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The real après ski; ski resorts in summer


It’s easy to imagine that skiing resorts the world over become deserted once the snow is gone. Apart from the hardcore mountain climbers, it’s is hard to imagine what anyone could get out of such a location.

But over the summer months mountain resorts are actually packed with amazing things to do, and there are even a few places you still manage to find last minute ski deals…

Mountain biking

Austria is well known for having some of the best skiing in Europe, but it also has some of the best mountain trails for summer mountain biking.

There are groomed bike parks in Semmering, Leogang and Wagarin and plenty of singletrack trails in Ischgl and Zillertal.

Ischgl is becoming especially popular as the resort also hosts summer concerts and has a thriving nightclub scene. It is also one of the most affordable and easily accessible resorts in the Austrian Alps.

Parasailing/Hang Gliding

Chamonix in the French Alps has roughly a dozen different companies offering a huge range of hang gliding and parasailing rides through the mountains.

Experienced gliders will appreciate the lift system, which provides easy access to all of the mountain’s take off points.

As flying the Chamonix Valley takes a good knowledge of the environment, aerologic conditions and safety regulations, newbies will want to check out companies that offer lessons and detailed tutorials. That way by the end of the week they can be flying solo!

Hiking

Hiking is a Swiss national pastime making it a fantastic location for summer expeditions. Hiking paths are scattered all through the Alps and the trail and mapping systems are excellent.

The local transport systems are also well designed for trekkers as they allow you to send you luggage or bags on ahead. Treks are also clearly marked by difficulty so there’s no danger of heading down a long trek you’re not prepared for.

Skiing

If none of that tickles your fancy then there is always Zermatt in Switzerland, where it is theoretically possible to go skiing 365 days of the year.

It is the highest and most reliable resort for summer skiing in Europe, with 25km of slopes and eight lifts sitting at an altitude of 3,900m. While there aren’t an enormous amount of runs, the high altitude means plenty of off-piste and long cruising runs down the mountain.

April saw an average of 17cm of fresh powder every week and the May forecast is the same, making Zermatt ideal for those looking for summer powder and ski chalets in Europe.

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