Yes, you can still ski this summer
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It’s okay, you’re not alone: we want to ski year round, too. While your non-skiing friends may give you side-eye for talking about snow in June or July, we’re toying with glacier skiing days, southern hemisphere ski trips and pondering whether sand or loose scree is slippy enough to give it a go.
Seriously: contributor Nancy Shields wrote about this very thing, back in June 2018. And you can keep reading for one of my own stories of ski obsession. But you don’t have to look that far: Mount Washington on Vancouver Island opened for Father’s Day weekend for one bonus weekend of skiing!
Usually by mid-June it’s all summer fun at Mount Washington but the resort got a massive wallop of snow and rather than just let it sit and melt, the chairlifts were spinning again in June.
Now, we know that western Canadian ski resorts boast some long seasons, but that is almost unheard of! (Historical note: the last time Mt. Washington opened up for Father's Day was 2011.)
Not to mention, Castle Mountain Ski Area in southern Alberta got 25cm on June 14, nearly enough to reopen its lifts as well (sadly, not quite). It's been quite a #Junuary out here in Western Canada.
But back to business: where can you still ski between mid-May and mid-November? Aside from the bonus weekend that Mount Washington got for Father’s Day, or backcountry touring, you’ve got a few options for lift-accessed skiing in the west, and beyond. Let’s break them down.
Skiing in the Northern Hemisphere
In the northern hemisphere, in North America and Europe, ski resorts typically run from mid-November to early May, with a few exceptions. Want to know which resorts have the longest seasons? You can find that here. But after May long weekend, only a few ski areas re-open for summer skiing.
Summer skiing in North America
Hortsmann Glacier (Blackcomb Mountain), Whistler BC
Whistler’s glacier season is closed to the public, but advanced skiers and boarders can sign up for a camp to get in some summer training (experts only).
Timberline Lodge, Mt Hood OR
Timberline typically operates a single chairlift for glacier skiing from June - September. This is the freestyle training grounds for many elite athletes in summer months.
In past, both Mammoth Mountain, CA, and Arapahoe Basin, CO, have had glacier ski seasons but every year is different. At time of writing, no information was available on the latter two seasons. Check with the resorts themselves for more information.
Summer skiing in Europe
If you’re heading to Europe for summer vacation, you may want to consider packing your ski gear. There are a number of resorts throughout the Alps, in Austria (Hintertux, Kitzsteinhorn, Stubai), France (Tignes, Les Deux Alpes), Italy (Cervinia) and Switzerland (Zermatt, Saas-Fee) that have glacier skiing in the summer.
Skiing in the Southern Hemisphere
Sure it’s scientifically obvious, but isn’t it still a little disorienting to imagine half the world is in winter while the northern hemisphere enjoys summer? (Want to talk ski obsession? I knew a ski patroller who used this to his benefit, flipping between New Zealand and Canada to live in a perpetual winter for several years).
Once you get over the present moment bias, though, it’s possible to imagine a summer holiday to a winter destination. If you’re jonesing hard for some real winter skiing between June and October, check out the ski season in South America, New Zealand or Australia.
Other summer ski and snowboard options
Like I mentioned off the top, you don’t need snow to ski or ride although it’s obviously the preferred option. There are indoor dry slopes in the US, UK and Dubai, and Candide Thovex has proven that you can ski outdoors almost anywhere there’s a bit of slope.
If you need some inspiration, here’s Candide, skiing pretty much every surface known to man.
For most of us mortals, though, a soft or slippery surface such as sand or scree helps. SnowSeekers writer Nancy Shields wrote about gravel skiing in a 2018 story on summer skiing, and I once took my skis along on a summer holiday to Saskatchewan to ski The Great Sand Hills.
These are uncontrolled areas with hazards to consider, and not dedicated ski areas, so mostly they are found by word of mouth or via Warren Miller segments like this one:
While indoor skiing or sand skiing hit the main criteria, the experience is more of a novelty than a true snow skiing or snowboarding experience. My day at the Sand Hills was gritty and unexceptional skiing. Steeper, longer pitches would have made it better.
But it was still skiing, and an experience I will always remember. And I have never complained about snow conditions since.