Night Skiing- The Ultimate Guide
Did you know that you can ski at night? If you didn’t know or if this is an awesome surprise, let us tell you about what an incredible experience it is from Europe to Asia, to the US and beyond, night skiing around the world.
Now we love skiing and snowboarding in all the amazing forms it comes in, but something magical happens when the sun goes down, your other senses are heightened, you have to be fast, reactive, thinking about every move to ensure the best ride possible. But this challenge, this adrenaline is exactly what makes night skiing so unique. Some resorts you can even ride pow under floodlights, can insane would that be? That’s why we have put together an article to discover night skiing in a little more detail. From what to wear and where to go, plus much more.
What Makes Night Skiing Unique
Night skiing is one of the most exciting parts of skiing and snowboarding, nothing quite meets the excitement, even mountaineering, hiking or touring. But what exactly makes it so cool?
- It’s so much quieter, you won’t have to fight for the slopes. Not only is it more peaceful, its tranquillity, time in nature with your friends and family.
- Lift passes are cheaper. Let’s say you don’t make it to the resort until the afternoon, or you have been working all day, if you are buying a night skiing pass to get your fill of riding for the day, you will save a pretty penny!
- It’s cold, but the air tends to be drier, once the sun goes down, you have a bitter cold which ironically is easier to dress for. When the air is drier, you can layer up more efficiently.
Types of Night Skiing
Would you believe there are a few different types of night skiing? It can be as simple as taking the lift up and skiing down under cover of night, by the glistening floodlights but if you seek a more profound thrill, why not try the varieties of night skiing you can find at all four corners of the world.
Flood Lit Riding
This type of night skiing is perhaps what springs to mind. A lovely freshly groomed piste, illuminated by the floodlights. The pistes tend to be a bit icier when the sun sets, and the slushy snow freezes again, but ones the slopes ha been groomed, you can get excellent traction. This is the ideal time to try your euro curves and gain some speed. With the frosty air on your cheeks, it’s really magical.
Some would argue that the nordic nations are killing their urban riding game, undoubtedly you have seen them pull some ridiculous stunts for film clips. But urban riding is making the city your park. Finding rails, features, walls, well any surface covered in snow, building it and riding something totally new. If you find yourself in Svalbard or Helsinki this winter. . . Why not try it for yourself.
Powder Night Riding
This is the stuff of dreams! It’s possible in places in North American and Japan where the snow is dry and light. During the mid-winter when the snow is constant, once the crowd have dispersed and the snow continues to fall, you can ride, sometimes waist-deep powder at night. You also get free refills (when the snow covers your tacks again) so its virgin snow every time! Can you imagine?
This is a little more undisturbed, a little more wild. No artificial lights by streets lamps or by floodlights, this is simply, you and your friends, your touring gear and headlights. Usually setting out to hike a face to get first light and first descent once the sun comes up. Or perhaps you are planning an expedition, and you hike through the night to make it to the next stop. Equipment, planning and execution are critical here as this isn’t patrolled, this is wild!
What To Wear Night Skiing
But now the question is what to wear night skiing. We won’t cover the ski touring part but more the flood slit/powder skiing on the mountain. As touched on before, the air is drier at night, so it’s vital to dress for efficiently, to avoid bulk and allow movement and flexibility but ensure warmth and constant temps.
The base layer is the most crucial layer, it’s the layer that keeps you at a constant temperature and helps wick away moisture. Base layers should be natural fabrics, thin but super high tech. This way, when you start to put your physical movement to the test and begin perspiring, the cold nighttime air won’t get to you.
This layer needs to be cosy, the bitter night air may get through your softshell outer jacket, and the layer keeps all the warmth in. It can be a mid fleece layer, or a down jacket or both. But again think smart fabric, more layers won’t keep you as warm as good quality items will.
Outer Layer/ Trousers/Bottoms
Your outer ski jacket should be a highly wind and waterproof shell. It shouldn’t be bulky as you don’t want too much extra fabric hindering movement and agility. The main priorities are comfort, breathability, waterproof-ness (if that’s a word) and style. If you stick with a base layer and add on a durable ride-in hoody or a thinner shell jacket, you will be onto a winner. Same advice applies regarding comfort, breathability, waterpoof-ness and style for your ski pants.
But now we are jumping into all the stunning resorts in which you can experience night skiing. Starting off at home here in Europe, so let’s dive right in and explore. . .
Partenen, Montafon Austria
Night Skiing in Partenen is available every Monday and it’s well worth the experience. Offering the chance to ride the park at night at put your epic freestyle skills to the test as well as enjoying perfectly groomed piste skiing. Fun for all the family!
Night skiing in Alpbach quickly became a popular meet up for locals and tourists a like as soon as it was introduced. Ideal for families and friends, on gentle and well groomed slopes. A must try when you are in the area but not worth an exclusive trip.
Kühtai offers pretty stunning night skiing. The HochAlter 4-seater chairlift will take you up to the brightly-lit descent every Wednesday and Saturday from 7.30 – 10.00 p.m. You also have the Berghaus “Zum Kaiser Maximilian” which is open and the slopes are illuminated until 11.30 p.m. Finish it all off with a hot wine afterwards too.
Alpe d'Huez, France
Come and experience Alpe d’Huez and the thrill of night skiing on the Signal piste. Night skiing takes place every Thursday in winter and also on Tuesdays during school holidays. Best part is it’s free for all lift pass holders or only 11€ for a night skiing pass.
Serre Chevalier, France
“Under a starry sky and on beautiful floodlit slopes, nighttime skiing takes you to another dimension and is literally magical! This is a truly unique experience to enjoy with family or friends, as soon as the night falls, a great way to spend an evening.
Free activity.”- Serre Chevalier
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Here might be the best news yet, night skiing is widely available throughout the Les 3 Vallees, in Val Thorens/Les Menuires/Méribel/Courchevel. Its free on your lift pass so the extensive amount of terrain is there for you to explore. This also includes park skiing by night!
Fom January night skiing is available for all to enjoy in Bormio! Discover the sensations and mix of emotions of skiing under the stars on a wonderful groomed floodlit slope: a perfect ski run on the legendary Stelvio slope. When the lifts close, our expert snow makers get to work on the Stelvio slope so the conditions are dreamy. This way you get a dreamy experience of the once world cup run under the stars.
Theres pretty extensive skiing in Are, it’s over 8km of wonderfully looked after slopes. Plus, its open 5 days a week on your ski pass or available at a small extra cost. I’ts bitterly cold but the experience is stunning as you have the incredible night sky in northern Europe.
Oslo Vinterpark, Norway
Oslo Vinterpark night skiing may just be the best spot for park skiing by night. There have a truly epic terrain park during the day, so the chance to experience it at night is really unique. There is 8k of skiable terrain at night in total. The sunsets are beautiful, make sure you catch it.
There is a whopping 25km of skiable terrain at night in Levi. Finland is a really cool place with the northern lights and glittery night sky, how can one not want to see this. There is freestyle terrain as well as a variety of pistes which range from challenging to gentle.
Now we head over to the US to explore the night skiing over there. Mostly in the North and West, offering sick riding experiences.
Keystone Resort, CO
“Stop daydreaming of night skiing and come enjoy the longest ski day in all of Colorado. At Keystone, families can “ski late ‘til 8″ on multiple lighted trails during the weekends and peak holiday periods. It’s the perfect way to get in a few more laps. Besides, counting turns is way more fun than counting sheep.”- Keystone Resort
Sold! Shall we see you there guys?
Alyeska Resort, AK
Alyeska resort is one of the few spots where powder skiing at night is possible. Alyeska offers beautiful skiing conditions day and night with 325 acres of terrain available. The views are also next level!
Whitefish Mountain Resort, MT
It’s a well kept secret, but when those late-day storms blanket the resort, the night riding is all time, truly amazing. Whether you’re riding dreamy untracked powder after most of the lifts have closed, or lapping the terrain park with your pals, night skiing is an adventure for everyone. Whitefish is a perfect spot day and night, one of the best kept secrets of Montana!
Asia is home to some of the globes best night skiing. I mean we are very biased here, by far Niseko wins globally on the standard of the snow but that’s without even mentioning the cultural, gastronomical and natural wonders that wait! Discover night skiing in Asia.
Happo one, Japan
Happo ono one offers some and exciting skiing at night, Their slopes vary frm gentle blues to more challenging reds. Match that with the eic snow quality, you are bound to have an incredible experience. Another region of Japan, Hakuba which is home to wonderful powder skiing.
YongPyong Resort, Korea
With 14 chairlifts and one gondola covering a reasonable sized ski area, this is the leading ski resort in South Korea and offers a good variety of terrain.Snow on the slopes is largely dependent on snow making facilities and, although the temperatures stay cold enough throughout winter, there is very little natural snow precipitation. But this means the night skiing is reliable and offers consistant conditions. Plus, skiing in South Korea- Cool right?
Jundushan Ski Resort, China
Jundushan Ski Resort is only 34 kilometers from the city of Beijing, and it covers an area of about 1.3 square kilometers or about 330 acres. It is known as a fun spot close to Beijing where people can ski, snowboard, play with sleds, inner tubes and snowmobile. Night skiing capability covers most of the resort.
That guys is about it for now. Have you been on a night skiing adventure? Why don’t you tell us more about it and send us your pics? Or perhaps we haven’t mentioned your fave night skiing resort? Tell us all about it an we can add in your chosen resort. This is just a short round up of some of our selected places to ride but if course there are MANY MANY more that must be explored around Europe and North America.
Hey, I’m Angelica A Pro Freerider and content producer. I love to write about adventures, inspire people to get outside and discover. Lover of big mountain snowboarding, wine and dogs!