SUMMER SKIING KICKS OFF
17th June 2019 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on December 19th, 2019
Tignes & Les2Alpes have opened. After decent winter snow + cold temperatures it’s looking good, though a heatwave is coming.
Summer skiing in the alpine resorts of Europe can be a bit hit or miss.
It all depends on the snow base that has built up over the winter and the spring and summer temperatures at altitude.
Well, it’s looking good right now.
There are good quantities of snow left over from winter.
Last Saturday two big beasts in different parts of the French Alps launched their summer season.
Les2Alpes and Tignes.
“With guaranteed natural snow on its glacier culminating at 3600m above sea level, the Les 2 Alpes ski area is one of the few to remain open even in SUMMER!” the resort said on its website.
“Summer skiing at Les 2 Alpes is from 7h to 12h30 every day from June 22 to August 25, 2019”
The resort claims the snow depth at 3,200 metres is 2.65m.
Here’s a look at some of the preparations…
And here is a webcam image of the Les2Alpes glacier from Thursday lunchtime with less than 48 hours to go, showing it’s a hive of activity.
The summer season kicks off with the third Les2Alpes Outdoor festival.
The weekend showcases the resort’s summer activities.
There’s a ski and snowboard freestyle contest, mountain bike and e-bike rides on new tracks, an enduro race in mountain bike, trail running races for all levels (from 3 to 39km) and a skateboard contest on the new skate park.
There are also entertainment and parties in resort.
PlanetSKI was in Les2Alpes in June 2017 as summer skiing began.
Conditions were not quite so good then.
Later the same year the resort began installing snowmaking machines on its glacier as other measures to protect the snow had proved insufficient.
It was the first resort to put snow cannons on a glacier.
Tignes also struggled that year – as we experienced – after a poor winter and a summer heatwave.
This year it is very different.
The winter was a good one for snow and the Alps have not seen excessive temperatures so far this June.
There’s even been some unexpected snowfall.
The Grande Motte glacier at Tignes opened for the summer on Saturday 22nd June for six weeks until Sunday 4th August.
There’s a new attraction this summer.
Skiers can head up to the top in the open air on the roof of the new Grande Motte gondola for a 360-degree view taking in Mont Blanc, the Cime de Bellecôte and the Aiguille de la Grande Sassière.
PlanetSKI partner Snoworks will be running courses in Tignes throughout the summer.
You can rise early to ski on the glacier, then enjoy summer activities at a slightly lower altitude.
Tignes’ neighbour, Val d’Isere, is already open for its five-week summer season.
Skiing started on the Pisaillas glacier above Le Fornet on 8th June and continues until 14th July.
The Stelvio Pass glacier near Bormio in Italy also began operating on 7th June.
It’s due to stay open for skiing until 4th November, weather permitting.
In Austria, the Hintertux glacier is open year-round.
And the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun, which only closed on 2nd June, re-opens for summer skiing on 29th June.
Over in Switzerland, Zermatt is open year-round.
PlanetSKI partner the Warren Smith Ski Academy begins its five-day courses on 30th June.
They run for nine weeks on the Plateau Rosa glacier which is high above Zermatt and the Italian resort of Cervinia.
You can access the glacier by lift from Cervinia from 29th June.
This is what it was like on the glacier for the Academy’s first course in summer 2018.
And if you’re heading further afield for your summer fix, the southern hemisphere is now open for skiing.
Australia is a good bet.
It’s had one of its best starts to winter in years.
Several other resorts in the Alps will open later in the summer.
For more details about where to ski this summer in Europe and beyond, see our full guide.
MAIN PHOTO: Les2Alpes
For the Spirit of the Mountains – PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news