There are around half-a-dozen ski areas in Europe, Asia and North America that operate to a different season schedule than the thousands of others which typically open in late autumn and close in early spring.

There are in fact seven – nearly half of them in Norway – in locations that are so dark, cold or simply “snowed in” in winter that they aren’t really viable ski destinations until the springtime. At that point though, in a normal spring (in some cases summer and autumn too), they’re ready to provide great conditions when 99.5% of other northern hemisphere ski areas have closed for the season.

Norway’s Fonna ski area (pictured below prepping) is aiming to open from May 8th, Galdhoppigen ski area (pictured top this month) on May 13th and Stryn a fortnight later on the 27th.

Italy’s Passo Stelvio opens for a six-month season when the Stelvio Pass is cleared, and usually the giro d’Italia cycle race passes by. This year it hopes to open at the every end of May, but that relies on italian ski areas being allowed to reopen for the first time in six months.

North America’s only summer only ski area, Beartooth Basin on the Montana/Wyoming border, plans to open on the 28th and then be open daily from 9am – 3pm daily.

Japan’s only summer-ski destination and the only centre likely to be open in the country after May 8th, Gassan, opened for its 2021 season, expected to last until July, a fortnight ago. It has the world’s deepest reported snowpack of 10 metres (400 inches) up high, 4 metres (160 inches) down at the base

The other member of the group, Sweden’s Riksgransen (pictured above), believed to be the only ski area that stayed open through the first pandemic lockdowns last spring, has also already opened again at the start of spring and will close in late-May. It usually offers its signature skiing-under-the-midnight-sun in the final weeks of its season. It usuaslly re-opens for a final hurrah over midsummer in June too.