People love to go to the beach during the summer months, so it only makes sense that they would want to go skiing during the winter months, or just before if you prefer the off-season. There are a number of ski resorts which open when autumn begins in October and November. It is a great opportunity to get on the slopes without them being packed full of other people and it isn’t as chilly as normal. Of course, these resorts are going to be high-altitude ones and the conditions are assumed to be mostly good with lots of snow for you to ski on. Here are some of the best places to go skiing during the cooler months.
Cervinia is a popular skiing destination in Italy as it usually opens at the end of October and can provide top-to-bottom snow during the winter, even if it’s dry. The slopes can be up to 3,820m and are great for both beginners and seasoned skiers. There are some breath-taking views and Cervinia can offer access to the Klein Matterhorn glacier, which is above Zermatt in Switzerland. Another ski resort in Italy is Passo Stelvio, which is a summer ski centre that stays open until October.
Compared to all the other countries on this list, Austria is the one that has more operational ski resorts in autumn, with up to eight open by mid-October. Obviously, it depends on the snow conditions, but the Hintertux glacier is open all year round and Pitztal opens in September every year. Obertauern is a great destination for families as there is a great atmosphere as the slopes are direct from the doorstep. It is a purpose-built destination, dating back to the early 1900s, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
Zermatt is a ski resort in Switzerland, which is normally open from September and features Europe’s highest lifts, which are only open in summer and autumn reaching 3,899m. Saas Fee is a neighbouring resort which is open in mid-July, but Andermatt is also a great choice thanks to its position on the northern side of the Alps. It can gather a lot of snow and has slopes between 2,000m and 3,000m. Then there is Engelberg, situated above Lake Lucerne, with a low village and slopes reaching 3,028m on Mount Titlis.
In France, Tignes is the only ski resort that is open for most of Autumn, with the main resort villages sitting at 2,100m. It has a high point of 3,456m and is one of the most dependable destinations in France. While you don’t have to be an expert, some of the runs in Tignes require confidence and strong legs to navigate as they are steep and challenging. In November, people are able to reach the top of Grande Motte, which is a glacier shared with Val d’Isere. Les 2 Alpes also opens its glacier ski area for two weekends and the week in-between at the end of October before opening fully in December.
The Alta and Snowbird resorts are linked in the state of Utah and receive more than 14m of snow in a year, meaning there is plenty for people to ski upon. The slopes of these resorts add up to 4,700 acres, however, snowboarding is banned in Alta. Another place in the USA where you can ski in autumn is Timberline on Mt Hood in Oregon. It is open for most of the year, except for a few weeks in September when all the equipment is checked over. There are also plenty of resorts in Colorado such as Copper Mountain, Keystone and Loveland, which open in October when there is enough snow.
Of course, it is more ideal to go skiing on an actual slope, but there is plenty of indoor skiing centre is you don’t get the chance.