Pic: Beach-goers enjoying Arapahoe Basin's Annual Swimwear Day & Rail Jam. Credit: Curtis DeVore/Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Summer skiing is more appealing than ever this year, as many of us missed out on a winter trip.
To clarity what we mean by ‘summer’ skiing: the majority of the world’s most popular ski resorts are in the northern hemisphere. This means their winter (and ski-able season) falls between December-ish and April-ish. Some resorts at lower altitude will have shorter seasons, while some resorts at higher altitudes (often with glaciers) will have extended seasons... These seasons often reach into June/July (and beyond!), and that’s what we’re really excited about! These off-peak weeks should also lead to quieter resorts and fewer crowds/queues.
However, we don’t want to disregard the fact that you can ski in the southern hemisphere, in incredible places like New Zealand and Chile, between June and September too.
This list is our pick of the most fun, summer skiing spots in Europe and the northern hemisphere.
Summer ski in Austria
Hintertux is one of the few resorts in Europe that is open for the whole summer; it is a 365-day ski resort! Skiing on the Hintertux glacier means being at altitude of 3,250m, with roughly 20km of groomed pistes that are suitable for all skiing levels. There’s also a big snowpark that caters for beginner to advanced freestyle skier and snowboarders.
National ski teams from across the world ski at Hintertux glacier for summer training camps. You may get to see them training or perhaps even share a chairlift with one!
The glacier also offers other attractions such as a snow tubing track (sliding down slopes on inflatables), and snow tyre carousel – it’s Europe’s highest playground! The natural Hintertux Glacier Ice Palace is an amazing natural cave made of ice. A professional guide takes you through the cave, through a crevasse, past frozen waterfalls and across a glacier lake.
Part of the joy of summer skiing is being able to experience two seasons at once. There’s loads of hiking and mountain biking tracks from the glacier too.
The beautiful Kitzsteinhorn glacier stays open for its summer ski season until July. At 3000m it’s a great area for intermediate skiers, with mainly wide and gentle runs, freestyle skiers and snowboarders can also enjoy the snowpark.
There is an assortment of other attractions at the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. The ‘Ice Arena’ has a snow beach and ice bar, providing the perfect spot to relax in a deckchair, soak up the rays and enjoy the stunning view.
Once the skiing has finished, there are quite a few restaurants on the mountain and glacier to choose from. Gipfel restaurant sits at 3,029m and has a large viewing platform where you can look out to spectacular panoramic views.
Summer ski in Switzerland
At 3800m, Zermatt’s glacier boasts the highest altitude and largest summer ski area in Europe, it also offers fantastic views of the iconic Matterhorn. There are 21km of piste to ski, as well as an impressive snowpark, border cross and a collection of restaurants. From June, the lifts reopen and then stay open for the rest of the season (until April).
If you’ve ever fancied seeing some of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders, then the Klein Matterhorn glacier is the place to be. For years, many professionals have come here to train during the summer in Zermatt. If Zermatt’s summer skiing is good enough for them, then it’s good enough for us!
Another reason to head to Zermatt in the summer, if you have completed a ski or snowboard instructor course Level 2, is for the ‘Summer Ski Instructor Training’ classes, designed to improve your teaching ability and skiing technique. We really rate this as a clever way to improve off-season, if you want to become a ski instructor.
Finally, the area also offers lots of other exciting activities, such as taking a lift 15m down into the glacier, snowtubing and ice slides.
Summer ski in France
Tignes’ summer ski season starts at the end of June and lasts till early August, up on the Grande Motte Glacier. The glacier sits at the altitude of 3456m, with a state-of-the-art funicular to take you up there. It’s an early start if you want to be first on the slopes, as the lifts start running at 7:15am. Last lift is at 1pm, but the last decent isn’t until 4:30, so you can have a pretty full day skiing.
There is 20km of piste to ski on the glacier, as well as a snowpark. You can hire a local, private instructor if you wanted to improve your ability or maybe learn some tricks in the park. When you get hungry there is the Panoramic mountain restaurant on the glacier for lunch, which also hosts après on the terrace – who says après is just for winter?!
Tignes offers some of the best mountain biking in the French Alps, with lots of quality mountain bike tracks across the mountain. 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
Les Deux Alpes houses one of the largest skiable-glaciers in the French Alps, sitting at an altitude of 3,600. It has 11 runs in total (nine of them blue) and 11 ski lifts. The high number of blue runs attract ski and snowboard camps and clubs for improvers/lessons to gain confidence in the summer months.
There’s even a snowpark with an airbag, great for practicing big tricks, plus a variety of jumps ranging from small to XXL. Like Tignes, Les Deux Alpes’ glacier is only open in the morning, to preserve the snow conditions, lifts open at 8.00am until 12.30, so you can get plenty riding done before lunch.
Not far from Les Deux Alpes is the resort of Alpe d’Huez (20min drive). Alpe d’Huez is another large resort and offers loads of summer activities including more glacier skiing, glacier hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, canoeing and more!
Summer ski in Sweden
Riksgränsen - February until June
Now something a little different! Riksgränsen, the world’s most northerly ski resort, is located 200km from the artic circle. Being so far north, it means the resort opens from February until June. During mid-summer, the resort actually experiences 24-hour sunshine! From the middle of May, you can ski under the midnight sky for the ultimate summer skiing experience.
Riksgränsen caters to all. For beginners, the low mountains provide gentle gradient pistes, for the more expert skiers and snowboarders there’s an abundance of off-piste skiing.
Summer ski in in Norway
Stryn is the most famous summer ski resort in Northern Europe and is a part of the huge glacier Jostedalsbreen, which attracts hundreds of tourists every year. The summer ski season starts from early June to mid-July and, unlike many other resorts, the slopes stay open from 10am - 4pm.
One of the big draws of Stryn is the amazing scenery that surrounds it, the area is known for its stunning settings of blue glaciers, fjords, deep valleys and snow-capped mountains – sounds dreamy!
Even in the summer there are plenty of off piste opportunities, providing you don’t mind a hike (with those views who would?!). There are lots of telemarking, cross-country and Nordic skiing possibilities too, if you fancy giving it a try.
The glacier and surrounding area offer a range of activities as well as skiing, like guided hikes across the Jostedalsbreen glacier. There’s also lots of climbing and hiking to be done, plus the Sky Lift in Loen (very close to Stryn). The Sky Lift is one of the steepest cable cars in the world, taking passengers from the fjord at the bottom, 1101 metres up the mountain in five minutes. There are 360 breath-taking views and a restaurant at the top, as well as lots of skiing and hiking trails.
Summer ski in Canada
Whistler, British Columbia
At Whistler you can have a leisurely start to the day before your glacier skiing, as the opening time is a leisurely 11am until 3pm. The Horstman Glacier is open from early June to mid-July and provides a little something for everyone, with a snowpark, mogul fields and groomed slopes!
The summer ski opportunities don’t stop there though, Whistler offers a fantastic range of ski and snowboard camps/clubs. The camps and clubs cater for all ages and abilities, they range from beginner skiing improvement, to mogul technique to advanced racing practice. If you’re planning to do a ski or snowboard instructor course doing a summer camp can be great opportunity to get some practice in before the winter season and course starts.
If you just want to get a bit of practice in before your instructor course, without joining a camp, then Horstman glacier is the place, as it’s recommended for advanced and expert abilities only – embrace the challenge!
Summer ski in America
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Arapahoe’s season typically starts in October and, amazingly, ends in June, but it has been known to stretch all the way to the 4th July! We can personally boast about experiencing a legit powder day in the middle of May!
The longevity of the season is down to the height of the resort that sits at 3,206m alone. It boasts one the highest skiable bounds in North America, reaching max skiable height at 3,978m. So, if you’re craving that summer ski or want a bit of practice before a snowboard or ski instructor course, then enjoy the variety of slopes the A-Basin has to offer.
(Main picture: A few beach-goers enjoying Arapahoe Basin's Annual Swimwear Day & Rail Jam. Copyright: Curtis DeVore/Arapahoe Basin Ski Area)
We're well up for a summer ski trip now!
We're feeling seriously inspired. Have you enjoyed a summer ski holiday, at a location that didn't make our list? Let us know!
If you really do want to head to the southern hemisphere - here's more info on how to become a ski instructor in Chile, and how to become a ski instructor in New Zealand.
And finally, if you think it makes sweet sweet sense to ride in one of these sick locations in the summer - and do your instructor course in the winter - then here's the links to our ski instructor courses and our snowboard instructor courses!