What to expect when you go summerskiing
Back from a trip to the alps where I went summerskiing. Summerskiing is a fantastic experience but needs a lot of preparations. I'll tell you everything you need to know about it, in this blog! I alway get a lot of questions about summerskiing so ith this post, I'll answer the for you.
I went to Saas Fee (Switzerland) for a couple of days and it was our plan to go skiing there for 3 days. Due to bad weather like strong winds and a lot of rain that made the snow too soft, we were only able to ski for one day...
I went summerskiing before a couple of times in Les 2 Alpes, France too so I do have some experience with summerskiing.
First of all, it's important to check the weather conditions. In France, we never weren't able to ski due to soft snow but apparently in Saas Fee (and Zermatt, I checked), they close the slopes for this reason. So when they announce rain or thunderstorms, don't book 5 days in a row for skiing. You'll loose a lot of money. It's the best to buy your tickets the day itself actually. In France, you can buy an insurance to cover this problem, in Switzerland, this was not the case.
Sometimes, the slopes are closed and if you don't want to hike back and fourth to the skilifts for no reason, check the current openings of the slopes. Normally they update their website right on time, before 7 a.m.
Also some more info weather wise: I always get a lot of questions about what to wear in the alps, during the summer. On the glacier, in the morning, it doesn't usually freeze. The usual limit of 0 degrees often is higher than 4000m. In Saas Fee, you ski from about 3300m high to about 3600m high. In Les 2 Alpes, which is a bit larger, you ski from 3200m to 3568 m high. This means that it's often a couple of degrees celcius. In the village itself, when the weather is nice, it can get over 20 degrees celcius. So: for skiing I'd say, wear clothes that you'd wear for skiing in april. I myself, ski pretty fast so even though it's a bit hot to wear all my skiingequipment, because of the wind I "create", it can get pretty cold.
If you want to go hiking on a glacier, you don't really need your ski clothes. I did some hikes before where you had to cross some snow, where I was just wearing my summer clothes (shorts and tops). If it's a longer hike on a glacier (butwhere you don't need glacier equipment like spikes, you can maybe bring some hotter clothes. I always take an extra sweater and foldable jacket and a pair of legging. Just in case. The weather can change pretty fast in the high alps... so it's important to know that you might check the weather before.
When they announce rain or thunderstorms, additional clothes are a must. You also don't want to end up in a storm in the high mountains!
Now a bit more info about the hiking, if you
For the rest, I always use my own skiwear. I have my own boots, helmet, gloves, skis and skipoles. You can rent equipment at the villages if you don't have your own stuff.
Timing: You need to know that during the summer, you can only ski in the morning. Usually you can ski from 7am till noon. After that, the snow gets too soft and you can damage the glaciers. What we like to do after skiing is to go back down, have lunch and change outfits. This can take over 2 hours since it already takes about half an hour to go down from the slopes, back to the village.
Something you should also check something that's pretty important is how many slopes are open for tourists. In regions like Les 2 Alpes, a lot of slopes are rented for skiteams, where you can't ski as a tourist. In Saas fee, a less known summerski area, this was not the case, which was pretty nice! We literally could ski almost anywhere and didn't have to wait at the skilifts. In Les 2 Alpes, it's extremely crowded and you have to wait at some lifts. Literally skiers from all over the world come here to train. Countries that I've seen before were: USA, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Japan, Korea etc!
Then what to do after skiing, in the afternoon?
In some areas such as Les 2 Alpes, you get a skipass where you can take all the lifts in the region for the entire day. There are also some fun other activities linked to your skipass such as tickets for the public pool, the luge etc.
In Saas Fee, this is not the case, you do recieve a "Saastalcard" when you book in the entire Saas tal. With this card you can get reduction to some activities and you can take all the skilifts in the region for free; bus shuttles incluided. This is pretty interesting because this card is for every tourist. So if you want to go hiking in the summer in Saas Fee, you get this card too.
I think that I now answered all of the most asked questions but if you still have questions, don't hesitate to ask me!
(us, walking to the lift to go up!)