Good news is coming from all over Europe where athletes have been able to return to alpine training on many of the European glaciers. Colder temperatures, and even some early season snowfall, have enabled many of the glacier resorts in the European Alps to reopen. Recreational skiing has been able to resume in some resorts as well.
Only a couple of resorts had managed to remain open during the European heatwave for training, like Fonna in Norway, Saas Fee in Switzerland, and Hintertux in Austria. The latter was the only resort in the Northern Hemisphere to stay open for recreational skiing. The others were only open for national teams.
The situation was particularly tough for international athletes, who rely on glacier skiing for essential summer training. Many alpine athletes had to go to the Southern Hemisphere for their summer training or come up with dry-land options.
The Italian Ski Cross Team training on a plastic slope, source: skicross.italia Instagram Page
Zermatt in Switzerland, Pitztal Glacier in Austria, and Passo dello Stelvio in Italy have reopened for team training in the last two weeks. More resorts are reopening every day, Sölden Glacier opened on September 23 (the main ski area will open in mid-November) and others are opening in the next few days:
- Galdhøpiggen Sommerski in Norway received 16in (40cm) of snow overnight and announced today that after initially only being open to teams, it will be open from today to the public.
- Stubai Glacier is opening tomorrow, September 30.
- Pitztal Glacier is currently open for team training and will open to everyone on October 1st.
- Kaprun Glacier will reopen on October 7, 2022
While most glacier resorts had planned to reopen in September or early October, the Dachstein Glacier in Austria had to make the sad announcement that they cannot open this season at all. The European heatwave damaged too much of the surface area at the Dachstein Glacier and has opened dangerous crevasses, making it unsafe to open this winter.
- Related: Dachstein Glacier, Austria, Is ‘Unsafe’ Due to This Summer’s Extreme Heat and Won’t Open at All 22/23
Overall it seems the European heatwave has given way to a cold snap, with decent early snowfalls across the Northern Alps. Sass-Fee recorded 8 in (22 cm) of snow yesterday alone and has been able to reshape the terrain park, known as ‘The Stomping Ground’ in time for their pipe and Slopestyle session from September 27 to October 20, 2022. The US Snowboard Team has returned to Switzerland for this essential training session.
After skiing had to largely be suspended on glaciers in Europe for 6-8 weeks, it is great to get the skiing infrastructure back for training, especially considering the FIS Alpine World Cup season opening event in Sölden is only 3.5 weeks away.