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J2Ski's Where to Ski in May 2024

J2Ski's Where to Ski in May 2024

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Started by Admin in Snow Forecasts and Snow Reports

J2Ski's Where to Ski in May 2024

Admin posted 01-May

There's still decent skiing to be had, at altitude, with a couple of dozen northern hemisphere ski areas still open well into May.

Spring Skiing on the Kitzsteinhorn, available until 2nd June, snow permitting.

Where to Ski in May 2024
It's May so we're down to about 50 ski areas in the northern hemisphere still open (actually about 50 make it to May 1st but almost half then close before May 2nd!) and anticipation is building for the start of the southern hemisphere's 2024 ski season, possibly beginning before the end of the month IF there are some good early snowfalls.

In Europe, the May skiing, at least that served by operating lifts, is all in the Alps and Scandinavia.

The season is over, other than some ski touring possibilities perhaps, in the Pyrenees, Scotland and Eastern Europe.

In North America, there are centres still open in around 10 US states and Canadian provinces.

The latter half of May is one of the quietest periods in the skiing year in terms of open areas. With most of Europe and North America's areas closed and the southern hemisphere's 2024 season not yet started, we can be down to less than 20 areas open worldwide. They include some "spring/summer only" centres just starting to open for their 2024 seasons in Japan, Norway and the US.

As mentioned there's a chance that the southern hemisphere's 2024 season may get underway before the end of the month. Currently, Lesotho's Afriski has the earliest announced target opening date of June 1st, most others starting to open around mid-June in Australia, New Zealand and South America, but some could open early, and have opened in late May in past seasons, when there's a big early snowfall and cold snap.

Austria enjoyed some really big snowfalls in the latter half of April so snow depths on glaciers are looking as good as they can for the start of May.

Several resorts including Ischgl, Solden and Obertauern have made it to the start of the month but close at the end of the 1st, however, moving further into May Austria will have more centres open than any other European nation from Tuesday 6th onward.

Although the Pitztal is one of those closing on the 5th, four centres are open into the latter half of May and beyond. The Kaunertal and Stubai glaciers are open to the 20th with the Kitzsteinhorn and Molltal planning to continue into June - and Hintertux is year-round.

The Stubai reported over a metre of snowfall in the last week of April and Europe's deepest upper slope base at 5.7m.

The number of ski areas open in France falls away quickly at the start of May, with the country's 23-24 season-ending still with half of the resorts posting the world's deepest snow!

The last ski area open in the Chamonix Valley, Grand Montets, closes May 1st with the Tignes-Val d'Isere slopes and Val Thorens at the top of the 3 Valleys continuing into the first weekend of May.

The only option then is the glacier at Les 2 Alpes which stays open through May. However, this has gone from claiming to be 'the largest summer ski area in the Alps' for decades to now stressing it is mostly reserved for athlete training with an unspecified 'small area' available to recreational skiers and boarders.

Cervinia used to close in May but with the opening of the year-round Alpine Crossing connecting it with Zermatt by gondola and cable car for (mostly) foot passengers, it means the year-round glacier ski area, just on the Swiss side of the border, can now be accessed from the Italian side every day too.

Italy does actually start the month with five other areas open but barring any last-minute extensions, they'll all close in the first week of the month.

Cortina, Macugnaga and Sulden close on the 1st, Livigno on the 2nd and finally the Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale on the 5th - which has been posting a 4-metre base through April, the country's (and one of the world's) deepest.

The country's last remaining summer ski area Passo Stelvio plans to open for the season from June 1st this year so for most of May, Cervinia is the only option.

The year-round summer ski area at Zermatt will have more to offer recreational skiers in late spring and through summer and early autumn as the resort has announced it won't reserve runs just for ski teams training and will open those runs up to recreational skiers instead. This means that at least 21km of slopes, including a new beginner learning area, will be open to all.

Zermatt is the only Swiss area currently expected to stay open right through May.

Adelboden, Engelberg and the Diavolezza Glacier near St Moritz are currently expected to stay open through the first weekend of the month (until the 5th).

Crans Montana, Glacier 3000, Andermatt and Mürren which have all made it into May in the past have not done so this year.

Lots of ski areas in Norway and Sweden stay open to May 1st, including big names like Hemsedal, Are and Yllas, but numbers then drop away to just a handful from May 2nd on. They include Levi and Ruka in Finland which opened back at the start of October, thanks to snow farming, so complete 7 month seasons, the longest in Europe for resorts without glaciers.

Riksgransen, Europe's "spring skiing capital", stays open for most of the month and from the second week sees 24-hour daylight return at its northerly latitude and its famous skiing-under-midnight-sun evenings.

Besides these options, Norway's three spring/summer glacier resorts begin opening for their 2024 seasons including Galdhopiggen on the 9th and Fonna on the 23rd (Stryn joins them on June 1st).

North America
It's the usual lineup for the start of May in Canada, with the same five centres still open as last year and most years before.

Lake Louise and Marmot Basin in Alberta will be open through to next Sunday 5th May but coastal Whistler and Banff's sunshine area will go another fortnight to the 19th/20th respectively, the latter closing after their famous annual pond skimming event the Slush Cup.

On the East Coast Quebec's Sommet Saint Sauveur is opening Fridays to Sundays each week for as long as its snow lasts – it usually tries to keep going until its water park opens for the summer.

The latter half of the US ski season has seen some good snowfalls after the poor first half and they've kept coming through the final weeks of April.

About a dozen ski areas remain open in the West, including the usual suspects for late spring skiing. In terms of making it right through the month, they include Oregon's Timberline, Mt Hood and Mt Bachelor, Mammoth and The Palisades in California and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado.

Opening to mid-May, perhaps longer (and in some cases only open weekends) are Breckenridge and Winter Park in Colorado and Brighton, Solitude and Snowbird in Utah. Those closing after the first weekend of the month are Colorado's Copper and Loveland, Washington's Crystal Mountain, Arizona's Snowbowl and Utah's Brian Head.

On the East Coast Maine's Sugarloaf and Vermont's Jay Peak are expected to close May 5th, although further late 'bonus weekends' are possible, which really just leaves Killington with its main Superstar run buried deep in machine-made snow through the winter kept open as a bumps run as long as the snow lasts through May.

Japan's season is largely over but a dozen or so of the country's best-known resorts like Niseko, Furano, Happo One, Appi and Nozawa Onsen do stay open to the first weekend of the month so will close on 5th or 6th May.

The past few weeks have seen warm temperatures and rain so there's an end-of-season feeling at the moment with most areas just having 5-10% of their terrain, the highest slopes, still open.

Japan's only summer ski area Gassan also opened for its 2024 season last month. It's posting the snow lying about 7 metres deep at the start of May but it'll thaw down a few metres through the coming month. Still plenty for it to stay open through spring and into summer though.
The Admin Man

Edited 1 time. Last update at 01-May-2024