Summer skiing: The top 5 glaciers in Europe
Between May and October, all the European skiers and riders flock to the glaciers of France, Austria and Switzerland or Italy. They come to perfect their techniques under the sun before the start of the next winter season.
Top 5 European glaciers to summer skiing break
Although winter remains the main season for snow sports, it is still possible to ski and snowboard during the summer period, as some 15 European ski areas open partially between mid-June and early September. Above 2800 metres, their respective glaciers and their “eternal” snow, allow you to put on your skis before time and enjoy the joys of skiing in a different way.
Here is the list of the top 5 summer ski spots in Europe:
1) The Tignes glacier: an ideal spot for summer skiing
In Tignes / France (Savoie department in France)
The Grande Motte glacier, above Tignes, reaches an altitude of 3456 meters. The glacier is accessed by an underground funicular from Tignes. It takes skiers from 2100 meters to 3000 meters in just seven minutes. Afterwards, you can take the Grande Motte cable car to the summit. New this summer: travel on the roof of the cable car, a unique experience!
Skiers and snowboarders will find a wide choice of blue, red and black runs (ski-club training area) served by chairlifts and lifts. The famous slopes on the north side are not too steep but do have some challenges. The glacier snowpark is for freestyle enthusiasts, pros and beginners. It is equipped with half-pipes, rails, moguls, a hip ramp, quarter-ramps and a rainbow rail.
Take the funicular and then the cable car (3,456m) and stop off on the Panoramic terrace to enjoy the view of the surrounding peaks and mythical massifs: Mont Pourri, the Grande Sassière ridges, the Grande Casse (highest point of the Vanoise: 3,856m) and the majestic Mont Blanc range on the horizon.
2) The 2 Alpes glacier : THE mecca of summer skiing in France
At Les 2 Alpes / France (Isère department)
The Mont-de-Lans glacier culminates at 3570 meters of altitude. It is the largest skiable glacier in Europe. Its snowpark rivals the Saas-fee glacier in Switzerland thanks to a 4.5-metre wide and 120-metre long halfpipe, a snowskate zone, slopestyle possibilities (Big air, tables, kickers and rails) and a Coolzone. The snowpark also has a smaller pipe, ideal for beginners. A funicular railway takes skiers to the top, after which the slopes are served by chairlifts and drag lifts. The eight runs on the glacier are ideal for beginners and intermediate riders (2 green, 4 blue and 2 red).
The “Glacier Experience” pass gives access to all the lifts serving the Glacier and the Bike Park. It also allows you to use the swimming pool and the summer toboggan run.
3) Saas-Fee glacier: Freestyle in the sun
In Saas-Fee / Switzerland (canton of Valais)
The Saas-Fee glacier rises to an altitude of 3600 meters. It offers 20 kilometers of runs particularly suitable for intermediate levels but which can be suitable for all levels. Take the funicular to the top, from where three ski lifts serve the ski area. National and international teams train here every summer. From July to September, the glacier is also a meeting place for freestyle enthusiasts who come to perfect their techniques in the freestyle area. There are two kicker lines, a half-pipe and various modules (rails and boxes). Saas-Fee is one of Europe’s leading freestyle resorts, and every year in July it hosts the Saas-Fee Big Air competition, with DJs and barbecues. Take a break at the Chillout Zone and enjoy the music and canapés. The glacier also has a high-altitude restaurant with terraces to relax over a meal and a drink.
4) The Zermatt Glacier: Skiing all summer long at 3820 meters above sea level
In Zermatt, Switzerland
The Theodul Glacier links the ski areas of Zermatt with Cervinia in Italy. It is served by the Matterhorn, the highest cable car in Europe. It takes skiers to an altitude of over 3820 metres. Eternal snow is guaranteed and of good quality thanks to the comfortable altitude of the glacier.
The Italian side of the Zermatt/Matterhorn ski area opened for the first time in the summer and is one of the largest ski areas in Europe. The glacier has a total of 13 runs (over 20km), most of which are red and blue, and the resort also has 7 ski lifts. Experienced skiers can test their skills on the race track and in the moguls. The Gravity snowpark boasts a superpipe, kicker park and rail park (open from May to November). Because of its extreme altitude and large ski area, Zermatt regularly hosts international ski and snowboard teams.
5) Neustift Glacier: 20Km of pistes for all levels
Stubai Glacier, the largest in Austria, is located at an altitude of 2300-3200 metres. It offers 110 kilometres of pistes, of which 20 kilometres are usually open in May and June and are served by modern lifts. Beginners and intermediate skiers are spoiled with plenty of blue and red runs. Two black runs, Wildpitzschuss and Schartenschuss, are also open in summer. The Stubai snow park closes in May.