As summer arrives in the Northern Hemisphere and resorts are pivoting to mountain biking, hiking, or other summer activities, a small number of ski resorts around the globe defy seasonal norms and have just started their skiing and boarding season. These hidden gems are so remotely located they are rendered inaccessible during the winter months. Only when spring comes, and the access roads can be cleared these extraordinary resorts come to life and are therefore only open in summer.
Join us as we explore six remarkable summer-only ski resorts across the globe, from the stunning Beartooth Basin in the United States to the enchanting Gassan resort in Japan.
#1 Beartooth Basin, MT, United States:
Nestled amidst the picturesque Beartooth Mountains in Montana along the border to Wyoming, Beartooth Basin beckons skiers seeking an off-the-grid summer skiing adventure. With an impressive altitude of 10,900 ft (3,322m), the ski area boasts a skiable area of approximately 600 acres, providing ample room for exploration. Skiers can take advantage of the resort’s three lifts to access the diverse terrain, which includes 1,000 vertical feet of exhilarating descents. The Beartooth Pass is the highest mountain pass in the Northern Rockies, and Charles Kuralt called it “the most beautiful drive in America” on his TV show ‘On the Road.’ The ski area was established in the mid-1960s by three Austrian-American race coaches as an alpine ski racing summer training ground until its sale to its new owners in the late 90s, who opened it up to the public.
Beartooth Basin opened on May 27, 2023, and will be open until the snow melts, usually the end of July, depending on the weather.
#2 Passo Stelvio, Italy:
Located in the heart of the Italian Alps close to the Swiss border, Passo Stelvio is both the name of the spectacular winding mountain road and the ski resort at the peak of the pass road. Jeremy Clarkson called the Stelvio Pass “the greatest driving road in the world” on the TV show ‘Top Gear.’ The Stelvio resort is the largest summer skiing area in the European Alps and offers skiing from 9,049 ft (2,758m) to 11,319 ft (3,450m) and spanning over 12.4 miles (20km) of groomed slopes. With nine lifts and 34 runs, skiers can enjoy a variety of thrilling descents against the backdrop of the majestic Alps. Summer skiing at Stelvio has a long-standing tradition dating back to the early 1930s when the mountain hut Livrio was built, and the first ski courses were created. The resort is popular with international ski racing teams and is usually the summer base for the Italian national ski team.
Passo Stelvio opened on June 1, 2023, and plans to stay open until November 5, 2023.
#3 Fonna, Norway:
Nestled in Norway’s captivating Hardangerfjord region, Fonna enchants visitors with its awe-inspiring summer skiing opportunities. Perched at an elevation of 4,757 ft (1,450m) on the Folgefonna Glacier in Norway, the resort offers three miles (5km) of slopes across four different runs serviced by a single T-bar. There are also summer cross-country trails for classic and skate training on top of the glacier, from which you can revel in the scenic beauty of the fjords below you. Fonna is very popular for summer training for European snowsports athletes, especially with freestyle athletes, as it has an incredible Freestyle park and Moguls course.
Fonna opened this year on May 6, 2023, and plans to stay open until late September. However, from July 26, Fonna will only be open to teams and clubs for training.
#4 Galdhøppigen, Norway:
Situated atop Scandinavia’s highest mountain, Galdhøppigen, which reaches 8,098ft (2,469m) above sea level, the Galdhøppigen Summer Ski Center promises an unforgettable summer skiing experience. The summer resort, which is also known as ‘Juvass,’ provides skiers with a skiable area spanning over 3.1 miles (5 km) of groomed slopes from 6,069ft (1,850m) at Juvbreen to an altitude of 7,368 feet (2,246m) making it the highest ski area in Scandinavia. The Summer Ski Center is located on a glacier, and the T-bar ski lift is secured to the ice, which is in constant movement down towards Juvvatnet. The clear, green glacial water beautifully contrasts the surrounding permafrost landscape.
This year the season at Galdhøppigen goes from May 13 until November 5, 2023.
#5 Stryn, Norway:
Nestled in the idyllic Norwegian countryside, the summer-only ski resort of Stryn offers a remarkable skiing experience. Stryn Summer Ski Centre is situated at 3,494ft (1,065m) on the Tystig Glacier, and a double chair takes you up to 4,429ft (1,350m) and provides access to a skiable area of approximately 1.8 miles (3 km). Skiers can enjoy a variety of runs of varying degrees of difficulty, and if you want to venture out further, Stryn also offers catskiing. The long winding road through the stunning countryside alone is worth the trip.
The resort opened later than usual this year on May 30, 2023, due to late-season snowfalls, and is planning to stay open until late October.
#6 Gassan, Japan:
Situated in the Yamagata Prefecture of Japan, the Gassan ski resort offers an extraordinary summer skiing adventure. Gassan’s problem, unlike the aforementioned resorts, is not one of access but rather of too much snow to be able to operate during winter. Nestled at an impressive altitude of 5,249 ft (1,600m) — which is significantly higher than, for example, Niseko at only 3,937ft (1,200m) — the resort provides access to a skiable area of approximately 1.2 miles (2 km) on four beginner runs and two advanced runs. The Gassan resort is serviced by one chair lift and three surface lifts. Skiers can relish the unique experience of skiing on Japan’s third-highest mountain, Gassan, which reaches an altitude of 6,509ft (1,984m) while immersing themselves in the region’s rich cultural heritage. Why not visit in May and combine your ski trip with seeing Japan’s famous cherry blossoms blooming?
Gassan opened on April 10, 2023, this season and will likely stay open until the end of July, depending on snow conditions.
These summer-only ski resorts showcase the versatility of the sport, inviting enthusiasts to embrace the thrill of skiing even in the warmest months. Whether carving through the Italian Alps or exploring the fjords of Norway, these unique destinations offer an extraordinary blend of natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping adventures.
Please note that resort statistics and information are subject to change, and it is advisable to visit the respective resort websites for the most up-to-date details on facilities and offerings.