Summer Skiing & Snowboarding Starts in Austria

The glacier resorts of Hintertux, Kaunertal & Kitzsteinhorn are first off the mark, giving some lucky skiers and snowboarders the chance to make some turns for the first time since early March.

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Hintertux in the Tirol is now skiing.

And here is what it looks like folks:

Gestern am Hintertuxer Gletscher 😍🎿🌞💪 Sonnenschein & Pulverschnee, besser hätte der Neustart kaum sein können

Posted by Kinder- & Gletscherhotel Hintertuxerhof on Saturday, 30 May 2020

Hintertux prides itself on being Austria’s only year-round ski resort, closing only when weather and conditions force it.

Not in 2020.

The Coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of all ski resorts across the Alps by mid-March.

But now it is open again for summer skiing.

However there are strict social distancing measures in place.

As we reported earlier on PlanetSKI, the glacier resort at the top end of the Zillertal Valley, is one of a handful that has been preparing for an early start to summer skiing operations.

The lifts began running at 8.15am on Friday 29th May with the last ascent for skiers at 3pm.

A total of 26km of slopes is open.

“We are aware of our responsibility towards guests and employees and are organising the reopening for May 29, 2020 based on the announced regulations of the Ministry of Health,” the resort says.

“The health and safety of everyone is our top priority.”

Two mountain restaurants – the Tuxer Ferhnerhaus and the Sommerberg – are open.

The 2019-20 Snow Card Tirol lift pass is being extended until 2nd August.

Dein sonniges Platzerl auf 3.250 m! 😎☀️

Ein sonniges Platzerl auf 3.250 m gefällig? 😎☀️

Posted by Hintertuxer Gletscher on Saturday, 16 May 2020

There is also skiing and snowboarding elsewhere in Austria.

The Kaunertal glacier in the Tirol opened up as well from Friday 29th May until the 7th of June

Skiing is available from 7 am until 1 pm.

The following lifts for skiing are in operation: Falginjochbahn, Nörderlift and Fernerlift.

And here is what it looked like as the slopes reopened on Friday:

The Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun also opened for skiing and snowboarding on Friday.

The ski area says for winter sports fans who want to catch up on a few turns after the abrupt end of the season in mid-March, the high alpine slopes down to the Alpincenter are expected to be open every day except Wednesdays.

In a normal year, Kitzsteinhorn would continue its winter season until the end of May or the beginning of June and then close for about a month to prepare for summer skiing.

But this is no normal year.

Kitzsteinhorn’s off-snow summer operations also got going on Friday with hiking and biking.

Easy family hiking and biking trails on the Maiskogel mountain and the Maisi Flitzer will be open from Wednesday to Sunday, with access on the MK Maiskogelbahn lift direct from Kaprun.

The more demanding freeride mountain bike trails on Kitzsteinhorn will open in mid-June.

The resort is giving a 10% discount on all ski, mountain and valley passes, except for season and annual tickets, until 26th June.

“Let’s start together in a summer in which we appreciate the feeling of freedom and security more than ever,” the resort says.

“The health and safety of our guests and employees have top priority – we have therefore drawn up up-to-date instructions for how to use our trains and offers.”


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Other planned openings…..

Another of the Austrian glacier resorts, Mölltal, says it plans to open for skiing on Saturday 6th June.

Meanwhile the Stubai website says it is preparing to open up the glacier for non-skiing summer activities on 4th July, though the date is subject to change.

In France, Tignes says it is hoping to open its glacier for summer skiing from 20th June to 2nd August, as long as it gets government approval.

“The tourist office, the accommodation providers, the activity providers and the various shops in the resort are currently preparing for the summer season and are ready to open as soon as they are authorised to do so, in accordance with the directives which will be given by the Government, and within the framework of their respective opening dates,” the resort says.

Val d’Isère has announced it is opening the Pisaillas glacier on June 6th for summer skiing.

There will be race lanes and some ‘free’ skiing and it hopes to stay open until July 11th.

Snow removal from the road from Val d’Isère is continuing to allow access to the glacier.

There will be a limit of 500 people per day in the first week, and then it is hoped to raise it to  600.

An online reservation and pre-sales system will be used.

Social distancing will be implemented and face coverings will be mandatory  in the queues and on the lifts.

Pisaillas glacier

Pisaillas glacier

Les2Alpes in France says it intends to open its glacier for general skiing at the end of June.

Non-glacier alpine resorts are beginning to announce their summer opening dates.

Saalbach Hinterglemm in Austria kicks off on 11th June, with six instead of four lifts serving riders who want to access more than 70km of lines and trails.

In Switzerland Verbier has announced plans to open lifts and the bike park on June 6th.

Zermatt also opens on the same date.

Several more resorts are expected to follow and we’ll be updating this article as with more news about summer in the mountains.

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