Two of the remaining glaciers in the Alps that have still been offering summer skiing in recent years have announced they won’t be doing in 2022.
Val d’Isère in France announced last week that they won’t be opening the lifts on their Pisaillas glacier for summer skiing this weekend and were cancelling 2022 summer ski operations. Now the Mölltaler glacier in Austria (pictured above in July last year) has confirmed that it won’t open for snow sports this summer either.
The two are among an ever-diminishing number of ski centres offering summer glacier skiing. The numbers peaked in the 1980s at around 50 resorts and had dropped to about 40 by the year 2000. The number has now dropped to fewer than 20 and most of those that are still open in summer are open for shorter and shorter periods.
The Mölltaler has not said why it isn’t open this summer but says it expects to open in early Autumn like other centres that formerly opened in summer including Italy’s Val Senales and Austria’s once year-round ski centre of Sölden.
Val d’Isère (pictured above in a previous, snowier summer) has blamed limited snowfall last winter coupled with high temperatures in May for its decision not to open this year.
Summer skiing at Val d’Isère dates back to 1958 and takes place with six downhill slopes between 2725m and 3300m, half of them open to the public, the remainder reserved for race training.
Reports from France say that temperature measurements made above 3,100m between May 12 and 23erd showed it remained above freezing day and night even at this altitude and that on May 20th temperatures reached +12C degrees on May 20. This compared to a temperature range of -10 to +2 degrees over the same period last year. The resort’s high Col de l’Iseran (2770 m) pass was able to open to cars and bikes nearly a fortnight earlier than usual, at the end of May, as a result of the comparable lack of snow to clear from it.
Currently the Hintertux and Kitzsteinhorn glaciers are open in Austria and Les 2 Alpes in France with Val d’Isère’s neighbour Tignes still planning to open its Grande Motte glacier to skiers from June 18th “subject to snow conditions”. Zermatt is also open as is Passo Stelvio in Italy and three glacier areas in Norway.