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summer skiing

Despite what you hear about the skiing in New Zealand kicking off in style this June, it might be that you need not look that far away to find some decent snow to slide on before next winter comes around. There is an enormous choice of skiing available throughout the northern hemisphere between the months of May and October, with resorts catering for all kinds of skier. A summer ski trip might be equally as novel as it is a successful pursuit of some extra turns in 2015, but what can you really expect from a summer trip to the mountains north of the equator?


What is the snow like?


Typically, summer skiing will be located on high, north facing glaciers that hold the snow virtually all year round; this results in some great conditions in several high European resorts that stretch up above 3,000m like Saas Fee in Switzerland and Hintertux in Austria. However, don’t expect pristine conditions all day, every day – the snow can be firm, and even icy, early morning and can turn into slush by midday – and powder days are few and far between. That said; seeking out some spring corn slopes at the right time of day could result in some brilliant skiing conditions.


What size are the resorts?


Most of the summer skiing resorts are generally smaller versions of their wintery selves, with fewer lifts running, but providing amazing training pistes to hone your skills, and great terrain for racing and freestyle skiing. Most resorts boast elaborate freestyle parks that may even trump their winter versions.


Will it be busier, or quieter, than in winter?


Summer skiing in Europe is not as popular in summer as it is in winter, however some resorts will become extremely busy with courses and camps for ski clubs. The snow parks attract many freeskiers from around the world, including professional athletes in training for next seasons competitions. Many of the runs can be booked up for race clubs to set their courses on and early morning lift queues can become extremely large – prepare to stand your ground against a torrent of small children in spandex.


When can I go skiing?


There are a variety of options for ski destinations throughout the year from spring until autumn. The French resorts of Les 2 Alpes and Tignes are open from late June until late August, whilst Whistler Blackcomb stays open for just one month, from the end of June until late July. However, the vast expanse of Zermatt and Cervinia’s combined summer skiing remains open well into October, similarly, Austria’s Hintertux will stay open for business until October 9th this year, after opening as early as May 9th.


Most resorts will open early morning (around 7am), and the last lift down will be typically at some time before 2pm.


What sort of training can I get?


If you are looking to use your summer ski trip as time for some personal development then there are plenty of great courses on offer. This is also a great way to make the most of your time up on the mountain (and to get to the front of some lift queues!) Warren Smith and Snoworks run courses in Cervinia and Tignes respectively, with coaching available for all abilities and ages, including race camps and all terrain training. Skivo2 run a junior race camp, and Onyx Snowboard School run freestyle snowboard camps, in July in Les 2 Alpes, and throughout the month of August adults and juniors can attend the British Freeski Camps running in Cervinia.



Is it good for children?


Early morning uplift times and busy queues aren’t necessarily good news for families, but if you pick your resort wisely, the skiing can provide an extra dimension to a family summer holiday. Resorts, such as Les 2 Alpes and Tignes, are geared up for all sorts of outdoor activities in the mountains, providing an adventure mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. All of the bases are covered; with tennis courts, swimming pools, skate and adventure parks, toboggan runs, golf courses and mountain biking for all abilities. Les 2 Alpes even offer free admission to an array of alternative activities along with the purchase of a ski pass, and Tignes boasts some of the wildest and hair raising outdoor challenges including Acroland and the Crazy Airbag: a set of slides and diving boards that catapult you high into the air before landing in water or onto airbags.


So if you can’t wait for next winter, check out some of the skiing that the northern hemisphere has got on offer asap!