Northern Hemisphere Heatwave: Austria’s Hintertux Glacier is the Last Summer Ski Resort Open to the Public

Julia Schneemann |
Hintertux Glacier
Gates for summer ski training on Hintertux Glacier, picture: Hintertux Glacier Facebook Page

Following the announcement by the Fonna Glacier in Norway and Timberline Lodge and Ski Area, OR, to close their operations on August 21 due to the record heatwave, the Northern Hemisphere now has only one summer ski resort left open to the public for skiing. The last man standing amongst the roughly forty summer ski resorts is the Hintertux Glacier resort in Austria.

Summer Skiing Map
Summer Ski Resort Map Hintertux Glacier, picture: Hintertux Glacier Homepage

Hintertux is located in the Zillertal, Tyrol, in Austria and has 12 miles (20km) of slopes open for summer skiing, compared to 37 miles (60km) in winter. Currently, only four miles (6km) are still open. Aside from the groomed slopes, the area also features a large terrain park for freestyle practice. The resort extends from 4,921 ft (1,500m) to 10,662 ft (3,250m) in altitude and offers many activities aside from skiing or boarding, such as hiking, sledding or exploring the glacial lake situated in a magnificent ice cave.

Hintertux currently reports a natural snow depts of 25cm on the glacier.

Ice cave
Hintertux Glacier Ice Cave, picture: Hintertux Glacier Facebook Page

Some other Northern Hemisphere resorts, such as Saas Fee, remain open to national or professional race teams for their much-needed summer training. However, some teams have decided due to the dwindling availability in the Northern Hemisphere to head to the Southern Hemisphere for their summer training.

The closure of all other summer ski resorts to the public—or in some cases to everyone—is an unprecedented event for these summer or all-year resorts. The unprecedented high temperatures even at altitude have caused much of the snow cover to melt or to soften to such an extent that skiing is not deemed safe.

Most resorts are hoping to be able to re-open in September as temperatures should drop in the next few weeks and also hopefully receive high-altitude snowfall. Passo Dello Stelvio (Italy), Galdhøpiggen (Norway), Saas Fee and Zermatt (both Switzerland) all stressed that their closures to the public were temporary. In addition, other resorts that don’t offer summer skiing but open early in the season should open in late September or early October, thus offering more infrastructure for athletes as well as the general public.

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