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Europe Glacier Skiing: Where to Ski in August

Europe Glacier Skiing: Where to Ski in August

Glacier ski areas in Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland remain open for skiing.
posted: 08/21/2008

Warm temperatures on Europe's glaciers have led some summer ski resorts to close early, but the majority remain open and the leading snow-reporting service target=_blank> has snow depth details for all of them. The company tracks snow conditions several times daily, year round, at more than a thousand European ski resorts, including the dozen that are currently offering summer snow sports. Remarkably, ski areas in Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland have all reported fresh snow falling at times over the past fortnight.

The Tux glacier in Austria was amongst those recording fresh snowfall in the past week, topping up snow depths on the glacier to 105cm. Although temperatures have been variable, reaching +9C degrees at the bottom of the glacier ski area and +4C at the top, the centre currently has 13km of piste open , served by the three giant Glacier Bus lifts, one chair and five drag lifts. The ski day starts at 8:15 in the morning with the ski area winding down by 1pm daily because of the heat. The action then moves to the Treffpunkt Panoramaterrasse restaurant which also has specials on between 11am and 1pm. The lifts back down run to 4.30pm so there's no need to

You can also ski on the Dachstein Glacier, which has two kilometers of piste on a 180cm base available although the terrain park is now closed until September. The Molltal glacier is currently running three lifts, serving nine kilometers of slopes. A fourth choice, Kaprun, has about 70cm of snow on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier and five runs open served by six lifts. Several more glacier ski areas in Austria are due to re-open in September, including the Kaunertal, Pitztal and Stubai areas.

In France Val d'Isere's glacier did close slightly earlier than expected after temperatures at 3000m reached 13 degrees Celcius, however Les 2 Alpes and Tignes both intend to stay open for the remainder of this month. Les 2 Alpes has over 110 hectares of piste, including a popular terrain park, on a 400m vertical between 3,200 and 3,600 metres available to August 30th. Currently around 15 lifts are serving a dozen easy to intermediate grade pistes.

At Tignes the summer ski area on the Grand Motte glacier is open every day 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 open this summer, as well as a mini slalom. Current snow depth is 40cm (16 inches).

In Italy Passo Stelvio has the most skiing available in the country at present. 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 current snow depth varies between one and three metres with fresh snow a few weeks ago. The centre, one of Europe's largest summer skiing areas, has 10 runs, with 20km of piste currently open. All but one of which are graded 'red' or of intermediate/more difficult standard, the other is an easy trail. A second Italian glacier ski area, the Val Senales glacier, is also open but
with only a kilometre of skiing currently available.

The Matterhorn Ski Paradise in Switzerland, above Zermatt and also accessed from Cervinia in Italy, is Europe's highest ski area, one of the largest summer snow operators, and one of the few remaining year-round operators. Following recent snowfalls glacier snow depths are around 190cm with 10km of
runs available served by six lifts. The resort is currently installing a pioneering new snowmaking system from Israel that can make snow in plus temperatures which the resort hopes will bridge a piste-gap that has grown at the base of the glacier where it has melted away, so skiers no longer need to walk to the lift station but can ski there as they could 20 years ago.

Norway's three summer ski destinations remain open. Galdhoppigen has two kilometers of skiing and a snow depth of 180cm, Folgefonn four kilometers of piste and a snow depth of 120cm and Stryn five kilometres and a 150cm base.

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

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