Five Ski Resorts in Europe That Offer Great Summer Activities

I recently attended the 8th Mountainlikers Congress in Andorra organised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

The two day event with twenty two speakers from all sections of the snow sports industry, focused on opportunities in summer tourism in the mountains.

Ski resorts must diversify to survive and offer an all year experience that competes with the beach.

Here’s five ski resorts that already have lots to offer once the snow has melted:

Tignes, France

The Olympic village of Tignes opened a brand new sports complex in 2013 and offers a huge selection of activities both ‘in town’ and on the mountain. The free bike park has trails for all levels of rider from beginner to elite, there’s a water sports centre on the lake, a golf course, white water rafting and all the other things you’d expect in the mountains like rock climbing and hiking.

Then from June 21st to August 3rd you can ski – the altitude here ensures snow remains in good condition and although the lifts close around lunchtime they open up at 07.15am so you can get plenty of turns in before heading back for other activities in the afternoon.

Snoworks run courses in the summer for adults and kids – www.snoworks.co.uk

Stay at – www.loterrachu.com

Samoëns, France

For an altogether more calming experience, the pretty village of Samoëns, just over an hour’s drive from Geneva Airport, offers the visitor a mix of cultural, wellness and mountains activities. The old centre has been designated a ‘Monument Historique’, the only ski resort in France to have such an accolade. Of course there’s a mountain bike area, lots of hiking opportunities and white water rafting as well as tennis, fishing and swimming – there’s wellness facilities available at the Des Cimes Spa too.

There’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy here for a summer holiday whether you want to take it easy or head into the hills and expend some energy.

Stay at – www.revesdemontagne.com

Zermatt, Switzerland

One of the classic summer mountain towns in the Alps and possibility one of the most stunning. Access is by mountain railway, there are no cars allowed in the town centre and from there you can take a selection of transport options into the mountains including cable cars and funiculars. Hiking and mountaineering are the main activities here, with the backdrop of glaciers and the familiar site of the Matterhorn always there to remind you where you are. There’s summer skiing on the glacier too, along with mountain biking and golf.

Food is taken seriously here and there’s three restaurants with Michelin stars as well as several with Gault Millau points.

Stay at – www.jaegerhofzermatt.ch

Lillehammer, Norway

The Olympic town of Norway that hosted the 1994 games in spectacular style is a fantastic base in the summer to explore the beautiful surrounding mountains. Miles of easy forest walks and crystal clear lakes are easily accessible – the mountain bike park at the nearby ski resort of Hafjell is considered to be one of the world’s best, regularly hosting one of the world cup downhill events in the late summer.

To top this off there’s gold courses, salmon fishing, moose safari’s and of course tours of the Olympic venues too. With a two hour train connection or drive to Oslo, it’s also a perfect dual destination for individuals, couples and families.

Book through – www.flydrivenorway.co.uk

Dolomites, Italy

The vast Dolomiti Superski area now transforms into the Supersummer area come June. What’s your heartbeat? They ask you on their website – as they have everything available to suit all tastes. They pride themselves on their cuisine in Italy and this region has some of the best to offer in the Alps. Twelve separate areas and villages make up a huge interconnected region that’s accessible by lift, public transport and walking.

There’s some great mountain biking, via ferrata, hiking and of course the pizza.

Learn more here – www.dolomitisupersummer.com

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Robert Stewart

Ski Editor at Snow.Guide

Robert has extensive knowledge and experience of winter sports and has been qualified to instruct and teach Alpine Skiing for over 20 years. He is also an experienced off-piste and backcountry skier and has competed in freestyle and freeride events around the world. Now a full-time ski writer and Director of Ski Press, Robert is Snow.Guide’s Ski Editor and contributes to many other snowsports, national and lifestyle publications.

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