If you haven’t been skiing yet this year, or want to go again, have you considered skiing in the spring?
This year’s Easter school holidays are later than normal with Easter Sunday falling on 21st April just about as late as Easter can be. Skiers in the know, will still find great skiing even this late in Spring.
We asked Angus Kinloch the MD of the on-line skiers travel agency skiline.co.uk to put together his recommended ski resorts for spring skiing.
“I can never understand why the demand for skiing holidays in January is higher than demand in the spring. In spring, when the days are longer, the slopes are quieter, it’s possible to enjoy long, leisurely lunches on sun-soaked mountain restaurant terraces and there is still a very good chance of a powder day”. Says Kinloch.
In no particular order, here are Angus’s recommendations for skiing in Spring.
A perfect choice for spring skiing for all level of skiers and boarders, except advanced skiers. Cervinia is located at 2050m with 90% of the runs above 2000m. Cervinia is linked to the glacial Swiss mega ski resort of Zermatt. Cervinia’s skiing is on a west facing bowl on the southern side of the Matterhorn mountain, its skiing is easier than Zermatt’s, wide cruising runs offer 360km of pistes. The highest slopes reach 3550m with a 5-mile-long red runs from the top to village below.
Where to stay, Club Med Cervinia offer great value all-inclusive skiing holidays, which include, ski passes, skiing lessons, ski guiding, all meals including lunch, which in Cervinia can be booked in Club Med’s own mountain restaurant.
If excellent snow could ever be guaranteed in spring, it is here in Obergurgl, a great choice for all levels of skiers and snowboarders except again advanced levels, who would find the challenges limited. Obergurgl is located at 1930m with a ski range between 1795m and 3080m which include skiing on the Ötztal glacier. Obergurgl is a great choice for intermediate skiers and total beginners but not recommended by us for experts, go elsewhere!
The Apes ski scene in Obergurgl is lively and great fun.
Where to stay, a popular choice and a rarity outside of France is a catered chalet, chalet Angela, it sleeps 8 in comfort and is located right on the piste
Val d’Isere, France
Val d’Isere is probably our most popular ski resort for spring skiing, with glaciers where the snow is still good even in July. Val d’Isere is where we are hosting our end of season ski trip this winter. Its high, snow sure and has some excellent après. Val d’Isere is popular with all levels of skiers, especially skiers looking to venture off piste as it has some of the best lift severed off piste skiing anywhere. Linked with Tignes, Val d’Isere forms part of the Espace Killy ski area, covering 300km of piste + plus probably the same again with off piste skiing added. The après ski scene in Val d’Isere in spring time is full on, ski bars such as the legendry Folie Douce bar get skiers dancing on the bar in ski boots!
For a wicked day off piste, book a guide and do the Tarentaise tours, this full day skiing takes in 5 ski resorts, including Val d’Isere, Tignes, La Rosiere, Les Arcs, La Plagne and Saint Foy. Budget around €500 for four to include an instructor, transport, packed lunch. The tour departs at 9:00 and finishes at around 17:00 and covers about 70km in a day, so you need to be fit. We booked with Oxegene ski school and loved it!
Where to stay, catered ski chalets are king in Val d’Isere, we offer over 150. Club Med is another popular choice, the all-inclusive price includes everything but ski rental and travel insurance, you really can leave your credit cards at home.
If it’s raining up to 1800m, in Tignes, that means fresh snow! Tignes is one of Europe’s highest glacial ski resorts, at 2100m with links to Val d’Isere the ski area offers 300km of high-altitude skiing and is a great choice for spring skiing.
The obvious place to head for in spring is the La Grande Motte, Tignes Glacier at 3455m you can ski here in the summer. But don’t feel you have to climb to reach the best snow, drop down to Les Brevieres, Tignes lowest village at 1550m on long tree-shaded runs, black, reds or blues. A great venue for an inexpensive lunch and often deserted in April.
Where to stay, the choices of catered ski chalets are vast but some of the tour operator chalet hotels represent great value for money. We especially like the chalet hotel L’Ecrin and Club Med’s popular resort in Tignes is also hugely popular, its all-inclusive packages add value, particularly for families.
Val Thorens, France
The height of a ski resort in spring is essential if you are to have enough good snow, so picking the highest ski resort in Europe you won’t go wrong. Not only Europe’s highest but Val Thorens is in also the world’s biggest linked ski area. The Three Valleys or Les Trois Vallées, covers 600km of piste. The ski area is 21km across from Courchevel across to the Belleville valley where Val Thorens is located and offers more skiing than could possibly be completed within a week, although plenty claim to do it.
In spring you can get away with the local ski area pass, but why limit your choices you’re skiing the Three Valleys, make the most of it.
Val Thorens is another ski resort with a Folie Douce après ski bar, it’s a popular draw for skiers booking April skiing.
Where to stay, our most popular hotel is Club Med Sensations, this slope side ski in ski out hotel, ticks all the boxes. Its all-inclusive nature means it will probably come in under budget too.
Top Tips for getting the most out of Spring skiing
- Apply and re-apply sun block, don’t forget your ears, especially to children
- Book ahead to reserve the best mountain restaurants
- Sunglasses are essential
- Wear a helmet, it will protect you from the sun and falls
- Carry drinking water, the combination of altitude and warmth from the sun is thirsty work
- Spring is a great time to discover off piste areas but always book a professional guide
- Be prepared for extreme changes to the weather in spring, pack warm layers, just in case
- Check the avalanche risk and avoid skiing off piste when the risk is high.
- Pack a pair of Drysure Extreme boot dryers - perfect fro drying out wet, sweaty ski boots
Skiline.co.uk is an ABTA travel agency specialising in winter sports holidays. Trading for 24 years the company has built up a reliable reputation. Reaching the final three ski agents in the World ski awards in 2018 and 2016 and winners of the Daily Telegraph ski agent of the year. Visit www.skiline.co.uk for more.