Summer Skiing in Europe and North America


Where Can I Go to Make the Best Turns?

Summer is a time for living things to grow. Nearly everyone loves the sunshine, the warmth, the long days, and outdoor activities.

It’s more than simple desire. As a species, we have evolved to need the summer; our bodies require Vitamin D, and the long sunny days improve our mental outlook and immune function. After a winter of colds and flu, summer provides a welcome recovery period.

However, I invariably start yearning for winter as the days grow hot and the dog days of summer descend upon us. I lie awake in bed, sweating in the sultry air. I dream of frosty nights, curled up in my warm comforter.

Summer Skiing in Europe, snowboard

Luckily, there’s an easy fix to these summer doldrums. Both Europe and North America have options for summer skiing. Europe is more reliable, but U.S. states like California and Oregon offer epic slush skiing when after deep winters.

PeakVisor keeps tabs on which lifts are spinning, so you don't have to. Check the World Mountain Lifts page to see if your favorite resort is still open.

Let’s dive in and discuss some options in detail.


Every summer, several resorts in the interior of the Alps fire up the lifts and the Piste Bullies and welcome skiers to high-altitude glacial snowfields and bowls. Conditions can be good; as I write this at the beginning of June 2023, the Alps’ glaciers are taking quite a bit of snow. If only it had come in February!

Snow conditions can also be icy or hot and sticky if the temperature gets too high. It’s a mixed bag. The goal is generally to hit the slopes early and seek out a good corn cycle as the sun does its thing.

These aren’t the only slopes open in the summer, just the largest/those that remain open the longest. Many resorts stay open through May and even June, but it’s increasingly rare to find skiing in July, August, or September.


Zermatt is the overlord of summer skiing in the Alps. The flanks of the Matterhorn boast the world's most extensive summer glacier skiing area, with over 20 km (12.2 mi) of pistes, open off-piste, and a massive snow park. Generally, the resort stays open 365 days per year (one of only two worldwide), though the devastating summer of 2022 saw a forced closure due to drought and heat.

The snow park is a magnet for pro skiers during the summer. Pros congregate like safari animals at a watering hole as the sun heats up. Stop by for a spectacle featuring the cutting edge of human gymnastic capability. It’s not just freestylers; Zermatt’s website claims over 100 ski racing teams train on the glacier every summer.

Zermatt, Switzerland.  Summer Skiing in Europe

The skiing is open from 7 a.m. to noon; you can make turns in the morning and go hiking in the afternoon. The contrast of the white Matterhorn with the lush green valley is stunning. Even with 20 km of piste, the summer area is about 3% of the size of Zermatt in winter. I would bring skis as a side accessory; there’s much to enjoy in this valley during the summer.


Saas-Fee is another high-altitude Swiss resort offering skiing during the summer. The resort opens around mid-July and is famous for its racing camps. Generally, they can stay open through the summer and fall.

Be aware that the lift ticket is quite expensive. It’s about CHF 90 daily or CHF 1300 for a season pass. The skiing is limited to the glacier and is open until noon, although this gets later as summer progresses and the sun lowers.

Saas-Fee, Switzerland.  Summer Skiing in Europe


Hintertux Glacier is the second of two ski resorts open 365 days a year. The resort reaches 3,250 meters (10,663 ft), well above the point of glaciation in cold and snowy Austria. There is a relatively sizeable skiable domain, with 18 km (11 mi) of piste and plenty of off-piste.

Like any summer ski resort, the best snow is in the morning. The lift pass is cheaper than in Switzerland, at 59 euros. The terrain here is slightly more varied than the other summer resorts in Europe. There are black slopes - Zermatt is entirely beginner or intermediate in the summer - and plenty of open faces between the groomed pistes. Ten lifts run throughout the summer.

A spectacular ice cave is another reason to visit the glacier. Unlike other ice caves throughout the Alps, this one opens into a natural crevasse system with frozen waterfalls and an underground river within the glacier.

Ski racing camps dominate the scene less than in Saas-Fee, and the terrain is steeper than in Zermatt. By all accounts, it’s peaceful on the slopes during summer. With about ten lifts running, you don’t have to worry about waiting in lift queues.

Hintertux in Austria.  Summer Skiing in Europe

Passo Stelvio

The sole resort on this list that’s only open during the summer, Passo Stelvio is a little gem in northern Italy, offering an entire summer ski season from June to November. It’s a glaciated north face just south of Switzerland and reaches about 3,500 meters (11,500 ft), so it holds snow. Bonus points for 2023: they’ve been getting plastered throughout May and June, so hopefully, the summer season will be fruitful.

If you get bored of the mellow, open-faced slopes, just be thankful you’re not pedaling your bike up the sinister Stelvio Pass road leading to the resort's base. At 47 euros, Passo Stelvio boasts one of the most affordable lift tickets.

Passo Stelvioa.  Summer Skiing in Europe


Tignes is the only resort I included that is not open throughout the summer. It now closes at the end of July, the result of decades of glacial recession and low snow years. I wanted to include a French resort, and Tignes is open the latest. Probably due partly to the Mediterranean influence, French ski resorts have been hit hard these past years. Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez are two examples of one-time summer skiing meccas that have shuttered their lifts (2 Alpes is open until June 30 instead of the end of August).

The terrain is the standard fare for European glacier skiing. The best option is to ski in the morning and ride Tignes’ incredible bike park in the afternoon.

Grande Motte glacier, Summer Skiing in Europe

Fonna Glacier

Perched close to the arctic circle in Norway, Fonna Glacier may be the last man standing in summer skiing. The glacier managed to stay cold and white even during the summer of 2022 as Europe broiled (although Norway was locked in a cool weather pattern). It’s also inexpensive at about 38 euros (converting from Kronor) plus a road fee of approximately 8 euros per vehicle.

There’s one lift, and the skiing is limited - only a few kilometers of pistes exist even in the best of times. It may not be worth heading all the way to Norway to ski here, but we’re glad it exists.

Jondal, Fonna Glacier, Summer Skiing in Europe

North America

Summer skiing in North America is significantly more variable from season to season. Because North America’s lifts don’t access glaciers like in the Alps, the mountains need to hold a deep snowpack from the previous winter for the skiing to be any good - or even possible. After a big winter, summer skiing on Mammoth Mountain is some of the best in the world - better than the low-angle glacier skiing in Europe. In other seasons, skiing is non-existent, and the mountain is closed by June.

We also need to amend our definition of ‘summer.’ In the U.S., you’ll hear a lot of talk about summer skiing, but it’s pretty much over by the 4th of July weekend, even on the best of years.

Mammoth Mountain

The ultimate American summer skiing experience is at Mammoth Mountain, U.S.A. With the deepest snowpack since 2011, these guys plan on being open through July. That’s a big deal for a ski resort at 37 degrees latitude!

At the beginning of June, the staff is still running 12 out of 25 lifts with 75 of 175 trails open. All the open terrain is in the vicinity of Main Lodge and above, although you can still access the mountain via Canyons Lodge - they’re running the lift for now.

Vast alpine expanses under the Gondola and Chair 23 are the best terrain open anywhere in the world this time of year. The corn cycles can be almost as good as the powder skiing (powder is a finicky beast here at Mammoth). You want to be cruising up Chair 23 when the sun starts softening everything up.

Mammoth Mountain, North America

The park scene here is also raging all summer, with incredible freestyle skiers from all over the world coming to develop their skills. There are many pros, but the local rats are so good you can hardly tell the difference.

The mountain opens from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., so get out early and hit the bike park afterward.

Palisades Tahoe - Alpine Meadows

Palisades Tahoe is famous for its epic 4th of July bash when the snow conditions allow.

This year (2023), they’ll run the lifts on the Alpine Meadows side until the weekend of the 4th but close the Palisades Tahoe side on May 29th.

Alpine will only be open Friday - Sunday during June, so don’t show up expecting to get your mid-week shred on. The Summit, Roundhouse, and Treeline Cirque lifts will run from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

I’m nowhere near Tahoe, but it makes me smile to think that folks will be making turns in the morning and basking in the summer’s heat by the lake in the afternoon.

Palisades Tahoe, North America

Timberline Lodge

Perched high up on the Mt. Hood volcano in the Cascade Range, Timberline is the longest-running resort in North America, with lifts regularly spinning into September. Timberline regularly gets plastered with the white stuff; in 2022 - 2023, they clocked 700 inches (18 m). How else do you run a south-facing ski area until September?

While it’s not necessarily known as the raddest resort in the winter, Timberline has much to offer during summer. They operate the Magic Mile and Palmer lifts for about 2500 ft (762 m) of vertical drop on sunny, open slopes.

The winter season can be a purgatory of gray weather, but the summers here feature endless blue skies and low humidity. The Palmer lift, taking skiers to the top of the mountain, doesn’t even operate in the winter.

The resort is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Expect a dedicated park scene and skiers skinning up to the top of Mt. Hood if the conditions are right.

Ski run on the Top of Mt. Hood in the Summertime, North America

Beartooth Basin

Beartooth Basin is one of the few summer-only resorts in the world. Nestled high up on Beartooth Pass, the resort is utterly inaccessible during winter. Heavy equipment clears the pass in May; if there’s enough snow, this little nugget of a ski resort is open for business.

Beartooth may not be big, but it’s got attitude. Two poma lifts take you to the top of a bowl with 1000 ft (300 m) of vertical drop. Traverse lookers’ right off the lift, and you can get into gnarly terrain. The local youth will surely wound your ego as they huck their meat off the cornice into the steep bowl. Several more cliffs and drops are sprinkled throughout the bowl as well.

Otherwise, mogul fields abound at Beartooth. Chuck up some slushy snow from your tails and search that zipper line. The resort is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (not just mornings) from the end of May until the beginning of July, assuming there is enough snow. As it’s such a small operation, checking the website directly before heading over is best.

If you do find yourself standing atop the cornice plotting your drop-in, get ready to experience one of the most roots ski scenes in the world. Between beers in the parking lot, endless dispersed camping on National Forest/BLM land, and 3000 vertical foot (900 m) shuttle laps, Beartooth stands to represent what skiing is all about.

Backcountry Skiing

The Alps provide habitat for more than 6000 glaciers. The contiguous U.S., while less glaciated, also has many glaciers, especially along the Cascade Range. British Columbia and Alaska possess truly immense amounts of ice amongst the high peaks.

Naturally, many ski routes exist in these mountains, and some high elevations hold snow all year round. Summer skiing on glaciers requires relatively high-level mountaineering skills. This guide isn’t going to get into the finer points - that’s a whole ‘nother rabbit hole. But it wouldn’t be a complete guide unless I paid homage to the immense possibilities of these ranges.

Hatcher Pass area of the Talkeetna Mountains of Alaska, North America

Southern Hemisphere

Are you bored by the limited possibilities of low-angle summer skiing but not committed enough to find yourself tumbling through a weak snow bridge into a crevasse at 4000 m? South America might be the spot for you. Those dog days of summer I mentioned earlier? That’s when the season is peaking in the southern latitudes.

While the skiing is, as a whole, not as good as the Northern Hemisphere, the South has plenty to offer. South America is a cultural experience beyond anything you’ll find anywhere else (except maybe Georgia or rural Japan), New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and Australia is a beautiful continent with average skiing. I can’t forget the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa or the expeditions to Antarctica.

Lift access in the Southern Hemisphere may ultimately be that one thing that scratches your skiing itch as the summer drags on.

Perisher ski resort
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