If reliable snow cover is one of the first things you look for when planning your trip, you’re not alone. It only takes one ski holiday on green hills to realise that it’s much more fun to go on a ski holiday when the slopes are open, and even better if you’ve got some fresh powder! As we all know, the altitude and geographical location of the ski area both play an important role in determining which ski resorts will be more snow-sure than others. You’ll even find that at many ski areas, one side of the mountain has much better snow cover than the other, simply because of how the sun shines or how the wind hits the slopes.
Since it can be difficult to know for sure whether your chosen ski resort has reliable snow cover, we’ve put together a list of snow-sure ski areas in the Alps that have historically been lucky when it comes to getting loads of powder. These include glacier ski areas and high-altitude ski areas, or even just ski areas with fortunate microclimates where you’re sure to have a snowy ski holiday.
- What makes a snow-sure ski area?
- Snow-sure ski areas by country
- Snow-sure glacier ski areas
- High-altitude ski areas and villages
- Ski areas for a guaranteed White Christmas
- Ski areas with reliable snow cover in spring
- Best ski areas for artificial snow
The first thing that might spring to mind when you think of a snow-sure ski area is a glacier ski area. After all, glaciers are icy year-round, so it stands to reason that they should have the most reliable snow cover. This is true, and many glaciers are open for skiing even in the spring and summer. But it’s not just glacier ski resorts that offer guaranteed snow. High-altitude ski areas, especially those with pistes at more than 2000m above sea level, enjoy pretty decent snow cover as well thanks to their altitude and are often among the first to open for ski season. Still other ski areas have pistes in the shade – usually north-facing pistes do better in the Alps – where the sun can’t melt the snow as quickly. And finally, ski areas on the edges of the Alps can be vulnerable to warmer weather patterns that may adversely affect snowfall. One thing to keep in mind is that while a ski area might not have the most abundant natural snowfall, the more important thing for guaranteed snow is that it stick around and not melt.
For those who have their heart set on a particular destination, we’ve lined up some of the top snow-sure ski resorts per country. As you’ll see, not all of these are necessarily glacier ski areas.
Glaciers are the product of years and years of accumulated ice so by definition, if it’s a glacier it can’t be melted! This makes glacier ski areas the most snow-sure ski areas of them all, with many of them opening for skiing almost all year long. Below we’ve listed the most famous glacier in each country, but there are of course many more glacier ski resorts in the Alps.
Snow cover is also determined by the altitude of the ski area. Here we’ve listed some of the highest ski areas and ski resort villages in the Alps. Of course, you can never rely 100% on guaranteed snow, but once the ski area is 2000m above sea level is higher, it’s a fairly safe bet to expect a successful ski holdiay.
|High-altitude ski areas|
|Les Deux Alpes||3600m|
|High-altitude ski resort towns|
|Madonna di Campiglio||1550m|
We usually expect ski areas to start opening for the winter in November and December, making Christmas the perfect time for a ski holiday with the family. Unfortunately, by December some years you’ll still find many ski areas waiting for their first snowfall, which is hugely stressful if you’ve already booked your trip! To avoid disappointment, it’s extra-important to choose a snow-sure ski area if you’re planning a Christmas ski holiday. Here are some good options.
Some people like to avoid Christmas and February half-term altogether and just skip straight to spring skiing, when the days are longer and you can ski in just a t-shirt and sunglasses! The one tiny downside to spring skiing is the potential for slushy snow. Since we love spring skiing, we want everybody to enjoy it to its fullest potential! Here are some of our favourite snow-sure ski areas for spring skiing.
Faced with climate change and the reality of shorter ski seasons, many ski areas have turned to artificial snow to ensure guaranteed snow cover all through winter. You’ll find snow cannons in most ski areas nowadays, but there are some ski areas that have better coverage than others. The following ski areas have enough snow cannons to keep plenty of terrain open even when snow cover is lacking.
|Ski area||# snow cannons||Km of pistes|
|Winterberg|| 260 ||27km|
|Bad Kleinkirchheim|| 800 ||103km|
|KitzSki|| 1068 ||179km|
|SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser - Brixental|| 1500 ||284km|
|Zillertal Arena|| 556 ||153km|
|Großarltal - Dorfgastein|| 227 ||73km|
|Ski Arlberg|| 300 ||329km|
|Snowspace Salzburg|| 179 ||120km|
Did you know there are already plenty of ski resorts open for skiing in November? The higher-altitude ski areas in the Alps have already been blessed with several snowfalls and as we get into November, the snow line drops lower and lower.
You’re a huge ski or snowboard fanatic and you just can’t wait until next winter season - summer skiing IS the answer! We’ve put together a list of the best summer ski resorts in the Alps so you can work on your tan on the slopes instead of the beach!