For most people in Europe, the ski season is over. Pretty much all of the resorts have closed their slopes and lifts. But if you really miss skiing, there are still some glaciers up there, where you can do few more turns, or hit some jumps before you definitely put your skis to summer rest. One of these places is Dachstein Gletscher, in the middle of Austria.
Dachstein Gletscher belongs to the Ski Amade, one the biggest ski areas in Europe and reaches up to 2700 meters above sea level. In winter you can ski on all the lifts shown on the map. In good conditions you can even ski-tour all the way to the Hallstatt. This 25 km long groomed ski run with elevation drop of 2.2 km is known as “Austria’s National Ski Tour”. On the other hand, in early and late summer (ski lifts are normally closed from July to September – depends on weather conditions), Dachstein hosts some top freeski and snowboard events in their Superpark Dachstein.
To get to the top of the glacier, you must take a big gondola that spans over some massive cliffs as it makes its way up. When you wake up early and get lucky to catch the first gondola, you might as well get a ride on the roof of it. And I must say this is some crazy and cool experience. Moving up pretty fast and only having a handrail between you and 200 m drop is pretty scary and it will definitely wake you up for the day.
Skiing on Dachstein during summer is more of a getting suntan and having a good time with your friends than getting some real ski mileage and that’s what we did indeed. We enjoyed the sun and had a great time. Getting up with the first gondola gave us surprisingly quite firm snow condition with a lot of speed needed also to hit the big jumps. But anyway you still need to wax it during the day. Also don’t forget to “wax” your face with a sun cream. Sun can be pretty bad-ass at this altitude.
Shortly after noon, no matter how much you try, the snow gets really slushy and slow. This is the point when you call it for a day and switch to the sunbathing mode. There are plenty of benches to sit on and since locals call this place “the roof” besides regular seats you will find here also some deckchairs. So and from now on it’s snack-, drink- and hanging out with your buddies-time.
Now I finally know why they call this place a roof. Because you feel like you are on the roof of the Austria. Amazing views wherever you look, shining sun and great vibes among all the people make this place really special. Plus you are on the snow and you have your skis on. I think this is as good as it gets.