Last Updated on 3rd September 2019 by Steve
Switzerland and Italy do not have the wide choice of Austria to the east or even the number of smaller areas open in the summer months that France may offer. But, if you are in the area anyway and the ski slopes are calling you, then they are well worth a trip.
Summer skiing in Switzerland
Zermatt is one of Switzerland’s largest and most prestigious ski resorts. Winter and summer, it is linked with Cervinia in Italy and, once the extensive winter season finally closes down in late spring, the summer skiing on the Theodul glacier remains in operation so that the resort can boast of 365 days skiing a year.
The Zermatt ski area covers 21 km of pistes at its smallest size and is located at over 3000m in altitude, making it Europe’s highest summer ski area. Despite the altitude it closes at midday in high summer to preserve the slopes for the recreational skiers and national ski teams who use it for training.
As autumn approaches in September and October, the skiable area starts to expand as snow conditions allow. The Snowpark Zermatt is open in the summer for freestyle skiers.
The smaller ski resort of Saas Fee can be found over the mountains to the east of Zermatt and also offers a summer ski area.
In this case, there is a break between the winter season which finishes towards the end of April and the summer ski operations, with the skiing on the Fee glacier starting up again around mid-July. As with the Zermatt area, the ski lifts close down at midday when the heat of the summer is most intense and the days slowly lengthen as autumn approaches.
Other Late Summer or Autumn Ski Options in Switzerland
The Diavolezza glacier ski area just outside St Moritz usually opens between the middle to the end of October.
Les Diablerets offers skiing from the end of October or the beginning of November onwards on the Glacier 3000 area not far away from the small ski resort in the canton of Vaud.
Titlis-Engelberg and Laax are two ski areas which usually schedule skiing from the beginning of November and who may open earlier with good snow conditions.
Summer Skiing in Italy
The Passo Stelvio (or the Stilfserjoch as the German-speakers in the area call it) is an unusual ski area as it is only open in the summer and autumn, from the end of May to the beginning of November.
It is located at the top of a high and barren pass on the border between the Italian regions of Lombardy and the South Tyrol (Alto Adige) – in the winter months access from both sides is closed.
A little bit of a cheat, as the skiing here is mainly in Switzerland on the same summer ski area as Zermatt. But it can be reached from Cervinia as well (in fact they call it the Cervino Ski Paradise using the Italian name of the Matterhorn) and, allegedly, in good conditions the top part of the famous Ventina run on the Italian side is open from Plateau Rosa to Cime Bianche Laghi.
Other Late Summer or Autumn Ski Options in Italy
The Val Senales (Schnalstal in German) is a glacier ski area near the border with Austria in the mountains above the South Tyrolean town of Meran. (It’s actually not far from where Ötzi, the man from the Ice Ages, was discovered.) The slopes on the glacier usually open in September.
Passo Tonale is another ski area set on a high mountain pass between Lombardy and the South Tyrol – it is however open all winter and the ski season tends to start towards the end of October.