Only four glacier ski areas are currently open in the Alps, all in Austria or Switzerland with nowhere currently open in France of Italy, but the snow gods don’t seem to care and conditions are back to ‘mid-winter’ like up high with more heavy snowfall over the past few days and continuing for a few days more to round off one of the snowiest Mays in memory.
The Kitzststeinhorn, Stubai (pictured top earlier this month) and Hintertux glaciers are all still open in Austria, although the Kitzsteinhorn above Kaprun will close after this coming weekend for about a month before re-opening for July snowsports (the Molltal glacier is also due to re-open to commence its nearly 11 month ski season).
In Switzerland, with Engelberg closing at the end of the weekend, only year-round Zermatt will be open for the next 7 or 8 weeks until Saas Fee re-opens and joins it.
Glacier areas have reported up to 30cm (a foot) of fresh snow in the past 72 hours but the snow is forecast to keep falling for the final days of May. Zermatt had 25cm in 24 hours at the weekend and the Stubai, which currently has the deepest base, still over 6.6 metres (22 feet), 15cm (6 inches) of fresh snow.
The four areas are likely to see 30-60cm more snowfall over the coming 72 hours.
In Italy Passo Stelvio was due to start its 2019 summer and autumn season this coming Saturday but has postponed a week to the 9th due to issues prepping the slopes and making them avalanche safe as another 60cm of snowfall is forecast there this week. It should be great conditions when it does open.
That delay means it will re-open the weekend Val d’Isere opens for glacier skiing, the first French area to do so, and due to be followed a fortnight later by Les 2 Alpes and Tignes.
The below video is from Rifugio Passo Principe Grasleitenpasshütte in Trento, Northern Italy on 30th May.
Oggi 30 maggio si esce dal rifugio così
Posted by Rifugio Passo Principe Grasleitenpasshütte on Wednesday, 29 May 2019
Three ski areas are also open in Norway, one in Japan and seven in the US, where it was also snowy last week (Breckenridge, which is open weekends into June, is pictured below last week). The southern hemisphere’s ski season is due to start on Saturday, June 1st but with heavy snow in Australia and the Andes too, ski areas could potentially open early later this week in order to claim to be the first.