If you’ve always wanted to ski in Europe but never quite got round to it during the ski season, the good news is that a number of European ski areas stay open right through spring. In fact, a few of them offer skiing and snowboarding on their glaciers all year round.
So here are some you can choose to visit in April, May, June, even July!
1. Year Round: Zermatt, Switzerland
Zermatt is one of the world’s “must ski at least once in your life” destinations for all serious skiers and boarders. It is open for snow sports every day of the year – unless some bad weather prevents it.
The glacier ski slopes are among Europe’s largest with around 2,500 feet of vertical even in spring and summer – That’s more than the biggest lift-served vertical in the southern hemisphere. Home to Europe’s highest lifts reaching 12,790 feet, Zermatt’s top attraction is the mighty Matterhorn mountain, one of the world’s iconic peaks.
2. Until Late June: Riksgransen, Sweden
A real “cult classic,” Riksgransen is sometimes referred to as Europe’s (or even the world’s) spring skiing capital. Riksgransen is located more than 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle where it’s so cold and dark that the centre doesn’t open for snow sports until late February each year.
Riksgransen stays open to midsummers day in late June. From mid-May onwards, when there’s 24-hour daylight, you can ski and board here under the midnight sun.
3. Until September: Passo Stelvio, Italy
Spring and summer skiing on the Stelvio Pass is a long standing tradition in Italy. One of the world’s most scenically spectacular, the slopes usually stay open right through to September.
The road up to the pass was built nearly 200 years ago from 1820 to 1825. Apart from bringing up skiers and boarders, it is also a venue for major mountain running and cycling races. There are 10 runs between 9,050 and 11,320 feet up, served by 10 lifts.
4. Year-Round: Hintertux, Austria
Like Zermatt, the glacier ski area at Hintertux, located in Austria’s stunning Ziller Valley, aims to stay open to skiers and boarders for 365 days a year. The slopes are accessed by ultra modern high-speed, high-capacity gondola lifts and there’s often a big skiable vertical here still in May and June (Tip: the best conditions are in the morning).
It’s an easy resort to reach from the historic regional capital Innsbruk, making it a good choice if you’d like to combine a late spring European ski and city break.
5. Until Late Summer: Fonna Glacier, Norway
There are three spring and summer ski areas in Norway that don’t open until late April or early May. They get so much snow – it’s often 30 feet deep by the start of spring – that no one attempts to access them until April, and then it is a major operation just to clear the roads and dig out the lifts in order to get to them.
The Fonna glacier is open for Easter and has received more than six feet of snow in March, building on a base that was already 13 feet deep. It will be open through to late summer.
6. Up To November: Stubai Glacier, Austria
When it comes to skiing in Europe between April and November each year, you can’t beat Austria! The country has eight glaciers with ski lifts and runs that have enough snow to open year round.
The Stubai glacier, closest to Innsbruick, usually stays open to late spring and sometimes early summer. This year it has an amazing $50 million new high-tech, high capacity, high speed giant gondola lift system to carry visitors up to the spring and summer snow slopes, making for an ever better experience.