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Zermatt Suspends Summer Skiing as Glacier Melts

It is the latest resort to call off summer skiing as the warm summer temperatures take their toll.  Hintertux in Austria is now the only on summer ski resort in the Alps open to the general public.

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At the end of July the freezing level in the Swiss Alps was at 5,184m – way above the peaks and far above the glacier slopes in Zermatt.

With no fresh snow and no refreeze overnight the slopes are not good enough for skiing and snowboarding.

Crevases are said to be opening up as the melt accelerates.

The warm temperatures follow a poor winter for snow with the snowpack 20% below normal at the start of the summer season.

The ski area is now closed but the resort has stressed that the measure is temporary and it will re-open as soon as conditions allow.

The glacier ski area of Zermatt is normally open 365 days per year and offers the highest skiing in the Alps.

View from the top of Zermatt

View from the top of Zermatt. Image © PlanetSKI

The closure of the glacier area in Zermatt will hit many alpine ski race teams that use the resort as a summer training ground.

Ski courses and instructor training will also be affected.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we have to bring our summer 5-day courses to an early end,” said the Warren Smith Ski Academy that runs courses on the Zermatt glacier from its base in Cervinia.

“However, when it comes to safety and the preservation of the glaciers we can only agree that temporarily closing the ski area is the right thing to do.

“We hope the coming weeks will show a decline in temperatures and a return to the usual summer ski conditions we have seen in previous years.

“In the meantime, take a look at some of the hard work this week’s team of Academy members have been getting up to with Jamie, Ruaridh and Rob.”

Passo Stelvio in Italy announced last week that it was also suspending summer ski operations, Italian resort suspends summer skiing as glacier melts.

Les2Alpes in France was forced to shut early as we reported.

Another French resort, Val d’Isere, didn’t even open its Pisaillas glacier area for summer skiing.

While neighbouring Tignes is also now unable to offer summer skiing as we reported earlier:

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Saas-Fee in Switzerland remains open, but only for race teams.

The GB slalom skier, Dave Ryding, is currently training in Saas-Fee.

Hintertux in the Tirol in Austria is the only summer glacier ski area still open in the Alps to the general public.

However the snow depth has dropped from 8cm to 4cm in the past few days.

At the moment, only 6kms of slopes are open, usually its up to 20kms at this time of year.

Matthias Ding from the Hintertux lift company told the Tiroler Tageszeitung newspaper that the glacier ski area will remain open for as long as possible.

Elite athletes and ski instructors are training in the summer and their business is important for the local economy.

Elsewhere in Europe there remains good conditions in the glacier resort of Fonna in Norway.

In the autumn Zermatt and the neighbouring resort of Cervinia in Italy hold World Cup downhill races for men and women.

The organisers have not said they have any worries for it.

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