. The weekend is filled with competitions and activities including MTB, trail running, skiing, snowboarding and skating. Plus, the 6 day lift pass also allows you to try swimming, tennis, golf, archery, tobogganing as well as the 100km bike park to keep you occupied during the afternoons.
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4. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise – Zermatt & Cervinia
Sharing a glacier that has 23km of runs and overlooked by the iconic Matterhorn Mountain, Zermatt and Cervinia are the underdogs for summer skiing. Not many know the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is Europe’s highest summer ski area with altitudes of up to 3,883 metres! Along with amazing snow conditions and groomed pistes, the Gravity Park on the Plateau Rosa is the highest in Europe and has features for all. At the top of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, take in the views of the Matterhorn and try out the free snow tubing and explore inside the glacier itself 15 metres down to see ice sculptures and go down the ice slide. Lift passes for more than 3 days on the Zermatt side also allow you access to local biking lifts as well!
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Only open for intermediate to advanced skiers, the Horstman Glacier in Whistler on Blackcomb Mountain offers epic park features, groomed pistes and challenging mogul fields. To directly access the glacier, take the free shuttle bus from the bottom of 7th Heaven area or ride the three chairlifts up the mountain overlooking the resort’s stunning views and the chance to spot local wildlife including black bears from above. The glacier plays host to a number of ski and snowboard camps in the area including racing and freestyle or visitors can test out the bike park on Whistler Mountain, take a free hiking tour, play some golf or zipline over the river between the two mountains.
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