For those who wish to grab another few days on the slopes, or where job or financial restrictions negate skiing in high season, there is a lot to be said for choosing a last minute end of season week away from it all.
Slopes tend to be quieter, prices lower, and daylight hours longer, meaning ski lifts are operating later. The main criteria is choosing high altitude destinations, over 2000m, where snow remains crisp, and not ice in the mornings, and slush in the afternoons as is often the case at lower altitudes. Below are a few of the best resorts with good April snow.
Val Thorens, France:
As the highest resort in Europe, Val Thorens is part of the large Three Valleys ski area. With slopes from 2000m to over 3000m, good snow can be found right into early May. In fact so confident are the operators they offer a snow guarantee through the entire season.
Other activities available if you fancy a day off your skis are snow mountain biking or tandem paragliding.
St. Anton, Austria:
Another destination very popular with late season skiers in the know is St. Anton, situated in the Austrian Arlberg region. While the north facing slopes maintain good snow cover even in strong springtime sunshine, snow on the south facing slopes is often augmented by snow machines. None-the-less the resort provides some of the best free-riding opportunities in Europe and has a great reputation for its après-ski parties.
Ski-lift discounts are also available during early and end of season Snow Crystal Weeks.
Another Austrian resort, close to the Austrian/Swiss border, Ischgl is very popular with the more competent skiers. With the slopes rising high above the picturesque, no car village, the main lifts at 2250m, peak at 2900m. Piste conditions are usually good through April, and good off-piste skiing can be had with the help of the guides.
For those who really want to go up in the world Zermatt, just over the border in Switzerland, provides views of the famous Matterhorn. Lifts will take you to almost 4000m, and good snow skiing can be had through to early May. With glacier skiing throughout summer Zermatt is truly a year round skiing destination. With this Alpine town being car-free, accommodation is plentiful, restaurants good, and après-ski atmosphere awesome.
Saas Fee, Switzerland:
Another popular resort on the Swiss/Italian border, Saas Fee’s slopes range from 1800m up to 3500m, with plenty of snow for the late season skier. For those who wish it, glacier skiing is also available. Something not to be missed when visiting this resort is a meal in Switzerland’s highest restaurant. The revolving Drehrestaurant Allalin at Mittelallalin, provides stunning mountain views while you dine, and it is said you can see as far as Milan on a clear day.
Finally, Livigno is another high resort with runs up to 3000m and with an excellent snow record, usually up to early May. In the Italian Alps, Livigno is becoming increasingly popular due to its tax-free status, making food and drink excellent value when compared to other areas in Italy.
These are just a few of the many excellent resorts around Europe where good late season skiing can be enjoyed by all. As a pastime and sport, skiing has more than its fair share of accidents. To make the most of your holiday, wherever you go, ensure you have single trip travel insurance, all equipment is in good condition, and you take notice of advice from local guides and instructors.