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By August 2011, only seven ski areas in Europe were still offering liftserved skiing (FirstTracksOnline News).

Tignes, France
Les Deux Alpes, France
Zermatt, Switzerland
Saas-Fee, Switzerland
Passo dello Stelvio, Italy
Hintertux, Austria (August and September)
– Mölltaler Gletscher, Austria

euro-summer-ski

I wasn’t in Europe to ski, but I was going to ski in Europe. I had hoped going on our last Summer in Europe back in 1998, but a record heat wave and a freak accident prevented me from doing so.

This time, 13 years later, I was going to cross off the months August and September in my ski streak. Then it occurred to me, wouldn’t be interesting to make a comparison between each ski areas still activate within the same time period. It didn’t start that way, but as time the weeks passed by, it became a goal. The fact that I probably not return to do a summer tour of European glaciers made it even more appealing. Visiting them side-by-side in the same time period at the closing of the Summer season and give me a better ideas of what Europe got to offer to skiers in the late Summer months.

Only Zermatt and Hintertux are open year-round while the others shutdown once the Summer comes to an end: some of them for a few weeks, while Passo dello Stelvio is only open in Summer.

This is a list of different aspect of each summer ski areas. I don’t like to talk about “Best of” lists, but the following is more according to my opinions, thus the reason why I call it “Favorites”. For many of them, the actual summer terrain was greater than what was left at the end of the season. The following only reflected of what was left.

Favorite park : Les Deux Alpes
Favorite terrain : Hintertux
Favorite winter quality snow : Zermatt
Favorite off-the-beaten track : Passo dello Stelvio
Favorite place : Saas-Fee
Favorite place in France : Tignes
Most expensive : Zermatt
Biggest vertical : Hintertux
Highest altitude (summit and base of skiing) : Zermatt
Lowest altitude (summit and base of skiing) : Hinterux
Favorite on mountain food : Hintertux
Favorite beer selection : Hintertux
Favorite view : Zermatt, Tignes and Saas-Fee
Favorite sick road : Passo dello Stelvio
Less favorite steeps (or lack of) : Les Deux Alpes
Favorite steeps : Hintertux
Favorite Day conditions during my visit : Passo dello Stelvio
Favorite place to have fun : Saas-Fee (2nd in parks, good terrain and off-the-beaten track).

The only ski area I didn’t to visit that was still open was Mölltaler Gletscher in Austria. As I mentioned to my wife, I was probably not going to repeat a European Summer Ski Safari as the cost was much more expensive than a trip to South America, but it was fun to do. I would have loved to make to Mölltaler, but I was running out of energy and cash after almost 6 weeks in Europe; 3 of them in the Alps. At 85.7%, it’s a good sample of the mission into what late summer skiing in Europe has to offer.

Click on the specific links or image to access the seven original Ski Mad World posts.

Cham, Genève et Tignes turns August, FR – 11-13 août 2011

13 août 2011: Glacier de la Grande Motte, Tignes

See La Meije and Ski Les Deux Alpes: 20-21 août 2011

Zermatt CH : August 24, 2011 – Classic!!!

Saas-Fee CH : August 25, 2011 – Between Zermatt and Zürich

Passo dello Stelvio / Stilfserjoch IT : August 28, 2011 – Sci estivo

Hintertux, AUT : August 29, 2011 – Austria’s turns

Hintertux, AUT : September 1, 2011 – last turns and days in Europe

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Termas and Las Trancas : September 1-5 : part 2

Posted : Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:13 pm

September 4 – We are finally going skiing 🙂

OH YEAH!!!! \:D/ \:D/ \:D/

Snow in Las Trancas. Well, I believe we noticed that the previous night going to the SnowPub, although I don’t recall for sure. Maybe it was because of what we drank OR is it because I’m writing this TR over 9 months later? 🙄

So we are really stoked to finally go skiing. The ski area is only 7km away. As we exit town next to the shops we get stopped by locals that tell us in Spanish that we need chains and pointing to a sign at the side of the road next to the Police station. The locals are trying to get us to rent chains and are surrounding the car. Andy talks to them calmly and tell them that we’re okay. The locals don’t really understand us and inglès and we don’t really understand what they are saying. Brendan is freaking as the locals starts going towards the wheels to install the chains. After a few tense moments, Andy simply tell them that we’ll try getting to the hill and we’ll come back if we can’t. Not sure if the local understood us as we finally drove off.

The road was snow-covered and pretty muddy. We were okay as long as we had momentum…crap, cars in chains are pretty slow. After a few passes with wheels spinning and snow and mud flying, we get to the parking lot.

First up the slow double at the resort to the base. Wind is still pretty strong and the Dono Oto double is still close with two top t-bars. The triple is open with 7 minutes wait then off to the poma which has a cluster of skiers as a lineup similar to France. 😯 Yep, it’s the only top lift open and there is a bunch of ski teams on the Hill training for the next few days FIS races. After a 20 minutes wait, we’re off. 🙂 We did laps off the poma for the first three out of four runs. Great fun to start off the day. Also skied to the bottom of the triple twice in the morning.


Picture waiting in the poma line.


One of our first few runs, Pat not skiing on the map. Didn’t ski much on the trails today 🙂 (photo by Andy or Brendan)


Next run by Brendan (photo by Andy)

On the first of those longer off-piste runs in trackless terrain, both Powderquest guides show up and mentioned “I can’t believe we got snaked by Ontarians.” 😀

The snow was somewhat windblown, but surfaces were amazing. On our 6th runs and last before lunch we headed in between some trails on this massif terrain, ended trying to find the best way down. This run ended up in the woods, however the snow below was pretty wet and heavy. Pretty hard to ski.


Changing location and skiing our way away from the tracked stuff and about to snake the Powderquest guides.


Is this good Pat? (photo by Andy)


Pat says…OH YEAH!!! (photo by Andy)

As we are about to head back up the lower double, we saw the coaches from the previous day/night. Talked about the great stuff were skiing. They are having fun themselves, they’re letting they kids free ski instead of going gates on this beautiful day. It’s a beautiful day indeed.

As we eat lunch outside the lodge, we happen chat up the CASA guide and her one girl group. WTF??? I can’t believe that the other guy that was with her isn’t even skiing. Apparently he partied too much the night before. The day was Priceless and this guy is missing it while paying for a CASA tour. #-o

We run into the Canucks coaches again and eventually take them and their kids out-of-bounds with us. You should have seen their smiles, another priceless moments. That was reward enough. 😀


Lunch break. View of the mountains behind the lodge.


Pat, Andy and Brendan taking a break.

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Posted : Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:53 pm

Here are pictures from our last run.

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For our last run, we opted for another long run to the car. We got an extra lift higher up, although the higher lift was still closed. We climbed over the small ridge of rock in order to start our last run higher and access a nice 800 meter vertical mostly off-piste. (see graph)


Top t-bar still closed.


Andy and the terrain for our last run.


Where is Brendan? Yes, this place is huge.


It’s almost 5pm and Andy is skiing fresh tracks (photo by Brendan).


Still a long way down to reach the car below treeline. (Photo by Andy or Brendan).


Brendan’s turn (Photo by Andy).


Trail curves below treeline and the Resort base is in sight.

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Posted : Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:05 pm

What a day. \:D/

There is a certain in ski forum etiquette which prohibit me to post off-piste details on the internet. :mrgreen: Sorry folks. As you can see from our pictures and the map, we skied on a few limited lifts, but terrain wasn't limiting. Basic used the Poma (H) on every runs and the Triple (C) every few runs. It was definitely my best ski day in September, to date!!! 😈


Map with lifts used in purple. Basically last the other main lift were closed due to wind. T-Bar H opened in PM.


Suunto S6 log.

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Posted : Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:31 am

September 4: Après-ski or Drive 800km?

Our initial plan was to ski in Portillo tomorrow morning which is something like a short 800km away. We had a nonrefundable reservation for September 5-8 which included skiing, lodging and meals. But when you’re in South America (or elsewhere for that matter), you have to be flexible, especially that Termas had received 30cm of snow the previous day and Portillo hadn’t received any snow in 20 days. Hard choice, n’est pas? :-k

At the Chil’In, some other skiers walked in and arrived from Pucon, the place that Brendan was looking to go at. Found out that it’s was closed and they received mostly rain apparently. You cannot be stress when in South America, you just have to stay put and wait it out, because you never know and cannot guarantee what will happen. I guess it’s the TISA factor; This Is South America!!! This is one of the important lessons learned from the Powderquest guides staying at the Chil’In.

So what did we do? We started our Après-ski at the Chil’In and finished at the SnowPub down the street. OH YEAH !!! 😯 😯 😯 #-o

So good that we decided to ski here tomorrow regardless of our paid ticket in Portillo. This is too good. \:D/ \:D/ \:D/

As we walked in the SnowPub, we are greeted by a bunch of people we know, just like Norm on Cheers. Some of them were surprised that we’re still in town. We told, “f*ck Portillo, we are skiing here mañana.” 🙂

Canucks coaches were there at one table, banned TGR guy that isn’t SNR and friend skiing on BROs were there talking to the CASA lady guide and her girl client at another table. Don’t recall seeing the MRG skibum patrol.or the other CASA customer. As we shout at each other, we were all pretty much on a buzz from our awesome day. Coaches pay us back for bringing them and their kids off-piste. After a few beer, shooters and great discussions, we leave the smoky pub probably a bit late. The girl customer is totally wasted, coaches are probably going to have a rough day working on the hill, TGR guy shout out that he’s looking forward to read THIS TR!!! 😳 😳 Sorry man, life is busy, hope you like it?

It’s late in this story and now, I’m going to bed.

SEE YOU ON THE SLOPES TOMORROW!!!

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Posted : Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:34 pm

September 5: ski hard, party harder later, much later!!!

September 5th and it’s ain’t Portillo. Plan is to get to the mountain early, ski a few runs and then drive forever until we reach Portillo. Sounds fine, si?

Unfortunately the SnowPub nightlife conspired against some of us. 😕 That morning the Powderquests were talking to the Chil’In owner about their plan for a huge tour. We vacated the room and paid our tab for meals, lodging and maybe a few drinks. 😐

Once on the mountain, we parked at the lower parking and got on the lift at 10:30ish. No wind issues today, we didn’t notice any lift closure. Once at the second and main base of the mountain, the old double, Dono Oto IS OPEN!!! :drool:


Brendan and Andy are stoked: Doto is open!!!

We get on that old rustic lift; I wonder if this lift would be able to pass inspection and run in North America? Below us on the lower mountain, a FIS slalom race is taking place. As we climb higher away and passed the midstation, we’re getting excited with anticipation. We're going to be able to access part of type of terrain we were hitting yesterday but much higher and longer runs with one lift.


Girls getting ready to race that means less competition for the lift and terrain.


This is a long lift, 2.5km and 700m vertical gain.


Scenery from the lift.


Scenery looking up to the right.


View of the part of the ski area from the top of the old double.

In order to respect the ski forum etiquette, I’ll limit with words to only mention the spectacular scenery in front us, amazing natural wind grooming powder runs in untracked fresh snow every run, cliff and cornice dropping, truly amazing.

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Posted : Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:32 am

Tony Crocker wrote:

I wonder if this lift would be able to pass inspection and run in North America?

Powdr Corp would have no problem running it at Mt. Bachelor. 😆

Are you sure? 😉

Yep, that chair didn't have a backrest. I believe it was mine. :mrgreen: Seat and back rest are tiny metal sheet. People skiing a resort in the US wouldn't put up with a chair is this. Long and slow double. I love it. TISA factor again. I would be a shame if they would replace with a HSQ. As long is this place is off-radar, is going to be good (unless they isn't any snow).

Tony Crocker wrote:

These pictures were a bit better in conveying overall scale.

There are a few others coming. 8)

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Posted : Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:21 pm

In order to respect the ski forum etiquette, I’ll limit with words to only mention the spectacular scenery in front us, amazing natural wind grooming powder runs in untracked fresh snow every run, cliff and cornice dropping, truly amazing.

That doesn't mean I cannot post any pics from it. :drool:

Isn't there something about a picture is worth a 1000 words? 😉


Brendan and Pat wait for Andy to get set with camera. (Photo by Andy).

After waiting for Andy to set up, he missed the cornice dropped. ](*,)


Brendan skiing off somewhere. Andy is taking pictures lower down.


After the cornice, Brendan jump off the lip (Photo by Andy).


My turns…:-) (Photo by Andy).


Andy’s turns (Photo by Brendan).


Open spaces: Closing in on Andy or is it Brendan?


Not bad at all. I believe that is Brendan?

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Posted : Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:46 pm

We repeated this loop as much as we could with keeping in mind our drive to Portillo ahead. 😦 This repeat would include the cornice, we didn't miss capturing it (from two different angle) this time!!! :mrgreen:


Brendan dropping in with one of many volcanos in the background.


Brendan from Angle #2 (Photo by Andy).

As we’re skiing the [censored], we noticed our ski patrol/ski bum for the summer friend from Vermont. He was skinning up with his teles. We noticed that he had some issues yesterday with the lift attendant checking lift tickets. What he would do was skin up to the higher lift in order to bypass people checking for lift passes and ski free. Not only Free the Hell, Free the Ski!!! I guess that when there’s a crowd, the attendants crackdown on poachers. The true ultimate skibum living in a tent and paying the least possible. LONG LIVE VERMONT!!! I'll probably see you at MRG next winter (which I did). Mark Renson would probably know him. :mrgreen:


Fortune and MRG ski patrols.

After 4 runs in [censored], we bumped into the coaches. We decide to take the faster Triple-Poma combo and ski the long run back down to the resort and the car. We didn’t ski touch the upper t-bars as it was getting already pretty late for us.

It was 2:15 when we got to the bottom. We only did 5 runs, but what memorable runs. I stand corrected, THIS is my best lifetime September ski day. 🙂

Here are two more terrain pics for Tony. 😉


View from some on-piste terrain while riding Doto Oto.


A look to left at the top of the Doto Oto.


Riding legend: lifts in purple used on this last day.


Graph of the day.

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Posted : Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:23 pm

September 5: ski hard, party harder later, much later!!!

The long drive ahead…

We needed to get back our gear from the Hostal and drive 800km. Once we left Las Trancas at about 4pm, we made only two stops along the way: a grocery store in Chilean and restaurant on the side of the Trans American Highway in order to get something to eat in the car, I guess you can call it supper. 🙄 It’s amazing that a tiny restaurant in the middle of nowhere has wireless internet. Everything went according to plan, except getting lost as we passed Santiago. 🙄 We heard the road up to Portillo was crazy. I personally found the Valle Nevado much crazier, however people drive much faster including traitor-trailers. The highway is an international connection between Chile and Argentina, regardless of the steepness and the dangerous curves.

We got in Portillo at 12:30am and parked our go-kart next to a Porsche close to the hotel entrance. We find out that tonight’s is the Portillo staff party. Once we’re checked in, we move our stuff in the tiny room in the Inca Lodge. As we walk in, there are a bunch of girls that tell us to be “Quiet.” 😯 :-$ Trying to sleep around midnight at the Inca, what are they thinking? 🙄 Anyway, we head in to the party. Party in Chile really get started at 1am. Portillo is very different experience and vibe. I’m the first to stubble in my room pass 4am. I’m suppose to meet Tony, yes “the” Tony, in a few hours, around 10:30. Are we here to ski or party? Did I mentioned earlier in this TR that I’m too old for this. 😕 😳


Getting set to leave Las Trancas: Recreating the Chilean Roof rack.


On the road again in our tiny circus car. Note the rope of our roof rack inside the car. (Photo by Brendan).


Fancy cars at midnight next to Portillo Hotel entrance. Porsche and our ultimate ski car (Photo by Andy).

To be continued in Chilean Adventure (the novel- Part 3) Aug/Sep 07 – Portillo, eventually. Currently Part 3 is limited to the last 3 paragraph above and was never continued. In April 2012, the Chilean Adventure remains an unfinished novel. I plan to finish it at one point

Termas Chillán Ski & Spa Resort feature on Mad Attic

MadPat’s Gallery:
Setiembre 4-5 – Termas de Chillan

Part 1: Chilean Adventure (the novel) – 2 weeks in Aug/Sept 2007 – Part 1 – Santiago & Valle Nevado
Part 2A: Chilean Adventure (the novel) Aug/Sep 07 – Part 2a – El Colorado/LaParva
Part 2B: Chilean Adventure (the novel) Aug/Sep 07 – Part 2b – Termas 1

Originally started on Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:13 pm and on Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:23 pm on firsttracksonline

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Sunday September 03, 2006 2:01 pm

I haven’t skied in the last two days… what a difference temperature wise.

After our day of skiing a few days ago we drove a few hours (waiting in a traffic jam in Portland) to Florence on Central Oregon Coast: beautiful beaches with cold water. Sea Lion in Caves, in the harbour in Newport and at the Aquarium. A beautiful drive North along the Pacific Ocean. Our vacation is finishing where it started: Portland, Oregon. Almost two-weeks since we landed and spent the first week in the State of Washington, we were nearing the end of our trip.

Here are some pictures from the skiing interlude.


Tara running to join her sister and mom on the beach at the Dunes NP


Coast north of Florence


Newport Harbour


Surfers at Neahkalnie Beach


Tourists at Neahkalnie Beach

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September 3-4:

On these two September days, I parted with the rest of the family to get my September turns and the last turns lift-serviced turns in North American for the 2005-06 ski season. The family visited the Children’s Museum and the Zoo. I would be back in the late afternoon and did some local sightseeing in the neighbourhood. Very pleasant.

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Here is a quick summary of the skiing part; August and September: First Three Days at Timberline

Aug 29 – 48F at 7am and very windy. Bright and sunny until the clouds moved in at around noon. Surfaces softened up at around 10am.

Aug 30 – 33F at 7am. Lifts aren’t running. Rain and snow. There was about a one inch accumulation on our rental car at Timberline Lodge. It never warmed up.

Aug 31 – 40F at 7am. Packed powder (okay, it’s a slight exaggeration), but it wasn’t the hard icy surfaces of the previous ski day. Everything softened up at around 9am. My daughter joined me at 10am for turns until closing. No wind and temps increase fast. Nice sunny day. It was getting pretty sticking at around noon.

Two days off to the coast as mentioned above.

Sept 3 – 61F at 8am. Summer is back, no hard surfaces to be found at 8am. A few Rock Islands are popping out toward the bottom of the Palmer Snowfield. I am toasted. Now I have to drive back to Portland and we’ll do this again tomorrow on Monday; Labour Day. Getting back East on Wednesday.

Sept 4 – Last day of the 2005-06 season.

A few folks were out on this last day of the season. After today Timberline is open only on weekends until Winter returns. After skiing on closing day at Tremblant on April 17, Sugarbush on April 30, Mammoth on July 4…September 4 at Timberline is definitely is the last closing day of the season. Today was the 61th Day since that October opening day at Wildcat, beating my personal best season by over 11 days. It also marked the end of my 12 wonderful month ski season that included 3 trips out West.

Here are some pictures from that last day.


Early morning drive


Mt. Hood in the morning as seen from the road.


Palmer as seen from top of Magic Mile


Most racers are back home or elsewhere


Palmer snowfield and the rock island popping up at the bottom.


Midstation at the bottom of the snowfield. Rock island to negotiate.


Above lift turns


This is the end…of the snow and the season.


Goodbye Mt. Hood. The picture is hazy because of the forest fires on the east side of the mountain.


End of our last day on vacation. Goodbye Portland, Oregon, it’s been fun two weeks in the PNW 🙂

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Response to questions answered on Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:03 pm

ChrisC wrote:

The Palmer Lift is about 1500 vert (7000 to 8500 according trail map).

I would estimate the midstation is at about 7500 – 7600 giving the snowfield almost 1000

I checked back at the data from my watch.

Here is what I found:

Palmer top-half: 713 vertical ft (snowfield and steeper part)
Palmer bottom-half: 726 vft (snowfield tongue(?) in gully – flatter)
Ski run pass Palmer during the last week of the season: 792vft
Hike from end of snow to bottom of Magic Mile: 162vft

ChrisC wrote:

The snowfield is definitely the steepest and most interesting part of the mountain. Maybe similar in pitch to the Chair 3/FaceLift (?) at Mammoth. Possibly less so. It’s not a steep place. More like high intermediate than low expert pitch in my opinion.

I totally agree with Chris, I even think that Chair 3 is probably slightly steeper at it’s steepest place than Palmer. Pitch grade from Palmer snowfield is very constant. As I mentioned in one of my report, Morgane was laughing when I told her that was a black run…she answered back that it’s should be a green one. Mind you, she’s was only 8 and has a hard time noticing how steep runs are.

Tony Crocker wrote:

Second to last pic is bottom of Palmer, right? With Magic Mile chair overhead and its unloading station just out of the picture to the upper right?

My impression is that quite a bit more variety was there during Frank’s trip a month earlier.

No, picture is the Palmer midstation. The picture that you posted in the FTO thread (and my third picture) is bottom of the Palmer lift.

Rock island look bigger than they were (the one with midstation). It was the worst area on the snowfield, it was really the last few turns on skier’s right that had rock island issues. 95% of the rest of the snowfield was more or less intact.

Tony Crocker wrote:

My impression is that quite a bit more variety was there during Frank’s trip a month earlier.

It was my understanding that not much of the coverage changed in one month, however I’m sure that the rocks were probably not popping out at the bottom of the snowfield (mid). That only really started in the last week of August. Frank could probably answer this more than I can, but it was my understanding that he had a skier right option on the left side of the lift. The bottom of the run was skiable and wide open, however it was sheltered from view and I couldn’t see where it started. There might have been only a small walk required at the top to make to the snow and ski all the way down to the bottom of the Palmer lift.

MadPat’s Gallery :
September 4, 2006 : Timberline – Mt.Hood

Originally posted on Sun Sep 03, 2006 2:01pm on firsttracksonline

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