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Patrick Thorne

23 May 22

French & Italian Summer Ski Seasons Start Saturday

Patrick Thorne

23 May 22

France and Italy, where no ski areas are currently open, will resume lift-accessed snow sports this coming weekend.

Les 2 Alpes, which has now overtaken Tignes to offer the longest summer ski season in France, re-opens less than four weeks after its 21-22 winter season ended at the start of the month.

In Italy, the Passo Stelvio ski area is also expected to open.

Les 2 Alpes claims Europe’s largest skiable glacier and lift company SATA has been carrying out some work in the glacier snowpark.

A boardercross has been built for summer training and to host international competitions. A smaller boardercross has also been built for families, along with a green slope between the boardercross and the snowpark. Beginners and those who just don’t fancy getting airborne can take it to watch the riders in the park.

Les 2 Alpes had an ice cave on the glacier at 3,200 metres. It has now been moved to 3,400 metres and is next to the skywalk (Le Belvédère des Écrins) and an orienteering table. This area is accessible to skiers and also pedestrians.

The number of summer ski areas and, in most cases, the length of the summer ski season, has been  declining year on year since the late 1990s.

Recent summer have seen those areas that are still open in the alps in summer often have to end summer skiing early as the summer sun melts all snow from the ice.

So far in 2022 the sole summer ski only ski area in the US, Beartooth Basin, has announced it won’t open this spring and summer as winter snow build up has not been adequate. In Europe the Kaunertal glacier in Austria closed at the weekend, two weeks earlier than planned, saying,

“Due to the winter with little snow, the persistent warm temperatures and rain showers up to high altitudes, we have to stop the lift operation for skiers…”

The Molltal Glacier (pictured above earlier this month), which was Carinthia’s only summer ski centres, has said it won’t open for snow sports this summer but do so in September or October instead.

Currently eight ski areas are open in Austria, Norway and Switzerland however including Crans Montana, Engelberg, the Hintertux, Kitzsteinhorn and Stubai glaciers as well as Zermatt.

Summer ski areas due to open in June include Tignes, Val d’Isere and Cervinia.

Les 2 Alpes will be open from Saturday 28 May to Sunday 28 August 2022, with the glacier saiming to stay open to 15 August for skiers and boarders.  Passo Stelvio usually stays open for six months to early November.