Where to glacier ski …

27th September 2009, by Chris Gill

(c) W King - The Allalin and glacier slopes in late summer

(c) W King - The Allalin and glacier slopes in late summer

Can’t wait until winter? Autumn can be a good time to take a glacier ski break: the slopes are generally open from late September / October and it is a good way to get fit to ski or board by…well, skiing and boarding. Most resorts organise equipment testing days, usually as part of a festival or competition event, so you can try out the latest ski or board models before everyone else does. Here’s our guide to where you can glacier ski:


Hintertux The Tux is at the head of the Zillertal Valley, near Mayrhofen - about an 1.5 hours from Innsbruck – and has some of the most varied slopes; it is also one of the most reliable for year-round skiing and boarding. When fully open, Tux offers up to 60km of slopes. More typically, you get about 20km in summer/autumn, plus a popular terrain park and family area.

Open: all year   Lift pass: daily rates from 34 euros


Kaprun-Kitzsteinhorn The Kitzsteinhorn glacier at Kaprun is about two hours from Salzburg, near Zell am See. Buses serve the lift base from both resorts; gondolas and a cable car whisk you up to the slopes. The top runs are open most of the year above 3000m.

Open: reopened on 18 September 2009.  Lift pass: daily rates from 30.50 euros


Stubaier Gletscher The Stubai glacier is Austria’s largest glacier resort and sits at the head of the Stubai Valley, near Innsbruck. When fully open, it offers 110km slopes served by 25 lifts and skiing up to 3200m.

Open: reopened mid-September, with two runs available. Lift pass: daily rates from 31.50 euros.


Pitztal  The Pitztal glacier is overlooked by the Tirol’s highest mountain and close to Solden, with slopes reaching 3440m. It also boasts a long season, and an impressive all-weather snowmaking system. Most of the runs are classified red, so offer more of a challenge than the norm.

Getting there: train (to Imst), bus or taxi from Innsbruck (55km)

Open: the ski area is operating one slope at the moment.


Mölltal  The Molltal glacier is in Carinthia, near Lienz and south of the Gastein valley. The ski area is served by one of the world’s longest underground funicular railways and the slopes rise to 3120m. There are a couple of black runs, a red and two blues above 2800m.

Open: most of the year. Lift pass: daily rates from 39 euros


Sölden Solden has two glaciers, offering 20km slopes when fully open and served by a modern lift system. The resort traditionally hosts the first Alpine World Cup races of the new season – due on 24/25 October 2009.

Open: reopened partly in early September, but officially from 9 October. Lift pass: daily rate from 34 euros.


Kaunertal The Kaunertal glacier is near Pitztal and offers 36km pistes. Skiing normally resumes in October.



Saas Fee The Fee glacier (3600m) has up to 20km slopes and a popular terrain park open most of the summer / autumn. Its altitude means that it reliably snow-sure; it also provides a regular training ground for the professional ski teams and is home to the summer camps run by the Warren Smith Academy.

Lift pass: daily rates from SF65


Zermatt Zermatt is one of the Alpine classics: superb scenery, Swiss charm and year-round skiing. The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise offers 20km of high altitude slopes on the Klein Matterhorn – reaching almost 4000m. Ski and snowboard testing is available on weekends throughout October, then daily in November.

Lift pass: daily rates from SF78



Tignes Tignes’ high altitude usually ensures reliable snow cover on the Grand Motte glacier, with a decent vertical of around 700m. The 20km slopes reach 3,450m and are a popular race-training ground for International ski teams. While open most of the year, snow sports resume in late September, after a short break.

Lift pass: daily rates from 29 euros.


Les Deux Alpes Les Deux Alpes is home to Europe’s largest summer/autumn ski glacier, just a short 1.5-hour drive from Grenoble. Snow sports resume weekends from 24 October until 28 November, when the resort opens officially for 2009/10.



Val Senales Val Senales is in the Ortler Ski Arena in the Sudtirol. It is one of the few Italian resorts to offer year-round skiing on broad glacier slopes to 3260m.

Lift pass: daily rates from 29 euros.


Passo Stelvio This unusual summer/autumn ski area near Bormio is not open in winter, due to road closures. But its slopes are some of Europe’s highest (2760-3450m) and in the summer months (May to November) eight lifts serve 30km pistes of varying difficulty.

Others opening later in the season

Engelberg, St Moritz (Diavolezza glacier - 17 October), Cervinia, Presena (Passo Tonale), Val d’Isère (28 Nov)

Glacier resort events October / November 2009

DateEvent Location
9-11 OctoberPow(d)er Weekend Hintertux, Austria
10 OctoberFree ski tests Val Senales, Italy
24-25 OctoberRock on Snowboard Les Deux Alpes, France
2-6 November LG Snowboard FIS World Cup Saas Fee, Switzerland
5-8 November Sportscheck Glacier Testival Stubai, Austria
7-8 November The White Start Kitzsteinhorn, Austria


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