Skiing in late spring and summer, when the weather warms up, means heading to the highest peaks of North America and Europe. Or, for powder chasers, it means flying to the Southern Hemisphere, to countries like New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and Argentina, where the winter ski season goes from June to October. Check out our picks of the coolest ski resorts around the world for skiing and riding in summer.
The best summer ski resorts
The Hintertux is one of the few remaining glaciers that’s open for skiing 365 days a year, making it obviously one of the longest seasons in the world. Up to 20 km of slopes are open for summer skiing. The runs are accessible via 10 lifts, including the Glacier Bus 3, capable of transporting 3,000 skiers per hour.
The Hintertux offers a good range of runs for all levels but is famous for its steep, challenging terrain. Freestyle fans have their choice from five lines—Pro Line, Medium Line, Easy Line, 2 Jib Lines—at Betterpark Hintertux. Betterpark is open from April to the beginning of June, during summer break, and then open again from mid-September.
The Tuxer Sportbus is a free bus service, which operates year-round transporting guests from Vorderlanersbach, Lanersbach, Juns, or Madseit to the bottom of the glacier.
» Check out summer lodging options at Hintertux.
The Kitzsteinhorn Glacier above Kaprun has a large, nearly year-round ski area boasting varied runs and a terrain park. Consider it for the longest season challenger. Intermediate skiers and riders will feel particularly at home here. Chill out at the Ice Camp (open January to April) with its igloos, ice bar, food court, and sun deck with lounge chairs. It’s the perfect spot to relax and listen to music. Non-skiers can take free guided panoramic hikes across the glacier.
» Check out summer lodging options in Kaprun.
Les 2 Alpes, France
Les 2 Alpes has one of the largest summer ski glaciers in Europe, with access to skiing between 3200 and 3600 meters in less than 30 minutes. The Mont-de-Lans Glacier is open from late June to late August.
A funicular railway, gondola, chairlifts and drags for a combo of 17 ski lifts transport skiers up to 220 acres (90 ha) of prepared glacier (nine blue slopes, one green slope, and two red slopes). The snowpark at Les 2 Alpes rivals that of Saas-Fee’s glacier, with its slopestyle and big air, cool zone, half-pipe, and Easy Park suitable for beginners. The slopes and lifts are open every day from 7 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., and ski camps run throughout the summer.
» Check out summer lodging options at Les 2 Alpes.
The Grande Motte Glacier has varied terrain—blue, red and black runs—accessed by chairlifts and drags. The summer ski area is open from late June to early August and serves up 20 km of downhill skiing, plus freestyle terrain, cross-country skiing and a restaurant with a view.
It takes less than 10 minutes to get up to the base of the glacier on the underground funicular from Tignes. The glacier closes at 1 p.m., which is a perfect time to take your skis down to the water ramps on the lake.
» Check out summer lodging options at Tignes.
Open year-round, Zermatt has a whopping 21 km of summer skiing on its Theodul Glacier, the highest and largest summer skiing operation in Europe. In addition to snow-sure pistes, the freestyle Snowpark Zermatt provides one of the best views of the iconic Matterhorn.
Zermatt visitors can enjoy a variety of summer ski school options with plenty of examples of good form all around as they share the slopes with ski teams in training. Zermatt summer skiing is available until noon. Best bet is to hit the mountain early for the best conditions.
» Check out summer lodging options in Zermatt.
Saas Fee, Switzerland
The Allalin Glacier in Saas Fee offers summer and fall skiing from mid-July to late October. The lifts run until between 12-3 p.m. depending on the time of year, but it takes an hour to reach the glacier. Get up early to avoid the slush.
The 20-kilometer ski area, just edged in size by Zermatt’s glacier, is well suited to intermediates and is particularly popular with freestylers and race teams. The snowpark has a half-pipe, kickers, rails, boxes and transitions in all shapes and sizes to suit all skill levels. Take a break at the Chill Out Zone with music and couches located below the pipe. The glacier also has a restaurant and sun terrace serving lunch and beers.
» Check out summer lodging options in Saas Fee.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
That’s right, summer skiing in Canada. Get in an early-morning mountain bike ride then head up to the Horstman Glacier, open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. between mid-June and late-July each year for summer skiing.
It is a scenic 45-minute ride up to the glacier via three chairlifts, with views of the entire Whistler Valley from the top. The glacier, served by T-bars, requires advanced to expert skiing ability level. Lunch is served at the European-inspired Horstman Hut, perched at the summit of Blackcomb Mountain.
» Check out summer lodging options at Whistler Blackcomb.
Timberline Lodge, Oregon
Located about an hour and a half drive from Portland, Timberline Lodge runs the longest ski season in North America. The Palmer Express high-speed quad lift allows the mountain to operate from June until about Labor Day. The resort grooms several lanes across Palmer Snowfield located on the south face of Mt. Hood. During the warmer months, Timberline Lodge is primarily used for summer ski racing and freestyle camps. It is the summer site for the U.S. Ski, Freeskiing and Snowboarding teams.
Freestyle terrain parks are a major draw for Timberline Lodge skiers and riders in the summer months. Start in the Mile Canyon and then move up to Palmer snowfield in late summer. Advanced skill level skiers and riders should play here.
» Check out summer lodging options at Timberline Lodge.
Mammoth Mountain, California
Mammoth, located about 350 miles north from Los Angeles, has long been the favorite of skier and riders from Southern California. Unlike the glaciers, your window for early summer skiing is sometimes short and sometimes a bit longer, depending on the winter snowpack.
The longest closing date for Mammoth is Aug. 6 in the 2017-18 season. Still, the mountain has closed around July 4 15 times since the 1968-69 season. Packages are available and ski school is operating. Here’s a tip; afternoon lessons are less expensive, but the snow is slushier.
» Check out summer lodging options at Mammoth.
Palisades Tahoe, California
The best bet for a long spring into the summer season around California’s beautiful Lake Tahoe is at Palisades Tahoe, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Palisades Tahoe often makes its way into July with soft bumps, corned snow and some groomed runs.
Our pro tip: Ski or ride in the morning and then enjoy Lake Tahoe in the afternoon. Alternatively, High Camp, at 8,200 feet, is a popular spot for snow sports in the morning and activities like disc golf, hiking, swimming in an outdoor pool and more in the afternoon.
» Check out summer lodging options at Palisades Tahoe.
Las Lenas, Argentina
Let’s head to the Southern Hemisphere for a full summer season of skiing. Here, the ski season begins at the start of the Western Hemisphere summer, in June, and goes until the fall. Las Leñas is one of the highest ski resorts in Argentina and boasts reliable snow. The mountain’s 43,000 acres (17,500 hectares) of skiing (30 runs) is suited to skiers and riders of all levels.
Advanced and expert skiers come for the deep off-piste powder. Some of the best powder can be found on the steep bowl and long couloirs accessed from the Marte chairlift. Various ski instruction programs can keep your skills at a high level. More advanced skiers can embark on an adventure into untouched powder with a guide. Those programs are called Out of Track and Extreme Expedition.
Three on-mountain restaurants serve an array of dishes, including French cuisine, soup, salads and various sandwiches.
» Check out summer lodging options at Las Leñas.
Cerro Catedral, Argentina
Cerro Catedral is one of the biggest ski areas in South America, featuring 120 km (75 miles) of runs (34 lifts) offering beautiful views of Nahuel Huapi Lake. Its slopes are sprinkled with numerous mountain huts for food and drinks. For non-skiers, the mountain offers a multitude of non-skiing activities, including various tours, a snowcat ride, tubing, sledding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
» Check out summer lodging options at Cerro Catedral.
Valle Nevado, Chile
Valle Nevado has plenty of sunshine and snow, making it a paradise for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Miles of terrain is served by some of the most modern lifts in South America, including the very first and only gondola in Chile. The ski area links with neighboring El Colorado and La Parva to make up the Tres Valles of the Andes for a combined 7,000 acres and 14 lifts. Other highlights include hike-to backcountry terrain and world-class heli-skiing with runs that feature up to 6,000 feet in vertical. Valle Nevado’s cozy village is home to three hotels, several restaurants, and a number of great bars for après-ski. Finally, it’s also part of the Ikon Pass and The Mountain Collective, with pass holders able to use their pass for skiing and discounts on package stays.
» Check out summer lodging options at Valle Nevado.
Ski Portillo, Chile
Ski Portillo’s owners have strived to keep it small and intimate. There is no town, shopping center, or even ubiquitous franchise restaurants or coffee shops. There is just one big yellow hotel, which accommodates 400 people. That means there are rarely any lift lines and slopes do not suffer from overcrowding.
Portillo features 1,235 acres of skiable terrain across 14 lifts and 35 trails with long groomed runs accessed by chairs and drags. For advanced/expert skiers, it’s the freeriding that is the major draw with its abundance of steep off-piste faces. Heli operations are available to take you to even higher elevations and descents. Portillo also has countless hike-to backcountry areas.
» Check out summer lodging options at Portillo.
Coronet Peak, New Zealand
Coronet Peak is one of the most popular ski resorts on the South Island of New Zealand, and just 20 minutes away from Queenstown. Its varied terrain offers something for everyone. Beginners and intermediates have wide blue and red runs while more advanced skiers can hit the terrain park or test their stamina on the longest run, the M-1, stretching 2.4 km (1.5 miles). The resort is known for its efficient high-speed chairlifts and night skiing that is offered several evenings a week.
The mountain’s Skiwiland program is a fully licensed Early Learning Centre with the NZ Ministry of Education, catering to children 3 months to 5 years old.
» Check out summer lodging options at Coronet Peak.
Treble Cone, New Zealand
Treble Cone, in Lake Wanaka, covers two basins, the Saddle and Home basin. Both provide some of the best freeriding in New Zealand. Fans of steep and challenging terrain claim Treble Cone has some of the best in the country, with close to half the mountain dedicated to advanced terrain. Expert riders can take guided tours out to the Motatapu Chutes. Beginners and intermediates are not left out, however, with plenty of long, uncrowded runs.
» Check out summer lodging options at Treble Cone.
Perisher in New South Wales is the largest ski area in Australia (and the Southern Hemisphere, for that matter). It is made up of four villages: Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Simiggins Holes and Guthega, all of which are connected and offer varied terrain.
It’s about a six-hour drive from Sydney, and you’ll find plenty of skiing on seven mountain peaks accessed by 47 lifts, including a high-speed eight-seater. Most of the area is intermediate, but beginners and advanced skiers will also find their spots. Freestyle fans will love the five terrain parks and a super-pipe.
» Check out summer lodging options at Perisher.
Thredbo, in New South Wales, has been named the best ski resort in Australia by the World Ski Awards on several occasions. It’s home to Australia’s longest runs, and nearly double the vertical of any resort in Australia. Thredbo also has the country’s only alpine gondola. There’s generally plenty of snow for all ages to play on with a large array of lessons and special programs and events. For those feeling adventurous, you can reach Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest point, via the Kosciuszko Express chairlift. Thredbo has an exciting village right at the base of the mountain so there’s plenty to do when you’re off the mountain.
» Check out summer lodging options at Thredbo.