Skiing in March and April is quite simply brilliant. The weather is better, the sun is stronger, the air is warmer and at higher altitude you have a whole season worth of snow as a base to ski on.
The days are longer too, so you have more time to ski and enjoy the fresh mountain air. The resorts are quieter, which means you have more space on the piste and less time spent waiting in lift queues. It also means that there are many great ski accommodation deals to be had as resorts look to sell their empty beds at low prices.
Spring is also a great time of year if you wish to supplement your skiing with other outdoor activities such as climbing, walking or snow shoeing.
The warmer weather can mean that the quality of snow isn’t quite as good as in mid-winter, but big snowfalls are actually quite common in March and April, and you often have a deeper snow base from a full winter’s worth of snowfall.
Off-piste skiing in spring is also something special. As the snow thaws out slightly during the day, and then refreezes at night, when the sun hits it the following day it forms a smooth sugary texture, which is great to ski on. The snow conditions will change throughout the day as the sun moves, so make sure you take a ski guide not only for safety, but also to take you the best spots at the right time of day.
FINDING THE RIGHT RESORT
Snow is the main consideration when booking a late season ski holiday – so you have to know where to find it! Look for the resorts that are at high altitude (aim for resorts where most of the skiing is over 2000 metres), preferably north facing or have glaciers and, therefore, guaranteed snow.
Also, keep a regular eye on snow reports and book last minute. Have a look for areas that have the best snow coverage. To maximise your chances of getting some late season powder, keep an eye on the snow forecast to see which resorts are expected to get fresh snow. There are a number of good ski websites to check the latest weather – here are a few we would recommend:
OUR TOP SIX SPRING SKI RESORTS
The main villages of Tignes lie at 2100m and the ski area stretches up to the snow sure height 3,400m were conditions can remain very good, particularly on the Grande Motte glacier.
Most of the ski area is open well into spring, and it’s common to have good snow on the runs back down into town, especially on the shaded ‘Lanches’ runs coming down from the glacier, saving you from having to jump into the Gondola to get back home, a common requirement elsewhere during late season.
Search for ski accommodation in Tignes.
2. Val d’Isere
Val d’Isere is one of France’s highest ski resorts (1800m-3400m) and offers many north-facing slopes, which make for good end of season snow conditions. Most of the runs on Solaise face North, including the Woman’s World Cup downhill run from the top of Solaise to the centre of Val d’Isere. The runs at Le Fornet are also generally north facing and are home to the lovely Pissaillas glacier, where the skiing is great in spring.
Lifts also remain open well into May. For those looking to do something other than ski all day, there is a fantastic walk from Le Fornet up to Pont St Charles.
© Office du Tourisme Val d'Isere / andyparant.com
Search for ski accommodation in Val d'Isere.
Depending on the snow cover you may not be able to ski back to the resort but Les Deux Alpes is home to Glacier de Mantel, one of Europe’s largest glaciers for skiing,so conditions up top can be excellent in Spring.
With over 300 days of skiing a year Les Deux Alpes is also one of the sunniest ski resorts in the Alps so is ideal for anyone looking for a bit of spring sunshine!
© Office de Tourisme Les 2 Alpes / Yoann Pesin
Search for ski accommodation in Les Deux Alpes.
4. Les Arcs
Linked to La Plagne under the Paradiski pass, there are numerous bases at 1600m, 1800m, 2000m and the excellent ‘Le Village’ at 1950m. The ski area stretches up to 3200m so a good proportion of it is over 2000m, providing good high altitude spring skiing conditions.
Search for ski accomodation in Les Arcs.
Argentiere is a small town near Chamonix located 1000m above sea level with the valley peaks stretching up to 3800m. Argentiere is lovely and warm in the spring, and provides access to the same skiing as Chamonix. You can also find cheaper accommodation deals there, as well as benefit from a more traditional, rustic atmosphere.
We’d also recommend a day ski trip to Vallorcine from Argentiere which is quiet and sunny in spring. Vallorcine can be reached by skiing from Le Tour, the ski area which starts just outside Argentiere. It’s a little lower in altitude but the runs are great and it’s ideal if you’re looking for a change of scenery.
© Monica Dalmasso
Search for ski accommodation in Argentiere.
6. Isola 2000
Why not combine a ski break with some Mediterranean sunshine? Only 90 minutes from Nice airport, Isola stands at a respectable 1800m and has lifts stretching up to 2600m, so it offers good spring skiing conditions. It gets good snowfall too, with an annual average of over 4m falling over the season.
The highest runs can be found on Cime de Sistron, which has a good mix of blue, red and black runs. Pack your swimming trunks / costume and a pair of skis.
Search for ski accommodation in Isola 2000.
7. Les Menuires
Set in the same valley as its better-known neighbour Val Thorens, Les Menuires is another high, snow-sure resort attached to an enormous ski area (the world’s biggest, actually).
The purpose-built resort is at the respectable height of 1850m, and has easy lift-links to Val Thorens where the lifts stretch up to 3400m. The mainly ski-in / ski-out resort also offers better value ski accommodation than it’s more famous neighbour, and has arguably better links to Meribel too.
© P. Royer / Office de Tourisme des Menuires
Search for ski accommodation in Les Menuires.
Taking place between the 31st of March and the 2nd of April, the Derby de la Meije is one of Europe’s biggest off-piste skiing races that runs all the way down to La Grave, an off-piste mecca accessible from Les Deux Alpes. Most importantly the event ends with a massive party!
Soak in the Sun at La Folie Douce
The Apres Ski Bar ‘La Folie Douce’ in Val d’Isere is at its best in spring. The large out-door terrace complete with resident DJs, live music and plenty of dancing catches all of the afternoon spring sunshine.
© La Folie Douce / Office du Tourisme Val d'Isere
Spring is arguably the best time of year for ski touring. Longer days, sunnier climbs, and nice spring snow all make for touring paradise. Being the off-piste mecca it is, Chamonix is a hot spot for ski touring, but you’ll need to hire a ski guide.
If you'd like to speak to a member of the Powderbeds team about late season skiing just call 0131 240 3300 or email [email protected]. We'd love to hear from you
Posted by Marcus Blunt on Friday 11 Dec 2015