It's not too late to hit the slopes - here's our pick of the best resorts for late-season skiing
It’s not time to say goodbye to the snow just yet. Although Easter arrives late this year, there are still plenty of resorts with excellent late-season skiing. In fact, skiing in April has many advantages, from shorter lift queues and longer lift opening times to cheaper lift passes and beautiful sunny days for topping up your tan. So to tempt you all back onto the slopes for one last adrenaline hit, here is our pick of the best resorts for late-season snow.
Zermatt, Switzerland - best for sunny days and stunning scenery
For the best snow quality late in the season you ideally want a ski resort with plenty of north-facing terrain above 2,500m. And with slopes stretching from 1,525m to 3,820m, Zermatt certainly delivers on this front. Linked with Italian resort Cervinia, you can skip from Switzerland to Italy and back again in a day whilst enjoying miles of long, cruising pistes - an intermediate's paradise.
Home to the highest cable car station in Europe, the resort has snow-sure slopes on Gornergrat and Rothorn until late April, but the Klein Matterhorn glacier area is open all year round. Don’t forget about the Zermatt Unplugged festival which this year runs from 10 - 14 April and includes some great acoustic acts - Tom Odell and James Bay are just some of the performers you can expect to see.
Saas Fee, Switzerland - best for beginners
Snow is pretty much guaranteed in this charming Swiss resort where most of the slopes are situated between 2,500m and 3,500m altitude. What is more, they are almost entirely north-facing and a decent proportion are located on glaciers.
The slopes are best suited to beginners and intermediates with the nursery slopes being among the most snow-sure in the Alps. There is very little sun here earlier in the season so actually, March and April are great months to visit. With thirteen 4,000m peaks surrounding the village, the setting is spectacular and is best admired from the world’s highest revolving restaurant where you can enjoy unbelievable views from every angle.
Val d’Isere, France - best for long runs
One of the safest bets for good snow cover late on in the season, Val d’Isere benefits from north-facing slopes and although the snow is usually reliable, has the largest artificial snowmaking facility in Europe. With about 60% of its 300km of pistes above 2,500m, as well as two glaciers, L’Espace Killy ski area is about as snow-sure as you can get when it comes to spring skiing.
In fact, there is year-round skiing on the Grande Motte glacier so the fun continues well into the summer months. The ski area is fantastic for all levels of skier and with a high point of 3,456m, you can enjoy some seriously long descents from top to bottom.
Chamonix, France - best for hard-core off piste
If you’re not quite ready to put the skis and boards away until next winter then Chamonix is just a hop, skip and jump from Geneva. Usually offering good snow conditions well into May, the Grand Montets ski area above Argentiere has one of the highest average snowfall figures in the whole of the Alps. The highest lift at Grands Montets reaches a staggering 3,297m yet Chamonix is also home to Europe’s highest cable car, taking you to the Aiguille du Midi at 3,842m. From here you can tackle high-altitude glacier runs such as the famous off-piste descent Vallée Blanche which are often at their best in April ( although a mountain guide is strongly recommended).
In addition to the challenging slopes there are plenty of opportunities to let your hair down. From 2 - 7 April, the resort comes alive with music as the Unlimited Festival comes to town. Then from 10 - 14 April, expect the unexpected at the Magic Mont Blanc Festival with 5 days of magic and stand-up comedy.
St. Anton, Austria - best for partying on the piste
The Arlberg region of Austria has an excellent snow record and in St. Anton it is not only possible to ski hard late into the season but party hard too. Described as the ‘spiritual home of apres’, St. Anton has two infamous bars perfectly positioned on the slope back down to town. Austrian apres-ski at its best, expect table-top dancing aplenty from 3.30pm at both the Mooserwirt and Krazy Kanguruh.
The village itself is situated at 1,305m but the highest lift reaches 2,811m. There are many north-facing slopes and the south-facing ones are supplemented by snow machines. The resort is best for intermediate and expert skiers but off-piste skiing is one of its major attractions too.