Summer holidays often involve lots of swimming, biking, and hiking. However, ski bunnies will be happy to know that some of the best European ski resorts remain open during the warmer months, as snow still falls at many of these high-altitude destinations.
If you’re touring Europe and want to escape the heat, check out one of our top five picks to hit the slopes.
Zermatt Matterhorn, Zermatt, Switzerland
With 13 miles of ski trails on Theodul Glacier, Zermatt Matterhorn is a ski lover’s paradise and is open year-round. Ride in the gondola from Zermatt to the Klein Matterhorn as you take in the jaw-dropping views atop Matterhorn Mountain. In fact, you can ski over the border and grab lunch here, too. Sign the kids up for lessons at the hill’s ski school or hang out at the Snowpark Zermatt – one of the best in the Alps. We recommend starting out early: lifts open at 7 a.m., and the ski area closes at noon. Added bonus: You may spot esteemed skiers from around the world: many of them train here during the summer months. Summer ski passes cost 80 Swiss Franc ($79).
Snow Arena, Druskininkai, Lithuania
The Snow Arena is the only year-round winter sports complex in the Baltic States, and is ideal for all types of skiers, from newbies to extreme thrill-seekers. Lessons take place in an indoor, two-level beginner’s track. The main ski track is reserved for advanced skiers and snowboarders. After you finish up on the slopes, take the kids to the massive Aqua Park. Adult tickets from 15 euro (about $17); children's tickets (only available for those between three to seven years old) from 7 euro (about $8); and family tickets (includes two adults and two children under 18) from 40 euro (about $45).
Grand Motte Glacier, Tignes, France
Enjoy 12 miles of skiing at Tignes Ski Resort. The lift takes just seven minutes, and there are trails available for beginners, experts, and intermediate skiers alike. Glacial snow guns ensure the terrain is just right — never mushy. Two new open-top gondolas offer skiers a magnificent 360-degree view of the French Alps. The ski area is open daily from late June to early August from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Day passes cost 35 euro (about $39) for adults and 28 euro (about $31) for children.
Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, Kaprun, Austria
For intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier offers nine miles of challenging trails overlooking the beautiful Hohe Tauern National Park. Ride the Gletscherjet cable car, which take you from the lush green valley up to the white-capped mountain peaks 3,000 meters above sea level. Summer skiing runs from early June through late July. After you conquer the slopes, relax at the Ice Camp, which features an igloo, an ice bar, several restaurants, and a large sun deck. For family-friendly fun, take the kids on Maisiflitzer, an alpine rollercoaster that descends the mountain at 40 kilometers per hour. Adult tickets from 45 Euro (about $50 USD).
Mont-de-Lans Glacier, Les Deux Alpes, France
Open from mid-June through early September, ski resort Les Deux Alpes features 11 runs and a funicular railway that sweeps skiers 3,600 meters up the mountain. The ski area is open daily from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Additionally, the large snow park features a variety of freestyle ramps and super-pipes, and the mountain runs ski camps all summer. Passes are available from 37.50 euro (about $42), and some packages include tennis, golf, and toboggan runs; other amenities include a bowling alley, swimming pools, a skate park, and many more. Children under five years old and adults over 72 years old ski for free.