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Strange but true – Skiing in June

6th June 2008 Print
Strange though it may seem, more European ski areas are open in late June than late May each spring/summer. The anomaly – in which more ski areas open as temperatures get warmer – has been identified by the leading snow-reporting service which tracks snow conditions several times daily, year round, at more than a thousand European ski resorts.

The reason, of course, is that whilst May is something of a dead month between seasons, June sees resorts getting ready for summer, and what better thing to do in summer than go skiing? France is a good example. It had no ski areas open in the final weeks of May, but its remaining summer ski destinations re-open later this month.

Les 2 Alpes will be the first with over 110 hectares of piste, including a popular terrain park on a 400m vertical between 3,200 and 3,600 metres available from June 14th to August 30th.

At Tignes the summer ski area on the Grand Motte glacier is open every day from 21st June to 31st August, from 7.15am to 1pm daily. There are 20km of piste between 3,000m and 3,656m altitude available with 750m of vertical – as big as the biggest lift served vertical in the southern hemisphere. There are 12 ski lifts and a snow park to enjoy, with a new boarder cross course due to open this summer, as well as a mini slalom.

Neighbouring Val d’Isere’s small Glacier du Pissaillas ski area is open for summer snow sports from June 28th to August 15th depending on snow conditions. A bus service to the lifts will operate from Le Fornet with a day ticket including bus fare costing 25 Euros.

In Italy there will be three places to ski by the middle of the month. The Presena Glacier, above Passo Tonale, which has been open all year with two red and one black run for advanced skiers, was joined by Passo Stelvio which re-opened on Sunday, 25th May. Sitting up at 2760 metres, the bottom lift station at Italy's Passo Stelvio ( Stilfserjoch ) is the highest lift base in Europe, with trails up to 3450 metres, giving a near 700 metre vertical.

The centre, one of Europe's largest summer skiing areas, has 10 runs, all but one of which are graded 'red' or of intermediate/more difficult standard, the other is an easy trail.

The third option of the Val Senales glacier lifts re-open on Saturday, 14th June. Skiers have access to a total of eight kilometres (five miles) of prepared trails. The cable car and three drag lifts serve runs which range from gentle slopes for beginners to demanding downhill runs. The snow park at 3,200m offers 120.000 square meters of glacier equipped with an easyline, a mediumline and a proline to make sure all snowboarders and freestyle-skiers will find something to suit their ability level. A fourth choice, Cervinia, re-opens in July.

Austria still has the most ski areas open in June as it did in May. Along with Switzerland, Austria is benefitting from the interest boost of the Euro 2008 football tournament kicking off shortly, with special celebratory events organized in many ski areas.

Tux is open 365 days a year with summer ski runs cover up to 18km (12 miles) of piste and there are additional terrain features including the BetterPark which has a full range of jumps and other hits. Currently however even more terraion is open with Skiinfo reporting 41km (26 miles) of runs are open served by 11 lifts with a 305cm (12 foot) snow base.

As usual there is a full programme of events throughout the summer, as well as many additional open air music concerts and other festivities. A special week from the 28th June to 5th July is intended to reward any of the 20,000 regular guests who have registered with the tourist board as repeat visitors. This celebration is staged only once every four years.

The Kaunertal glacier is also open with 310cm (just over 10 feet) of snow at the top whilst the Stubai Glacier has announced that it will stay open in to July and has 200cm (six feet, eight inches) of snow with 19km (11 miles) of piste open served by five lifts. The last snowfall there two weeks ago added another 10cm (four inches) to the huge base.

Other choices include Kaprun, where there is over three metres (ten feet) of snow on the glacier. This is currently closed for three weeks for lift maintenance but re-opens on June 21st. And although the Pitztal Glacier has now closed, the Dachstein glacier is open with five lifts and the ‘Super Park’ to enjoy.

In Switzerland Zermatt’s ski area is open year round and Skiinfo currently reports snow depth on the glacier at just over sex feet (187cm).

One lift is operational at the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz where there is 120cm (four feet) of snow on the slopes.

If you’re looking for the continent’s deepest snow however, Norway is the place to go where all three glacier ski areas (Folgefonn, Galdhoppigen and Stryn), each of which operates a single long drag lift, are all reporting accumulated snow of an incredible eight metres (27 feet).

To keep up to date with the latest snow depths, open lifts and runs and snowfall projections, visit