Ready skis in summer, but ski in winter – the best ski resorts in the world

10 of the world’s best ski resorts

Enthusiasts and fans of alpine skiing are looking for the best routes for their dream trip. To help them out, ELLE has selected ten relatively inexpensive resorts in the mountains.

Arc 1950 Resort, France

An adequate alternative to bohemian and expensive Meribel and Courchevel, Arc 1950 is one of the top three ski resorts in France. The cozy village is easily accessible from the airports of Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble and Chambery. Then you can take a cab or rent a car, which you will leave in the underground parking of the resort with direct access to the apartments. For the more discerning public, there is a helicopter transfer option.

The concept of Arc 1950 is the absence of “superfluous” vehicles. That is, cars do not go through the town. But skiers and snowboarders can move throughout its territory. Resorts are happy to walk or practice “skiing from the door” – coming down from the slopes on skis straight to the apartments, cafes and stores. This option gives an incomparable ski vacation experience and maximum comfort.

Arc 1950 is the youngest of the four Les Arcs. It was built 10 years ago and is still considered the best access to the “ski paradise” (Paradiski) – the second largest ski area in the world at the foot of the Vanoise National Park. The scale of this resort is impressive: 144 elevators with dozens of trails with a total length of 425 km and a height of up to 3250 m. There are trails for beginners and professionals (there is even a bobsled run and a halfpipe).

Fans of thrills will find skijoring (skiing after the horse), snowmobile rides, high-speed sled races and a 20-minute helicopter flight, where the bird’s-eye view can be “marked” in Italy, France and Switzerland at once.

Arc 1950 is called “cocoon on top of the mountains” – for the atmosphere of coziness and calming landscape with a view of Mont Blanc. The apartments (3,900 beds) bear the Pierre & Vacances Premium quality label. This means that in any of the residences you are guaranteed comfortable accommodation with access to relaxation areas, swimming pools, saunas and the Deep Nature Spa on an area of 1,000 square meters.

The resort lives a busy life and invariably provides a sense of celebration and fabulous mood for the whole family. Every day there are colorful performances, shows and concerts for the guests.

Enjoyable après-ski options are enough for everyone, the main thing is to choose the right accent. Romantic evening in the restaurant Le Mazot with a glass of red or unbridled fun until morning in dozens of bars (for example, Les Belles Pintes or O’Chaud) – in any case, you will not be bored.

Chamonix, France

Chamonix is the oldest ski resort (it’s over 200 years old), the largest (there are more than 10,000 local residents) and the most famous resort in the French Alps. Its peculiarity is that not only do not come here in winter, but also in summer – the city and its surroundings are ideal for activities such as golf, hiking, mountain biking and walking in the beautiful surroundings.

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Incidentally, it was here that the first-ever Winter Olympics were held in 1924. It lies at the foot of Mont Blanc, in the east of France, in the department of Haute Savoie (the historical region of Savoie).

Chamonix has a unique geographical location: it is located in a valley at an altitude of 1010 – 1200 m at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, and you can ski, being in France, Italy (Courmayeur resort) or Switzerland (Vallorsin). Chamonix is called the “resort-patriarch” and the resort with an ideal reputation, because it’s no accident that all the canons of skiing were laid here. Besides, Chamonix is unique for the fact that tourists of different social level rest here, because there are conditions for the youth, who prefer extreme sports, and for respectable public.

Considered the historical capital of skiing, the resort is located at an altitude of 1035 meters, but almost 90% of all slopes are above 2000 meters. From the center of Chamonix you can take the highest cable car in Europe directly to the top of the Aiguille du Midi (Aiguille du Midi, 3842 m), where the extremists go down the famous “White Valley” (Vallee Blanche) – a 22-kilometer descent through the glaciers. Tourists at an altitude of almost 4000 meters are entertained by the attraction “Step into the void” (Pas Dans Le Vide), offering a step into a space with a transparent bottom above the abyss.

The resort is open all year round – in the summertime there is a practice of hiking, mountain biking and walking through the streets of the picturesque town. In addition to the many decent hotels in different categories of stars and apartments Chamonix offers and luxurious formats – for example, the hotel Montblanc is a real gem of the city. The hotel has a famous gastronomic restaurant Matafan for the most demanding gourmets. Cafes and restaurants in Chamonix, such as Telecabine and Bistrot, offer Savoyard cuisine of the region.

Megève, France

Legend has it that Megève was born out of the efforts of the Rothschild family, who wanted to build an exclusive luxury resort in the most beautiful area of the French Alps. Over time Megeve acquired widespread popularity, and today one finds a variety of accommodation options – from luxurious chalets like Le Chalet Du Mont D’Arbois, where a Michelin two-starred chef cooks for a respectable clientele in the legendary 1920 Michelin restaurant, to relatively democratic, but cozy chalets in the Loges Blanches complex, each with its own name. For golf lovers Megève is a true paradise – the luxurious le Golf du Mont d’Arbois courses are considered among the best in the world.

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Megève is one of the most picturesque ski resorts with world fame, located in the historical area of Haute-Savoie. Like Chamonix, the city is beautiful both in summer and winter. In its center there is a pedestrian zone with cobbled streets, ancient architecture, churches of XIII century and numerous cafes and restaurants. By the way, it is Megève is considered a place of reference of Savoy cuisine. Thus, in the heart of the city restaurants like Chamois offer such specialties as raclette (self-melted Swiss cheese with meat and vegetables). If you go out of town, you can get to some surprisingly atmospheric places. For example, Le Refuge – a wooden house with a huge terrace overlooking the mountains and spruce and fir forests. The rustic restaurant practices very original serving – large portions are decorated as real gastronomic masterpieces. For example, they stew strawberries with cottage cheese and serve them with milk foam and almond meringue.

Summer activities in Megève are as varied as those in winter – first of all, it is hiking and golf. By the way, golf courses here are just a reference – not for nothing do professionals choose this region for competitions, and amateurs and beginners – as one of the main activities during the holidays.

About glacier skiing. Where to ski in the summer

More than a third of all summer skiing destinations are in the Southern Hemisphere. These are resorts in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Lesotho and South Africa. A quarter of the places are glacier ski areas in Norway, Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Japan and Iceland. About 30 indoor ski slopes are located around the world – in Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. The remainder is accounted for by traditional resorts in the Northern Hemisphere, where there is enough snow to ski all summer long. The retreat of glaciers in some ski areas shortened the summer ski season in some resorts, but global warming has not yet won.

In our article we will talk about the ski areas located on the glaciers of Europe and Russia, where you can extend your ski season without going to the other hemisphere. Even in the summer there is an opportunity not only to sunbathe under the bright mountain sun, but also to go skiing or snowboarding, complementing the vacation with other activities: mountain biking, trekking, windsurfing and more.

Features of glacier skiing

Summer glacier skiing has a number of features that you need to consider in your expectations in order to get maximum enjoyment and minimum disappointment:

  • High Altitudes. Glacier skiing areas are located at altitudes of 2,500 m and higher. So if you only go to the mountains once or twice a year, you may need a couple of days to acclimatize. The first symptoms of altitude sickness may appear when you ascend or descend fast just in the altitude range between 2,500 and 3,500 m, therefore, if you feel unwell, you should shorten your skiing time, rest more and drink sweet and hot tea.
  • Lack of Freeride. Glacier in the summer is rare snowfalls, which means that you have to ski mostly on prepared slopes.
  • Snow metamorphosis. The hard packed icy snow on a glacier can be quickly replaced by slush under the powerful summer sun, so it’s worth sacrificing sleep to enjoy the best part of the day. In addition, snow that has thawed during the day takes on a structure of large, watery crystals that freeze overnight and form a crust of ice by morning. Such snow can scratch your skin if you fall. Be careful if you decide to ride in a T-shirt. For the same reason, you need to protect the sliding surface of your equipment. We recommend that before your first ride you visit a workshop and renew the protective layer of wax, which is chosen by the master according to the conditions that you need to tell him about.
  • Short skating day. In the summer, glaciers open access to their grounds early in the morning and work part-time to preserve the quality of the snow cover and extend the season as long as possible. There are glaciers that work full day even in summer and close at 3-4 in the afternoon, but if you are not a fan of mush of melted snow, it is better to start skiing right from the opening of the resort until about twelve o’clock.
  • Small skating areas. Glaciers have a fairly limited area. It is good if in the summer there will be able to prepare 30-40 kilometers. So if you are used to rest at resorts with a total length of tracks of 100 kilometers and more, this option is not for you.
  • The temperature difference. The temperature difference between morning and afternoon hours on the glaciers can be more than 10 ° C, and therefore you need to have the right equipment. If you’re sure of good weather, consider SoftShell clothing. It replaces the membrane and fleece at once, but breathes much better.
  • The bright summer sun in the mountains is especially evil. Do not forget to take with you sunscreen and good sunglasses. It is desirable to have a mask with polarization, the sun more, the reflection of the snow and glare, respectively, also. Good ventilation in the mask also becomes an important point.
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Article on the topic

Overview of summer skiing regions in Europe and Russia.

So, where should we ski in the summer? In this article we will review the largest ski areas in Europe and tell you about where to ski in Russia, except SnezhKom in Moscow.

In recent years, there is a tendency for glaciers to be closed for the summer to preserve snow for winter. Be sure to find out if the resort is open before you buy tickets.


Tignes (Tignes).

Ski area altitude Slopes length Opening hours The cost of a ski pass, adults Nearest airport
3032-3500 м 20 km 7:00-13:30 25 euros Geneva, Lyon, Chambery

The village called Tignes is in the Rhône-Alpes region and is interesting because it is located right at the foot of the La Grande Motte (La Grande Motte) glacier. In winter there are about 300 km of pistes here and in the neighboring Val d’Isere, of which about 20 km remain in summer. This is mostly comfortable “blue” slopes, plus a snow park for fans of freestyle.

Summer skiing on the glacier starts in June and lasts until September. Cable cars usually work from 7:00 to 13:30, but in July their work is extended to our usual 15:30.

After riding on the glacier and returning to the village, you can continue to actively relax. There are bike and skate parks, golf club, equestrian club, rock climbing courses, swimming in the lake of the same name, fishing, paragliding, its own via ferrata, tennis courts and areas for other sports, and even rafting and kayaking.

Map of the Tignes ski area in summer

Les Deux Alpes (Les Deux Alpes)

Ski area altitude Slopes length Opening hours The cost of a ski pass, adults Nearest airport
3200-3658 м 20 km 7:00-12:30 40,90 euros Grenoble, Lyon, Geneva

Welcome to the highest skiing area in France! Le Des Alpes is based at an altitude of 1650m, right at the foot of the glacier ski area. The highest point is located at an altitude of 3600 m. In winter, you can ski down here directly to the hotel, as the village is located on a pass between two valleys.

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In the summer, the resort also remains one of the largest skiing or snowboarding areas. In summer there are 11 slopes, 17 elevators and a wonderful snow park, which will be interesting for both beginners and advanced freestylers, because they have at their disposal both superpipe and big-air.

A day ski pass for one adult costs 40,90 €, for a teenager 32,70 €, for a child 27,10 €. By the way, when purchasing from 2 to 5-day ski pass its owner gets the opportunity to use one free visit the pool every day, toboggan three times or play one hour of tennis. If you have a 6-day ski pass, you can use the toboggan for six rides, one hour of tennis, one hour of golf, one hour of archery and one hour of mountain biking, as well as obtain special rates to visit the Adventure Park in the village of Venosc.

Since the slopes are open from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the resort provides great opportunities to spend the afternoon just as actively. You can play volleyball, soccer, tennis, swim in the outdoor pool, rock climbing or hiking, fly with an instructor in the paragliding school or shoot archery.

Map of Les Deux Alpes in summer



Ski area altitude Slopes length Opening hours The cost of a ski pass, adults Nearest airport
2660-3250 м 20 km 8:15-16:30 45 euros Innsbruck, Salzburg, Munich

Hintertux is a small village with six hotels, located at the very end of the Tuxertal valley 20 km above the well-known Mayrhofen, right at the foot of the glacier of the same name. In 1968 it became the first year-round ski area in Tyrol.

From the 245-long pistes of the Ski & Glacier World Zillertal 3000 zone in summer there is only about 20 kilometers. But even on these you are sure to have fun, they are maintained in excellent condition throughout the day. For this reason, in the summer there are a lot of skiers, including world famous skiers from various countries. So if you are a follower of sport skiing, you will definitely have fun here.

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The magnificent Betterpark, which attracts snowboarders from all over Europe, also works all year round.

The best time to ski is from the opening and up to eleven. Later the snow lets go and only on the upper rope towers there is no mush. At the beginning of May there are often fogs. Sometimes heavy, but in most cases the visibility is enough for a good skiing. The slopes remain rigid for a longer time and don’t get too slushy even in the afternoon.

After skiing you can go for a walk in the neighborhood, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, paragliding, tennis, golf and swimming in the pool outdoors. Up there is not very diverse, but if you have a car, you can go down to Mayrhofen or stop in the neighboring small valleys. There is very beautiful and a lot of options for easy trekking. A little further away there are many more interesting places, for example, the highest waterfall in Europe, Krimml, 63 km from Hintertux. And the mountain road through the Gerlos Pass is very beautiful.

The price for a daytime summer ski pass is not very different from the winter price and is 45 € for an adult, 36 € for a teenager and 20,50 € for a child.

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