Glacier Resorts in the Alps Plan September and October Season Starts
Started by J2SkiNews in Ski News 14-Aug-2021
J2SkiNews posted 14-Aug
Last year saw some great August, September and October snowfalls leading to superb ski conditions for autumn in the Alps.
Skiers and boarders lucky enough to make it to the slopes in September and October 2020 enjoyed great conditions at the 20-odd areas that had opened by mid-October. Then, at the end of that month, everything stopped and the second lockdown began.
Well it did in Austria, France and Italy at that point. Ski areas in Scandinavia and Switzerland stayed open and remained open all winter with Austria re-joining them in early January, although centres could open for locals only.
Now another autumn approaches, there have been some initial dustings of snow in the Alps and glacier resorts are beginning to tentatively announce target opening dates (snow conditions and pandemic operating rules permitting…).
In Austria the Hintertux glacier is already open and is open year-round, pandemic permitting.
The Stubai glacier says it plans to open, "mid/end September, depending on the snow conditions." The Kitzsteinhorn above Kaprun (pictured top last October) currently says "autumn!" but usually tries to open at the end of September or start of October. Similarly, Solden, which stages the first World Cup Alpine ski competitions of the 21-22 season at the end of October, says it aims to open on the 4th of that month, but may open earlier if conditions allow.
The Kaunertal Glacier will stage its official opening weekend from 8th October and the Pitztal Glacier, the country's highest, says they'll open from 15th October.
The Molltal Glacier should also be open but it has closed temporarily due to lack of snow on the glacier, and hopes to re-open mid-September.
In France Les 2 Alpes is the only centre still open for summer skiing and plans to stay open to the end of this month. Tignes is usually the first in the country to open each autumn, it plans to open for its 21-22 season on 16th October.
In Italy Passo Stelvio is open for summer skiing and due to remain open to the end of October. Cervinia is also currently open accessing the ski area shared with Zermatt. It will close in early September but had announced it plans to re-open for the season from October 16th too. Val Senales reports it plans to open its glacier slopes on 17th September this year.
For Switzerland Saas Fee and Zermatt are open as usual already. The Diavolezza Glacier near St Moritz in the Engadin region plans to open from the 23rd October but initially only open at weekends and on Wednesday for the general public. The Titlis Glacier at Engelberg say they hope to open in 'October' but has not set a date. Last year, Glacier 300, which had planned to open in mid-November, did so at the start of October after a big early snowfall. Crans Montana, Davos and Laax also have glacier areas but don't usually open until November.
Outside the Alps a number of ski areas in Scandinavia aim to open in the first half of the autumn too. Like the ski centres in Switzerland, these actually stayed open for their normal seasons. Among them Norway's Galdhopiggen glacier is another that should be open now but is closed instead as the snow has thawed. It hopes to open September 11th or maybe the 18th. However it hopes to re-open in mid-September.
Ruka and Levi in Finland open at the start of October using snow-farming, recycling last winter's saved snow to create their initial runs.