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Where to ski in the Alps in October

by Fraser Wilkin, 1 October 2016

It is difficult to generalise about what conditions you are likely to encounter in the Alps in October. In a typical year there will already have been one or two high altitude snowfalls - enough to freshen up the glaciers, but still some way short of generating any serious excitement.

 

Even if it does snow lower down, it nearly always all melts - so don’t expect much, if any, non-glacial action before the end of the month. It can happen of course - in 2007, Schladming (Austria) managed to fire up its lifts as early as 26 October, but this is very much the exception rather than the rule.

So what’s the situation as we approach October 2016?

Followers of weathertoski will know that this year the Alps have experienced a very warm late summer, which has left many of the glaciers looking rather threadbare. Since then there have been some high altitude snowfalls - enough to freshen things up on the glaciers, but far from being able to be described as the first 'major dumps' of the autumn.

 

This weekend there will also be further light or moderate snowfalls, heaviest in the eastern Alps which will help the Austrian glaciers increase the amount of skiable terrain on offer. However, snow depths on all the Alpine glaciers have some catching up to do before they can be considered 'normal' for the time of year.

France

In France , Tignes is the first ski resort to open for glacier skiing on the Grande Motte today (1 October 2016). It will be followed by Les 2 Alpes (for Half Term only) from 22 October to 1 November 2016.

La Grande Motte glacier, Tignes, France - 30 September 2016 The Grande Motte glacier on the eve of its autumn opening - Photo: tignes.net, 30.09.2016

Austria

In Austria, six out of the seven glacier areas are operational. Hintertux currently offers by far the most extensive terrain, with 14 lifts serving 27km of pistes.

 

You can also ski throughout October on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun, the Mölltal, Pitztal, Kaunertal, Rettenbach (Sölden) and Stubai glaciers, albeit in a very limited capacity.

 

The Dachstein glacier is scheduled to open when conditions permit.

Hintertux, Austria - Photo: facebook.com/Hintertux.Glacier New snow is expected on the Hintertux glacier this weekend - Photo: facebook.com/Hintertux. Glacier, 30.09.2016

Switzerland

In Switzerland, you can currently ski (weather permitting) on the glaciers above Saas-Fee and Zermatt.

 

The next scheduled opening is the Titlis glacier above Engelberg on 8 October 2016, but this is still provisional, so watch this space...

 

The Diavolezza (near St Moritz) is then due to open on 22 October 2016, followed by Glacier 3000 (near Les Diablerets) on 29 October 2016.

Italy

In Italy, you can ski on the glaciers at Val Senales and Passo Stelvio.

 

Cervinia will open for skiing the weekend of 22-23 October 2016, and then full time from 29 October 2016.