Die hard skiers who can’t wait for winter often turn their thoughts to resorts in places like New Zealand or Chile when looking at options for a summer ski but a surprisingly large number of high-altitude villages offer lift-accessed skiing in Europe between June and September.
In France, Tignes is the most extensively developed summer skiing area. The Grande Motte glacier rises to 3650m and is accessed by a funicular railway, and then cablecar.
The neighbouring resort of Val d’Isere accesses the Glacier de Pissaillas at 3300m from the cable car station at Le Fornet. Alpe d’Huez offers summer skiing up to 3330m on the Glacier de Sarenne, but is best suited to advanced skiers.
The Stubai Glacier above Innsbruck remains open throughout the ‘closed’ season. The nearest resort is Neustift and skiing is available up to 3200m. Improved cablecar links have been installed, and nine additional lifts serve the extensive glacier area.
The Molltaller Glacier, in the heart of the Karinthia region, offers skiing in the summer at 3000m on the Hohe Tauern peaks.
In the Tirol, the glacier ski area of the Kitzsteinhorn above the village of Kaprun extends up to 3209m and is accessed by either a modern cablecar or a mountain railway. Because of its proximity to the equally appealing lakeside resort of Zell am See, this is one of Europe’s most popular summer ski destinations.
Italy has a number of summer ski centres, notably Courmayeur on the French border which has a cable car link via La Palud to the glacier skiing on the Vallee Blanche above Chamonix.
Switzerlandincludes some familiar names amongst its summer skiing resorts. There are extensive possibilities at Zermatt with the skiing on the Theodul Glacier, but nearby Saas Fee has the better glacier skiing and is more suited to less advanced skiers.