What is glacier skiing?
Glaciers are made up of layers of compacted snow and ice, taking millions of years to form – and you can ski on some of them. There are glaciers in loads of ski resorts, with marked runs and off-piste to explore.
Why is glacier skiing great?
Because the cold from the ice keeps the snow in perfect condition for skiing. Glaciers often sit at high altitude too, and the low temperatures mean they get heaps of snow that lasts longer – even through summer. So if you want to ski early or late in the season, and you’re nervous about the snowfall, pick a glacier resort and you’re guaranteed good conditions.
Val Thorens, France
Glacier de Péclet, 3,561m
The Péclet Glacier in Val Thorens has tons of off-piste powder to play in and sunny groomed runs. For a real adrenaline rush, don’t miss the aptly named Glacier black run – it’s one of the steepest slopes in the Three Valleys ski area and you’ll loop around the whole Glacier de Péclet on your way down.
Zermatt, Switzerland & Cervinia, Italy
Theodul Glacier, 3,802m
Hop off the highest cable car in Europe, pop on your goggles and get going on 21km of piste. Most of the runs are mellow reds and blues, so you can let loose and enjoy the views of the Matterhorn on the way down. And while you’re up there, try out some tricks in the Snowpark Zermatt. Even the pros love the Theodul Glacier – in summer, ski teams from all over the world head here to train.
Les Deux Alpes, France
Glacier du Mont de Lans, 3,421m
Beginners can get a taste of glacier skiing on the easy blues of the Mont de Lans. Move on to the reds when you’re ready, or end your week on a high and ski all the way back down to the resort on the 16km Jandri route. You can stop for lunch in Toura on the way, and celebrate with après drinks back in town.
La Grande Motte Glacier, 3,456m
Take a 7-minute funicular ride to La Grande Motte – the highest skiable point in Tignes. At the top, step onto the panoramic terrace for 360-degree views of Mont Blanc and the Vanoise massif mountains. The slopes are spread across 20km, with a mix of blue, red and black runs. You can even ski from the top of the glacier all the way down to Val Claret on wide, linked reds, dropping 1,356 vertical metres. Reward yourself at the end with a cheesy fondue or pizza – you’ve earned it.
Stubai Glacier, 3,200m
With 62km of piste, Stubai is Austria’s biggest glacier ski area. Test your stamina by skiing 10km from the top of the glacier to the base – start with the Daunferner blue run and then pick up some speed on the Wilde Grub’n ski route. Or take it easy and cruise down one of the 13 blue runs, like the wide and gentle Eisjochferner.
Alpe d’Huez, France
Sarenne Glacier, 3,300m
Not for the fainthearted, the Sarenne Glacier is home to some tricky red and black runs. If you fancy a real challenge, you can’t miss La Sarenne – the longest black piste in the Alps at 16km. It starts steep but then smoothes out into more of a blue/green slope that’ll give your jelly legs a well-needed rest and let you enjoy the views.
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