The summer ski season on the Grand Motte glacier above Tignes is due to get underway this Saturday, June 27th, 2015.
The resort is the third and final centre to open for summer skiing in France, following Les 2 Alpes a week ago and the small area at its neighbour Val d’Isere at the start of June.
Fresh snow has been reported on several Alpine glaciers in recent days, a promising sign for Tignes.
Val d’Isere’s area will close in early July so there’s only a brief time window when all three areas are open at the same time.
The number of glacier areas that open for at least a few weeks between May and October has dropped from around 40 at the start of the century to nearer 20 now. With some saying they’ve ceased summer snow sports in order to focus on preserving their diminishing glaciers as climate change takes its toll.
Elsewhere in Europe the glaciers at the Stubai, Hintertux and Zermatt are amongst those still open for skiing and boarding. There are also three glaciers in Norway which have received more than 10 feet of fresh snow during June. Across the Atlantic Whistler re-opened for five weeks of summer skiing last weekend.
Ski areas that formerly offered some summer skiing in France include La Plagne, Val Thorens and Chamonix. Alpe d’Huez stopped offering summer skiing, then re-introduced it a few years ago, but is believed to have ceased again for the past few seasons.
Tignes used to be open 365 days a year but now closes for most of May, June and September. It’s summer skiing season will end on August 9th, it is however open for around two months more than any other French area, being the only resort open in the country for much of October and November.