22 March 2013 from Nikki in 'Out of the ordinary''

ski slopes by night

When the days start getting longer and the temperatures start to rise, people like to venture out at night on their ski holidays to enjoy that magical atmosphere that you only find in ski resorts after dark. The crisp air, black sky sparkling with endless stars and the huge, white mountains that seem to be keeping watch over the ski resort until sunrise! Spring is here and you no longer put off the moment you have leave the restaurant at the end of your meal because it’s so damn cold – you actually look forward to the invigorating walk back home.

A new trend

In most ski resorts, when the sun sets, everything is shut down and packed away until the lifts start up again in the morning. However, an increasing number of ski resorts now call in the second shift of ski lift attendants and patrollers as the sun goes down and start preparing for a night of skiing under the stars. In the US, night skiing already makes up a surprising 7% of visits to the ski slopes – in Europe, we are way behind! However, personally, I see this as an activity with a future even if it’s not a particularly environmentally friendly pastime, considering the amount of electricity needed to light up the slopes - unless you ski under the full moon of course…

full moon party poster

A Full Moon Party – on the slopes!

This is actually possible in La Clusaz in France, where at least once a year the ski resort invites everyone to its famous Full Moon Party – on the slopes! Here (weather conditions permitting of course) there is no need for flood lights – you ski by the light of the moon! Various ski slopes are re-opened for the occasion so you can enjoy this exceptional, festive skiing experience under the stars and the party atmosphere in the many mountain restaurants and bars which come together to organize these unforgettable evenings. With a ski pass (2 days or more) the Full Moon Pass costs 13€. If you don’t have a ski pass, the price is 20€ or it is possible to buy a 1-day ski pass plus Full Moon Pass for 38.50€…

If you’re not particularly into the party scene but you just cannot wait until the next morning to get up on the slopes, or you would simply like to discover the unique atmosphere on the slopes at night, there are plenty of other resorts across the Alps that now offer the opportunity to try night skiing.

Chamonix in France

When the sun goes down in Chamonix, the lights come on up on the slopes. Here, you can enjoy a spot of nocturnal fun with friends or family or spend a romantic moment with your other half on the floodlit slopes at Les Houches. This activity takes place every Thursday throughout the winter season and the lights stay on until 10pm! Entrance is free and the Tourist Office even offers everyone a glass of mulled wine to keep the chill away.

The Serre Chevalier valley in France

Here in the Serre Chevalier valley, there are two different possibilities to keep on skiing long after the sun has set. Either on the amazing Vauban slope at Briançon, a red run accessible from the Prorel gondola which is re-opened from 7.30pm to 10.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school holidays. Access is free with a valid ski pass and you can even spend the evening up at the mountain restaurant, the Pra Long, and ski back down after dinner! For some family fun the green Mickey run, at the bottom of the slopes at Villeneuve (just by the Aravet car park) stays open from 5pm to 9pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school holidays. Entrance is free of charge, even without a ski pass, so even the youngest members of the family can join in.

Kühtai in Austria

For those who have not had enough daytime action, they can head back out on the slopes in the evening in Kühtai. The HochAlter 4-seater chairlift takes you directly to the floodlit descent which is re-opened every Wednesday and Saturday evening from 7.30 pm to 10.00pm. The Berghaus "Zum Kaiser Maximilian" is also re-opened and the slopes stay illuminated until 11.30pm for the really serious skiers!

night skiing

There are plenty of other resorts such as Imst and Seefeld in Austria, Les 2 Alpes, Vars, Courchevel, and Les Arcs in France which have also decided to extend the daytime skiing possibilities into the night. After recently trying night skiing, I think it’s an absolute must on any ski holiday - my only serious recommendation is don’t drink and ski!

Leave a comment and let us know if you've tried night skiing...

from SJC on 29 September

Ski-ing at night sounds fantastic-- especially by the light of the moon. We'll be looking for a resort in France that offers this option

Being lucky enough to have parents who were crazy about skiing, my love for the mountains started when I was 4 years old on our first family ski holiday to Austrian ski resort of Obergurl. One ski holiday a year was never enough and tears rolled down my face as I looked out the back window of the car on the drive down the valley on the way home!