The number of summer ski areas open in Europe this August will hit a new low this month with three of the eight centres that had planned to be open announcing they have to close due to the snow cover melting from the glacial ice below, in several cases at record speed, the centres say.
The number of summer ski areas open in Europe has been dropping for more than 25 years from a high of around 40 centres in the 1980s. The length of summer ski season offered by the 20 or so centres that still open for periods has also been reducing.
This August the Molltal glacier in Austria (pictured above on July 24th) is the latest to announce it won’t be open as expected, joining Norway’s Fonna and Galdhoppigen glaciers.
This leaves the year-round centre of Hintertux in Austria, Les 2 Alpes in France, Passo Stelvio in Italy, Saas Fee in Switzerland and the glacier slopes above Cervinia and Zermatt around the Klein Matterhorn as the five summer ski areas open.
The Molltal glacier (pictured top in July) probably has the third longest ski season in the world, after the year-round centres of Hintertux and Zermatt, opening for around 11 months, just closing around May each year (in normal years when the virus does not cause additional closure periods). However for several years now it has also been closing in August and September.