Glacier watch: 25 July

25th July 2010, by Chris Gill

Les Deux Alpes, France - July 2010

Les Deux Alpes, France - July 2010

Summer skiing in the Alps soldiers on, despite a very warm spell of weather that has also included torrential rain for some parts this week. There are still ten or so glaciers with slopes open, and there was plenty of decent skiing on the high terrain at Les Deux Alpes last weekend – where skiers and boarders rode alongside a bunch of mountain bikers (who were taking part in the Mountain of Hell race – crikey!).

Further north in Norway, they have called it quits and closed three of their summer ski areas prematurely.


Conditions can be be described as ‘holding up well in the face of a rapid thaw’. But despite the heat, there is still good skiing on offer at four glaciers:

Hintertux (125cm) has 20km slopes available. Fresh snow fell there on 23 July, and it’s looking a bit grim up there today. Temperatures have dipped below freezing above 3000m.

Kitzsteinhorn (20cm) has the top lifts open, but as you can see from the snow depth figure – cover is disturbingly thin now. And the temperatures are again tipped to be mild with rain showers; there may be a dusting of snow out of that though – Monday’s temperatures are expected to cool off a little (minus 3 for the glacier).

Dachstein (60cm) has a couple of lifts and runs still operating, although the snow cover has been thinning fast in the heat. Go up early for the best of it.

Molltal glacier (150cm) has the best cover of the four Austrian summer ski areas open at present. And they are reporting 5cm fresh snow today. It is a little cooler than elsewhere too. Poor weather on Sunday 25 July means the slopes are closed for the day.


Similar bikini weather conditions have sat across France too, with some glorious sunshine up on the Les Deux Alpes glacier – watch out for those rays if you’re playing up there! But the slopes have ample cover at present and the upper tows and slopes are offering novices some decent practice ground.

Elsewhere, Val d’Isère’s short summer operation has come to an end this week; only Tignes now offers skiing and boarding. Sadly, rain is forecast and there has been little fresh snow recently. Temperatures have been well above zero, even at 3000m.


Summer skiing is limited to Cervinia, Val Senales and to Passo Stelvio. News that the Presena glacier is to receive a ‘snow cover’ is a reminder that our precious glaciers are under threat from global warming – although it has been a little cooler in Italy this week. Cervinia normally offers five lifts and the Gravity terrain park (shared with Zermatt). Passes cost 41 euros, and the lifts open at 7.20am. But as the webcams reveal … snow is a little lacking at present.


News of the cancelled Saas Fee Ride 2010 was not a good sign for summer skiing here, also facing the same warm-weather issues as elsewhere in the Alps. But fresh snow was reported on Thursday 24 July – 10cm on the top runs, so a decent refresh. The current snow depth is 146cm, so moderate but adequate. Four slopes are open, as is the park and pipe.

Similar conditions are reported in Zermatt, also with about a half a metre snow base.

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