Where, when and how to find the best summertime snow this off-season.
Are you getting sick of all this 80-degree weather? Tired of spending your days inside trying to dodge the sweltering heat by watching old ski clips ad nauseum? Then this is the article for you!
While you may be over summer already, you can at least take solace in the fact that it’s winter elsewhere in the world. It’s prime ski time in the southern hemisphere right now, and by all reports it’s dumping out there.
So, grab your sticks and make some last-minute plans to visit one of these world-class summer ski resorts to help tide you over until next season:
Best Time to Go: South America’s ski season generally opens mid-June and runs until mid-October. The best time for powder is usually July or August, sometimes extending into the second week in September. After that, you’ll get typical spring snow conditions into early October. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, avoid the last two weeks in July, as the resorts often get crowded thanks to student holidays.
Top Resort: Valle Nevado (Chile)
The largest of the so-called “Tres Valles” resorts, Valle Nevado has over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain at as high as 12,000 ft in elevation. Among this terrain is a hodgepodge of legendary chutes, bowls and gullies to go along with over 40 on-piste runs. Valle Nevado is home to the first gondola in Chile, and runs some of the most advanced lifts anywhere in South America.
A significant investment has been made in recent years in the development of a world-class mountain town at the resort’s base, rivaling those seen in Europe and North America. For those not willing to sacrifice that summer vibe, you’ll be happy to know there’s a roughly 80% chance you’ll be skiing with the sun shining bright.
Best Time to Go: Similar to South America, ski resorts in this region are generally open from June to October. The bookend months of June and October are good for minimal crowds and better prices on lift tickets and accommodations, but of course you risk missing out on the best quality snow and powder from the middle of the season.
Top Resort: Perisher (Australia)
The biggest ski area in the Southern Hemisphere, Perisher has a plethora of options for families of all sizes and skill levels. With seven different mountain peaks that can be accessed by 47 lifts, there is 3,076 acres of skiable area at the resort and 1,165 ft of vertical. Most of the terrain is of the intermediate level, making it ideal for skiers who don’t need extreme terrain to have a good time.
Perisher also features five terrain parks and a super-pipe for the freestyle riders in the crew. While they may not get dumped on with regularity, Perisher gets the most reliable snowfall of the resorts in the Oceania region, and is among the most well-maintained in the world. Perisher gets high marks for its accommodations as well, made up of four connected villages that offer world-class resort amenities.
Best Time to Go: Only a few European ski resorts are open in the Summer, as it is only possible where there are high-altitude glaciers in the ski area. June and July are the prime times to visit these resorts, with some resorts staying open until late August. Because of the high altitudes of these ski areas, the sun’s rays have an outsized effect on the snow; many ski lifts start as early as 7am and are closed by somewhere between noon and 2:30pm when the sun has warmed the slopes to a wet slush.
Top Resort: Zermatt-Cervinia (Switzerland)
Located in the Swiss Alps, Zermatt-Cervinia is actually a shared ski area that lets you ski back and forth between Switzerland and Italy. It has the highest altitude and largest summer skiing area in the European mountains, with 16 miles of skiable terrain at 12,530 ft high. Magnificent views of the famous Matterhorn make this summer ski area the most scenic of the bunch.
The terrain shades more toward the beginner/intermediate skill level, but there are a handful of black mogul runs for experienced skiers, as well as Europe’s best freestyle park. If you’re not ready to totally let go of summer, there are a number of warm-weather activities for you to enjoy once you travel back down the mountain, including golfing, paragliding and much more.
Honorable Mention: La Deux Alpes (France)
Best Time to Go: Summer skiing is North America is rare, with just a few resorts in the Pacific Northwest staying open into the summer months. June and July are the hot times to visit these resorts, with operations generally running until September.
Top Resort: Timberline Lodge (Oregon)
As the only year-round ski resort in the U.S., Timberline Lodge takes the cake for the best summer skiing in this region. Situated on the south face of Mt. Hood, Timberline has a skiable terrain of 1,415 acres. The Palmer Express high-speed quad lift operates solely in the spring and summer months, taking summer skiers up to the Palmer Glacier’s 2,616 ft of vertical drop that is available during the summer.
Timberline is very popular with the summer freestyle scene, with the famous Windells and High Cascade ski/snowboard camps held there. A good mix of intermediate and advanced runs are available during the summer off of the Magic Mile lift, too.
Honorable Mention: Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia)
Beat the heat by getting in some off-season turns in at any of these summer ski areas. If you can’t make it out to one of these stellar summer skiing destinations, get yourself excited for winter by reading up on the best new skis coming out this season.