The Best Ski Resort For: summer skiing

Les 2 Alpes, France
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The Independent Travel

Although the big tour operators would have you believe there's no skiing to be had after Easter, several dozen resorts in the Alps do keep the lifts running to service the "eternal snow" on their local glaciers. There are also 100 other resorts to choose from in the southern hemisphere, as well as the world's 30 or so indoor year-round snowdomes, including our own at Milton Keynes and Tamworth.

Although the big tour operators would have you believe there's no skiing to be had after Easter, several dozen resorts in the Alps do keep the lifts running to service the "eternal snow" on their local glaciers. There are also 100 other resorts to choose from in the southern hemisphere, as well as the world's 30 or so indoor year-round snowdomes, including our own at Milton Keynes and Tamworth.

Other resorts have enough snow to last until June or July because of their altitude and abundant falls or latitude. These include Mammoth Mountain in California, Killington in Vermont and Riksgränsen in northern Sweden. The latter operates in 24-hour daylight under the midnight sun in late spring.

Some have blamed climate change for melting Europe's glaciers; resorts such as Verbier and St Moritz have given up their summer ski operations. Others, such as Tignes and Zermatt, no longer offer 365-day skiing but follow the normal summer ski-resort pattern of closing for a few months in May or June, then opening for 10 months from July. Plan in advance and check before departure.

You will usually need to be up at around 6am to take a long succession of cable cars up to the hard-packed, icy snow of the summer glacier. This rapidly thaws, so you'll get two hours of good skiing mid-morning before it turns to slush. You'll need lots of fluids and sunscreen, and should wear thermals for the start of the morning, then strip down to something much lighter by noon.

So where's best? Austria offers the most 365-day centres, including Sölden, Tux and Stubai. New lifts at Diablerets in Switzerland and above Alagna in Italy have greatly improved summer operations there, and Zermatt can claim the highest snow park in the world.

But I'd plump for Les 2 Alpes in France. There is an 800m vertical between 2800m and 3600m, and over 400 acres of skiable terrain. Up to 17 lifts are open from 7am to 3pm to get the best of the snow conditions, including the underground funicular Dome Express. There is a good variety of runs and a large terrain park where events, including snowboarding, are staged throughout the summer season.

For more information call 00 33 4 76 79 24 38 or visit www.les2alpes.com

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