Summer Skiing in the Alps Steps Up A Gear
21st May 2021
Last modified on June 7th, 2021
A few resorts are firing up their lifts this weekend, some for the first time in more than a year. Unusually wintry weather for late spring looks like providing some excellent skiing and snowboarding.
A few resorts in France and Italy are firing up their lifts.
Some have been idle for well over a year following the rapid spread of Covid-19 across Europe in February/March 2020, forcing them to close.
One ski area opens at the weekend for just for a few days to take advantage of the cold, snowy weather that’s hit the Alps this week.
Others are preparing for their usual late spring/summer glacier openings.
Several in Austria and Switzerland are already up and running.
“The unusually wintry spring is great news for the summer ski season, with the Alpine glaciers now pretty much guaranteed to be in excellent condition, at least for the first half of the season,” says Fraser Wilkin, the alpine snow watcher from Weathertoski.
Here’s the latest information we have….
La Clusaz, France, 23rd May
The resort is having its shortest ski season ever – two days.
Lifts on the Balme Massif are open on Sunday 23rd and Monday 24th and are free.
“We have dreamed of putting our buttocks on a chairlift for months! …… we can finally officially announce the opening (and closing) of the winter season on May 23 and 24,” the resort said on social media.
The Balme gondola, Bergerie chairlift and Col de Balme will run from 8am to 3.30pm on both days with 50% reduced capacity.
Places must be booked online in advance.
Update: Here’s the scene in La Clusaz on opening day:
— La Clusaz (@LaClusaz) May 23, 2021
Pontedilegno-Tonale, Italy, 22nd May
The Presena glacier is also be open this weekend for two days.
On Saturday and Sunday holders of a daily ski pass, ski mountaineers and ski club members will be allowed on the glacier.
A limited number of tickets went on sale at 8am on Thursday and have sold out.
Cervinia, Italy, 26th May
“Finally the news we’ve all been waiting for has arrived,” the resort has announced.
The Aosta Valley is moving down to Covid-19 yellow status, which means Cervinia will open for skiing on Wednesday 26th May.
It will be the first time the lifts have run since the resort was briefly opened last autumn.
Breuil-Cervinia – Plan Maison and the three chairs Plan Maison, Fornet and Bontadini will be running.
The chairs will operate at 100% capacity but the closed lifts will run at 50%.
Skiing will continue until 11th June.
Daily lift passes are €33.00 (valid only for the Italian side, not for Zermatt) and go on sale online at 8am on Tuesday 25th.
Les2Alpes, France, 29th May
Skiing is scheduled to start on Saturday 29th and continue until 19th June.
A daily pass costs €36.50.
Most of the glacier lifts will be open from 7.30am to 12.30pm.
Val d’Isere, France, 12th June
Tignes, France 19th June
The resort was able to open its lifts briefly last autumn before being ordered to close, will start it summer skiing on the glacier on 19th June.
The six-week season will end on 31st July.
There will not be a snowpark on the glacier this year.
Daily tickets for adults are €38.
The resort says there is currently no need to book in advance and there will be no limit on the number of skiers allowed on the glacier because of the speed and frequency of the lifts and the size of the ski area.
Lifts will start running at 7.15am with the last cable car to the top going at 1pm.
Several ski areas elsewhere in the Alps are currently open.
Austria has the most: Kaunertal, Dachstein, Pitztal, Stubai (long weekends), Kitzsteinhorn and Hintertux. Molltal will open on Saturday 22nd May.
In Switzerland there is Zermatt, Engelberg (closing Monday 24th May) and Crans Montana (weekeends).
Travel restrictions vary and none of these ski countries are yet on the UK’s ‘green’ list which would allow travellers to visit without having to quarantine on return.
Let’s hope that changes soon and we can enjoy all the mountains have to offer in summer.