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The wide open slopes of Zermatt-Matterhorn's glacial skiing.MICHAEL PORTANN

In the West, skiers enjoyed terrific late-spring conditions, with powder dumps landing in the Rockies as late as mid-May. This spring, there was no need to wait for the glorious sugary, corn-snow conditions to materialize or schuss through snow as mushy as mashed potatoes.

But even as most resorts pivot to mountain biking guests, some skiers and snowboarders just can’t bear to hang up their gear. Especially when the southern hemisphere finally opens to international travellers and winter snowfall is accumulating.

“I put away my flip flops [and] I pack my ski boots,” Squamish resident Jill Dunnigan said. “It just feels so wrong that it’s right.”

She runs a ski guide business in Whistler but still longs to immerse herself in another country’s culture and ski scene during the off season. One August she fell in love with everything else Argentina has to offer before working on her goggle tan. “[We explored] Buenos Aires, which is called the Paris of South America. We loved the food, the wine, it was just amazing from that perspective.”

Depending on just how far powderhounds want to travel, glacier skiing is possible all summer in the U.S. and Europe, while snow dumps in Australia and Argentina have meant some southern hemisphere resorts opened earlier than usual.

NORTH AMERICA

Whistler, B.C.

Sign up for ski camp at Whistler's Horstman Glacier.Meghan LaHatte

How do you feel about summer camp? Canada’s only glacier skiing is on Blackcomb Peak but both adults and children need to book a week’s stay at Momentum Camps. (In an effort to protect Horstman Glacier, the public can no longer just head up for a couple of laps with their Epic Pass.) Owners Julia Smart and her husband, John, hire elite athletes as coaches and are happy to reopen after two years of COVID-19 closures. “It’s just so beautiful being up on the top of the mountain in the middle of summertime,” Smart said. “With the cold spring, lots of snowfall in the winter, we’re in good shape again. There’s still life in the summer ski business.”

Where to stay: Our tip: book a hotel or condo close to the Blackcomb Gondola, the main lift to reach the glacier.

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Snowboarding at Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood.Handout

High up Mount Hood, Palmer Glacier offers skiers a vertical drop of about 797 metres. At Timberline resort, a high-speed lift runs until late August/early September. Ski in the morning, then spend the afternoon biking or kayaking or playing golf.

Where to stay: Looking to ski and golf in the same day? Book a room and an afternoon tee time at the Mt. Hood Oregon Resort in nearby Welches, Ore. Or find a condo or lodge at the base of the mountain in the Government Camp community (called “Guvy” by the locals).

EUROPE

Zermatt, Switzerland

Iconic views of the Matterhorn make for an unforgettable ski day in Zermatt.Handout

Year-round skiing, killer views of the Toblerone mountain and all the fondue you can eat, what’s not to love about the Zermatt-Matterhorn ski area? Early morning runs on the Theodul Glacier offer the best conditions and the slope closes at noon to reset for the next day. And the slopes of Zermatt-Matterhorn are also part of the Ikon pass.

Where to stay: The 2018 overhaul to the Hotel Schweizerhof has given this historic hotel a welcoming, alpine-chic vibe. Bonus: it’s right near the train station, which is the only way to enter this car-free town.

Or stay in the centre of town at the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, open all summer for the first time. They’ll even send a horse and buggy to the train station if you prefer.

Austria

In the Tyrol region, the Hintertux Glacier – about a 75-minute drive from Innsbruck – offers 365 days of skiing. In summertime, 10 lifts service up to 20 kilometres of slopes with the longest run a scenic two kilometres.

Where to stay: Find the four-star Hotel Neuhintertux at the base of the mountain, right across from the first of three lifts needed to reach the glacier. Its on-site rental shop is very convenient. Also, about a 30-minute drive from the base, there are lots of options in Mayrhofen, a larger town with a livelier après scene.

France

Three glaciers opened early this year to both ski racers and recreational skiers. In the Southern Alps, about two hours south of Lyon, Les 2 Alpes has the largest and highest glacier in Europe open every morning until mid-August. There are more than 200 acres of skiable terrain and a freestyle park. In Tignes, another high-altitude resort closer to the Italian border, skiers can explore 20 kilometres of runs on its Grande Motte Glacier until the end of July. Ride up atop the gondola’s rooftop lookout for even better views. The summer skiing at nearby Val d’Isère is in full swing with just two summer lifts rising to the Pisaillas Glacier. Closes July 10.

Where to stay: Look for a condo or hotel in Le Crêt, Val d’Isere. This traditional village within the ski area is atmospheric, quieter and home to many high-end accommodations.

SOUTH AMERICA

Argentina

The bonus for eastern skiers heading into Argentina is the ease of slipping into a similar time zone. At Las Lenas resort, the higher altitude can mean drier snow than at resorts found in the Patagonia region. The highest peak is 3,430 metres and the season runs until September. Many skiers, however, prefer to worship at Cerro Catedral, named for the gothic churchlike spires of the surrounding mountains. It’s further south and closer to the coast with terrain best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers.

Where to stay: On-mountain apartments and ski in/ski out hotels are your best bet at Las Lenas. Visit the resort website for details. Those heading to Cerro Catedral can stay in the more developed town of Bariloche or in the ski resort’s well-developed village at the base.

Chile

Portillo, about 150 kilometres northeast of Santiago, is one of those bucket-list ski trips; it’s a destination good for families and big mountain risk-takers who like to rub shoulders with the international teams that train here, too. Ski 500 hectares of inbound terrain with lots more available for those who don’t mind boot packing into more interesting runs.

Where to stay: There’s no village or town, just one big historic yellow hotel surrounded by the Andes. Hotel Portillo’s outdoor heated pools and hot tubs make mingling and chatting about your ski day with other guests that much easier.

NEW ZEALAND

South Island

Coronet Peak in Queenstown, New Zealand.Neil Kerr

Advanced skiers love the powder and backcountry experience of Craigieburn in the South Island, a 1.5 hour drive from Christchurch. With no lifts or rental shops, this is where the international ski bums live their best life. More luxurious resorts and amenities can be found closer to Queenstown. Coronet Peak is just a 20-minute drive away. And if your heart is set on glacier skiing, Mount Cook’s Tasman Glacier is the country’s biggest and offers easier runs with heli-ski access.

Where to stay: The Grasmere Lodge, located in the Southern Alps, is a 25-minute drive from six ski resorts, including Craigieburn. Farther south, the Hermitage offers a variety of sleepover options – hotel, lodge, villa and motel – all within the Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park.

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