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After the all hyped, all crowded long winter vacation, spring sets in. Things slow down a bit and plans for summer are underway. When others will be packing away their skiing and snowboarding gear and taking out their bikes, some will be gearing for amazing moments on snow during summer. Yes, there really are stunning skiing and snowboarding grounds that you could venture into and pick up your winter activities from where you left. Only, this time around, it will be under the glaring heat of summer. Isn’t that more fun?
We took our time to compile some of the most incredible skiing and snowboarding destinations in Europe. If winter was too freezing for you, prepare to venture out into the snow this summer.
1. Zermatt, Switzerland
Best for: Intermediate and advanced level
Open: throughout the year.
The best news about Zermatt is that it is accessible all year round, no limits! Zermatt borders the iconic Breuil-Cervinia Alpine Resort in North West Italy, Plateau Rosà, and Ventana Glaciers through a series of slopes covering about 23 km. If your time and budget allow, your itinerary would include all these destinations for a completely memorable vacation.
This resort covers the 21km groomed run on Theodul Glacier which is located a short ride from Zermatt Village and 15 ft halfpipe. If you are up to the challenge, you will enjoy tearing through the red runs. The runs are well groomed so you will certainly love the quality of snow and some level of safety. The well maintained Gravity Park offers a stunning scene. Skiing and snowboarding are done from morning to noon.
Getting there: Access this resort using the Klein Matterhorn cable car.
Where to stay: Camping is a good option especially at Zermatt. There are 3 campsites, several hotels like Firefly, Mont Cervin Palace, and Cervo as well as chalets like Alpha Lodge, Chalet Zermatt Peak, and Chalet Pollux.
Where to dine: Both sides of the divide, the Swiss side, and the Italian side offer amazing food. In fact, you could plan to have a taste of both cultures say at Corbeau D’Or and Paradies Zermatt on the Swiss side.
Other activities: Rock climbing, mountain biking, water skiing
2. Hintertux, Austria
Best for: All level skiing and snowboarding
Open: Throughout the year
The 3,250 m high Hintertux and one of the highest glaciers in Europe offer 60 km of unparalleled groomed runs for skier and snowboarders at all levels. At Hintertux is the broad immaculate Betterpark, a good place for the freestylers, which has been equipped with rails, pipes, boxes, table tops for jumps, jibs, and verts; in fact all kind of play at all levels. The popular 120 m superpipe is definitely a good challenge for the veteran. Aside from this, it is well networked with blue and red runs for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders.
Hintertux boasts of one-of-a-kind Nature’s Ice Palace and a cave underneath, both of which are worth exploring when one is not on the run.
For the family person, the kiddie’s 3,250 m bob run is a good way to keep the little ones engaged. Their playground is also great for tubing.
Getting there: Cable car, valley buses, train
Where to stay: Camping is an option. There are lots of accommodation facilities at Hintertux Village and in the villages at Tux valley. For quick access to the lifts, consider Hotel Gletscher, Neuhintertux, and Rindererhof. However, if you are on a budget and don’t mind a short distance, say 10-20 minutes away, Hotel Berghof will make a good option.
Where to dine: Hotel Alpenhof, Bergfriedalm, and Spannagelhaus are great places to dine especially for families.
Other activities: Mountain biking, cycling in the 800 km cycling trail in the Ziller valley, hiking, ice climbing
3. Saas Fee, Switzerland
Best for: All levels of skiing and snowboarding
Open: Mid July to end October
Saas Fee, also known as ‘The Pearl of the Alps’ is renowned for its spectacular scenery and a host of activities you could enjoy during summer. The glacier village is surrounded by thirteen 4000-meter peaks and happens to border Zermatt. Saas-Fee features 150 km of skiing and snowboarding runs for all levels and guaranteed high-quality snow even during summer. And if you are a sledding or toboggan enthusiast, gear up!
Getting there: Saas Fee is serviced by 22 railway lines including the popular Metro Alpin which ferries people to Drehrestaurant Allalin, the world’s highest revolving restaurant located atop an 11,000 feet glacier. Also available are 22 lifts, 3 cable cars, 2 chairlifts, and 5 gondolas.
Where to stay: Saas Fee is home to a number of chalets, from the high-end Vieux Chalet, Chalet Arez, to the fairly priced Chalet Duel, Chalet Merlot, and Chalet Bizz. Also, check into Hotel Schweizerhof Gourmet & Spa for a slightly different but great dining and accommodation experience.
Where to dine: Waldhus Bodmen restaurant offers an excellent mountaintop experience.
Other activities: Visit the world’s largest ice pavilion, the Mittelallalin
4. Tignes, France
Best for: All level skiing and boarding
Open: Late June to early August
The Popular Grande Motte glacier in Tignes is an amazing skiing and snowboarding ground. It features 3032 m of black, red, and blue runs for all level sporting with the north face hosting more beginners thanks to its not-so-steep forgiving slopes. It is served by a network of chairlifts and a cable car, the second highest, going as high as 3,456 m to take you right to the Tignes snow park.
For the novices, the Tignes summer ski school would be a great place to begin. The school carries out a 5-day program for 1 hour every day.
Getting there: A funicular train is available from Val Claret. Once there, you have access to the efficient lift system.
Where to stay: Tignes has a range of accommodation facilities including apartments, hotels, and chalets to fit every budget. However, be sure that you will have to dig a little deeper into your pockets to stay next to the resort.
Where to dine: Aspen coffee shop for late breakfast or La Croissanterie du Lac for a quick grab. Otherwise settle in at Le Caveau in Val Claret or Les Campanules restaurant, in Tignes Le Lac for a full meal. If you are keen on French cuisine, La Ferme des Trois Capucines is the place to be.
Other activities: Mountain biking, archery, paddleboarding, pedalos, visit the Lagon sports center.
5. Dachstein, Austria
Best for: Intermediate and expert skiing and snowboarding
Open: Late January to early July, early October to early December
The Dachstein glacier is home to 25 km of ski runs and 5 km slopes serviced by 5 lifts. This glacier is at the eastern part of the alpine mountain range in Styria and the agreeably the most popular among tourists. The lift system can get you as far as 2,700 m. At 3000 m altitude, this resort is not just for skiing. At the top, you will be treated to a very stunning scenic view from the Dachstein Ice Palace, skywalk, suspension bridge (the longest in Austria), and the popular stairway to nothingness. All these attractions have earned this resort a place in UNESCO’s list of world heritage.
This resort has designated runs for each level. Schladming and Hunerkogel pistes are great for beginners who may also be interested in taking up skiing or snowboarding lessons while Mitterstein Nord piste is a good option for intermediates and Mitterstein Süd is better off left for the experts. There is also a trail, Obertraun Route, set apart exclusively for Austria’s National Ski Tour.
It is important to note that summer skiing and snowboarding depends primarily on the weather and snow. It is not rare to fail to ski because of poor quality snow.
Getting there: Get up the glacier using the available cable car from the station
Where to stay: Dachstein has a variety of accommodation facilities to suit every budget. However, if you are out for the best, consider Appartements Taxi Maxi, Haus Lorenz, and Hotel Rosslhof.
Where to dine: Check in Dachstein Glacier Restaurant right next to the gondola mountain station or Berghotel Gasthof Türlwand for fine cuisine.
Other activities: Hiking, cycling
6. Fonna, Norway
Best for: Beginners and intermediates
Open: April to October
Fonna ski resort, located at Jondal on Folgefonna Glacier in the east coast of Norway, offers a great ground for skiing and snowboarding in addition to a charming view of the Hardangerfjord, the North Sea, and the mountains around. Though this resort has all-level runs, blue, green, and red, it is a good place for beginners and a mix of intermediates. Those who prefer to remain on the green and the daring ones who prefer to venture on to the red. It even has a snow park for the freestylers along with camps for kids and adults, which run during summer and a cross-country trail. The ski lift goes up
Getting there: From Bergen to Folgefonna by bus then hop on to Fjord express boat and head to the resort.
Where to stay: Jondal, the nearest village, offers a range of accommodation options from camping sites, Bed & Breakfast hotels, full hotels, to apartments.
Where to dine: Pop in at La Fiesta, Sann Mat, or Restaurant Meieriet for a hearty meal and grab yourself some Pizza. Sann Mat offers the best of Thai cuisine.
Other activities: Biking, skating
7. Passo Tonale, Italy
Best for: Intermediate skiers and riders
Open: All year round
Passo Tonale is located between Trento and Lombardy Provinces. This resort is part of the 100 km Adamello ski area, along with Presena Glacier, Ponte di Legno, and Temù. It is equipped with 29 modern lifts to take you up the 3,016 m altitude. With 62 km of runs including 12.7 km beginner, 37.3 km intermediate, and 12 km expert runs, this resort seems to appeal mostly to intermediates but there will always be something for everyone. Cross-country skiers get to enjoy the forgiving 5 km ski track with a gentle slope and plenty of sunlight. In addition, hone your skills at the ski school and your little ones at the Fantaski kindergarten. If you are out to enjoy shorter queues at the lifts and less crowded ski runs, this is the place to ski during summer.
Getting there: Free shuttle rides are available from Marilleva.
Where to stay: With most of its accommodation facilities found at the base, check into luxury hotels and chalets and enjoy the convenience of being near ski lifts. Hotel Cielo Blu, Grand Hotel Miramonti, and Grand Hotel Paradiso are some of the well-rated facilities in Passo Tonale.
Where to dine: Enjoy finger-licking Italian cuisine at Focolare Ristorante and Faita – la Baita del Tonale. Most importantly, don’t forget to grab some pizza at Pizzeria Bar Alpi.
Other activities: Hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, Nordic walking.
8. Stubai, Austria
Best for: Beginners and intermediate skiers and riders
Open: Late September to mid-June
The pride of Austria, Stubai is the largest glacier with an expansive 1,450 hectares sloppy ski area. It is located 45 minutes drive to the south of Innsbruck With an entire 62 km of groomed pistes, this resort has all three levels of runs including 23 km of blue runs, 15 km of red runs, and only 4 km of black runs. With a total of 26 lifts and cable cars serving it, access peaks between 2,300m and 3,200m. This resort also boasts adventurous off-piste runs, 2,600m children’s playground, a zoo terrain park with beginner, intermediate, and expert lines, as well as the 3,000 m ice grotto close to the Esigrat Station on the glacier.
Getting there: Get there using a rental or personal vehicle or train. Alternatively, hike the free
Where to stay: Stay at Activehotel Bergkönig or Aktiv-& Vitalhotel Bergcristall, at Alexandra’s Apartment, or in Alpenbauernhof Gröbenhof or Almhof´s Bauernhof farmhouses.
Where to dine: The Goldener Gams Restaurant
Other activities: Hiking, ice climbing
9. Les Deux Alpes, France
Best for: Intermediate riders
Open: Late June to early September
Even with the short skiing and snowboarding season, the little time you will have in this second largest skiable terrain in the French Alps is totally worth it. Les Deux Alpes boasts of expansive skiing and snowboarding ground with 11 pistes, mostly blue, within an altitude of 2,900 m and 3,600 m. This makes it a great place for intermediates apt on perfecting their skill to attain the next level. This resort depends on the condition of snow, therefore, it is important to check the snow and weather report before heading there. Secondly, it is only open in the morning hours so fill up the afternoon gaps in your itinerary with some other activities. To make the most of your time, catch the ski lift as early as 7.15 a.m.
Getting there: This resort is served by an efficient lift network along with a cable car, 2 gondolas, a funicular, and an elevator.
Where to stay: If you are on a budget, The People Hostel would make an excellent option. Otherwise, check into luxury in hotels like Le Souleil’Or or Hotel Mercure Les Deux Alpes 1800.
Where to eat: For a taste of French delicacy, check out La Grange or La Porte d’à Côté restaurants. Still, there is a whole range of eat-outs from Mexican, Italian, seafood, fast food, and even vegetarian restaurants available for you.
Other activities: Mountain biking
10. Kaprun, Austria
Best for: Intermediate, advanced, and expert riders
Open: May to September
Kaprun Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, an expansive resort with the highest peak at 3,029 m boasts of a total of 22 runs with 32% dedicated to intermediates, 54% to advanced riders, and 15% to expert riders. With snowfall averaging 130 inches, there is no better way than to spend your vacation cruising fresh powder.
Getting there: From Salzburg Airport, use public transport or train to get to Kaprun. This resort is served by a network of 17 lifts including 7 gondolas and trams, 1 quad chair, and 9 lifts.
Where to stay: Hotel Salzburgerhof, Krefelder Hütte, Hotel Falkenstein, and Hotel Tauernhof
Where to dine: Pop into Gastwirtschaft Tafern, Dorfkrug Restaurant, or Der Dorfstadl for Austria’s local cuisine.
Other activities: Relaxing at the snow beach, hiking, check out the castle at Kaprun
Skiing and snowboarding don’t end with winter. Europe is home to some of the most amazing skiing and snowboarding destinations for the summer holidays. It is known for its outstanding infrastructure and quality snow. Ski resorts on glaciers typically have fresh powder throughout the year, leaving you with pretty much to do in addition to skiing and snowboarding. For a family getaway, Europe presents the perfect option since the weather is more favorable for children. For some resorts, however, snow sports are limited to morning hours since as it becomes warmer, the snow melts and becomes a little too slushy for skiing or snowboarding.