Best of: Ski resorts for spring skiing
BY - Tim Latimer, 21 January 2022, ARTICLES
BY - Tim Latimer, 21 January 2022, ARTICLES
Spring starts to make its appearance in March, and with that our thoughts often turn to summer. But don’t forget that there is still great skiing to be had in Europe around Easter, often well into April and sometimes May as well. And with many luxury ski chalets offering fantastic reductions and special offers we think there is no better time to head to the mountains. Some ski resorts better than others for spring skiing, so we
Skiing later in the season has many benefits, notably the weather. You’ll definitely be in need of your sunglasses and sun cream, and you won’t have to worry so much about getting cold. With the warmer weather you’ll be able to enjoy lunches outside, either on a restaurant terrace or a picnic with a view. You’ll also be able to enjoy an al fresco après-ski drink without the fear of getting chilly, and you should be able to boast a tanned face when you return home. It tends to be much quieter on the slopes, and in turn cheaper, making it an all-round good option for a ski holiday.
While the snow might be melting lower down the valley, it may give you the opportunity to combine your ski holiday with some other non-skiing activities such as climbing. The Dolomites are renowned for excellent climbing opportunities and is a great place to ski, or alternatively test out the Via Ferrata and climbing in St Jean d’Aulps when staying in Morzine.
Also, as the days become longer and the sun begins to shine, many mountain-based festivals start to rear their heads. Rock the Pistes in the Portes du Soleil region is mid March or why not try the Adventure Film Festival or Yoga Festival in Val d’Isère, both in April.
As it does tend to be warmer in March and April towards the end of the ski season, higher altitude resorts are your best option for snow coverage, and those resorts with glaciers are the most reliable.
Read on for our top picks for the best ski resorts for spring skiing.
Home to the iconic Matterhorn and many luxury ski chalets, Zermatt is where you’re likely to find some of the best late season snow in Europe. The ski area is open 365 days a year (366 on a leap year!) due to the glacier. The ski area is high, with much of the skiing above 2,500m and the peak at 3,899m, which means that it tends to be colder than other resorts and the snow lasts longer. You’ll normally still be able to ski into neighbouring Cervinia, on the Italian side of the Matterhorn, into May and it’s even staying open for the first 3 weekends in May 2016.
For on piste dining with sun-worshipping opportunities, try Vis-a-Vis at the Gornergrat Hotel, which has an expansive terrace overlooking the Monte Rosa area, perfect to soak up some spring rays. Or perhaps head to Fluhalp, which hosts live music on its terrace through February and March and has great views of the Matterhorn. For some non-ski spring fun, you could try the Forest Fun Park with zip wires and a treetop rope courses.
Known as one of Europe’s highest ski areas, Tignes is home to the Grand Motte glacier, making skiing possible in the autumn, spring and summer as well as the winter season, which runs officially until early May. The cable car takes you to the lofty heights of 3,450m on the glacier, meaning that it stays colder for longer. With great summer activities, such as mountain biking, water balling, golf, white water rafting, hiking and climbing to name a few, you can combine these with some spring or summer skiing for an adrenalin and activity-filled ski holiday.
There are many fantastic restaurants in Tignes for you to enjoy when your private chef isn’t spoiling you at your luxury ski chalet. Many are clustered around the bottom of the funicular with outdoor spaces for a sunny lunch or an après-ski drink. Or on the pistes, La Soli offers great mountain fayre with a spectacular terrace, and Le Panoramic offers a gastronomic feast and lives up to its name sitting atop the glacier. With a gourmet restaurant, self-service restaurant and large terrace covered with deck chairs, Le Panoramic caters for everyone.
Tignes links over to its sister resort of Val d’Isère to create the Espace Killy ski area. Whilst not home to a glacier, with pistes reaching 2,900m and plenty of north-facing slopes, the ski area is a reliable choice for spring skiing. Open until the beginning of May, the links with Tignes mean that you have 300km of pistes to explore well past Easter. And you can combine it with the Adventure Film Festival, or Yoga Festival, which are both hosted in the town in April. Many luxury ski chalets will offer amazing price reductions for April, making it a fantastic time to visit Val d’Isere.
Folie Douce, at the top of the La Daille cable car in Val d’Isère, brings the party atmosphere of Ibiza to the mountains and is open until 5pm every day with a variety of live music acts. The outdoor terrace is the perfect place to end your day skiing and soak up some of the spring sunshine. It also serves food through the day for some al fresco dining, or try L’Edelweiss off the blue Magnard piste, which has a terrace with excellent mountain views.
Courchevel 1850 has made a name for itself as one of the most glamorous ski resorts, and the runway for private jets and helipads hints at the luxury experiences on offer here. With its position within Les Trois Vallées, there’s more than 600km of pisted skiing to keep you busy long past Easter. Courchevel 1850 itself is open until late April.
Courchevel is home to some superior luxury dining experiences, and with terraces galore, this is the perfect place for an indulgent spring skiing holiday. Bel Air at the top of the lift from Moriond has a tiered terrace offering views across the mountains and the opportunity to soak up the spring sunshine. Les Caves des Creux is another great option, offering great views of Mont Blanc and warm afternoon sunshine from the south-facing terrace.
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