If you can’t stay away from the snow, head to one of the summer glaciers ski areas in the Alps.
There are a number of resorts in Europe that are open for snowsports in the summer months, and while some of these are quite small, they do include larger glacier areas, often used by national alpine race teams and freestyle skiers and snowboarders, as well as keen recreational skiers.In spring and early summer, the accumulated snow from the previous winter influences both the quality of the skiing and the amount of terrain available, while late summer and autumn can see fresh snow falling at the higher elevations.
The quality of snow can vary hugely throughout the day in summer, with overnight freezing creating firm and fast conditions in the morning, with snow then becoming soft and slushy later in the day.
While the number of skiers and snowboarders in the mountain is very small compared to the winter, summer glacier skiing can offer excellent conditions for learning, or for taking part in skill development courses and camps.
At the top of the Ziller Valley, up the road from the popular resort of Mayrhofen, Hintertuxer Gletscher is open all year round. The never-ending season, combined with fairly extensive terrain, makes it perhaps the most well-known glacier ski area in Europe. Even in the middle of summer, skiing is usually possible from 3250m down to 2600m. With Innsbruck (90km), just over an hour away, it’s a great choice for many.
The glacier at Kaprun is open at certain times during the summer, as well as the autumn. Though smaller than other Austrian glaciers, there is a good variety of terrain. The Zell am See - Kaprun area is also a popular destination in the summer for its alpine hiking and water sports too, with it’s closest airport nearby, Salzburg (100km).
The closest glacier ski area to Innsbruck airport (43km), Stubai, is open until early July, then again in September once the warmest summer months are over. It's proximity to Innsbruck and reasonably large skiing area makes it a common choice for summer skiing.
The Grande Motte glacier at Tignes is open for most of the summer and offers a good variety of summer skiing. The glacier is accessed by the funicular from Val Claret, which takes around 7 minutes. The glacier is only open to the public in the morning, which helps to preserve the snow cover. Across in Val d'Isère, the Pissaillas glacier opens for a short summer season in June and July, dependent on snow cover.
Les Deux Alpes
The largest skiable glacier in the French Alps,Les Deux Alpes, is home to an impressive snow park and excellent terrain for beginners. Most of the runs in the summer are blue, but there are a few reds available too. Grenoble (70km) is the nearest airport to Les Deux Alpes, making it definitely worth the visit.
The Presena Glacier at Passo del Tonale is set amongst spectacular peaks between the Brenta Dolomites and the Ortler Group, although transfer times are longer compared to many other glacier areas (130km to Milan Bergamo and 180km to Verona). With 500m of vertical served by only a handful of lifts, it may not be a first choice for some.
Close to the popular spa resort town of Meran, the glacier at Val Senales is open throughout the summer season for snowsports. It may be a small glacier, however it invites an interesting variety of runs, plus the Nitro snow park. It's quite remote, with the nearest airport being Innsbruck, around 190km away, but this shouldn’t put those keen for some summer skiing off.
The Plateau Rosa glacier at Cervinia is one of the smaller Italian glaciers, but still worth putting on your list. The terrain available is fairly limited, but does connect to the glacier area at neighbouring Zermatt. The nearest airport is Turin (120km), making it a very much accessible option for many.
There is a big glacier at Zermatt open almost year round, though the terrain is fairly flat compared with other skiable glaciers. However, with terrain at over 3800m and spectacular views, it is still an appealing summer skiing destination. Geneva is the closest major airport (240km) but travelling to Zermatt by train is a good option too.
Saas Fee has a great glacier which is usually open from the beginning of July, with 20km of slopes at the Allalin summer ski area, sitting at 3600m. Trains take approximately 4 hours from either Geneva or Zurich.
Our snow reporting team update the snow overview every Monday and Thursday throughout the summer with the latest snow and weather information.