Cool off with summer skiing

Whilst we were loving the exotic 38 degrees here in Innsbruck over the weekend, it did spark a conversation in the office this morning about what we could do to cool down which did not (A) include beating our way through the hordes of humanity at the local pool and (B) require a 30 hour flight to the southern hemisphere.

Unsurprisingly our thoughts turned to mountain and glaciers, in fact, glacier skiing.  Perhaps a little known fact, but even in the midst of a heat wave in the middle of summer, up at 3000 metres the air is cool and crisp with an astonishing amount of snow on the ground.  It's definitely inspiring me to dig out the skis, pack the suntan lotion and head for the peaks this weekend……

Here are 5 destinations across the Alps where you can cool your jets and give your ski legs a surprise summer workout.

The Hintertux Glacier is Austria's only year round ski resort and offers winter sports enthusiasts perfectly groomed, snow-sure runs 365 days of the year.  At an altitude of 3,250 m the glacier currently has 11 lifts open with 22 kms of piste.  You be on the pistes in under 90 minutes drive from Innsbruck.

The Dachstein is just over an hour from Salzburg, and with its northward facing slopes guarantees great snow conditions even in summer.  The Gletscherbahn is currently open for downhill skiing and boarding and for cross country enthusiasts there is still a track open.  Whilst there is 150cm on the ground, it's definitely t-shirt skiing at a balmy 10 degrees.

Glacier skiing at Les Deux Alpes within the Grande Galaxie Ski Area is open until the 31st August.  There are currently 90 hectares of pistes open including 4 blue runs, 2 green, 2 red and a freestyle area with a depth of 220cm.  And even at 3200 metres above sea level its a balmy 7 degrees. There are 4 airports within 2 hours drive.

On Zermatts Theodul glacier you'll find the highest summer skiing in the Alps and Europe's largest snowpark, located on the Klein Matterhorn. In summer and until the end of November there are approx 36 square kilometers of snowfields between the altitudes of 2900 and 3900 m.a.s.l. with up to 21 km of runs.  The train from Bern takes just over 2 hours to this charming car free village.

Saas-Fee also offers ideal summer skiing and snowboarding conditions. Up on the Allalin  glacier at 3600 metres above sea level,  there are 20 km of slopes to suit all levels so its no wonder Swiss and international ski teams come here for their summer training sessions! Transfer time around 2.5 hours from Bern.

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