Fancy a last-minute ski trip? For the best late-season skiing, you need to aim high to guarantee good quality snow. Here are FamilySkiNews.com’s top 5 Alpine resorts for springtime skiing:
1 Tignes/Val d’Isère, France
It’s hard to beat Tignes for late-season snow quality. At a lofty 2,100m, Tignes is high and offers extensive high-altitude skiing. It shares its ski area – the Espace Killy – with Val d’Isère. Its ski area goes up to 3450m. The Grande Motte Glacier has some reasonably steep slopes (and a season which stretches even to July and August), and there are plenty of child-friendly chalet-hotels in resort, making this a winning formula for family Easter breaks.
Tignes’ trump card for springtime skiing, however, is the aspect and amount of skiing below the glacier, with runs in all directions within a wide bowl. That means you can start on sunny east-facing slopes in the morning and move round with the sun! There are plenty of north-facing slopes too, if the snow on the sunnier runs gets too slushy.
The only minus point here is that that price are extortionate in the mountain restaurants here so take full advantage of the warm spring weather and pack sandwiches in your backpack for a scenic piste-side picnic. Of course, if you do stop for refreshment, you are sure to find a lively end-of-season party atmosphere on the sun terraces of the slopeside bars and restaurants, most notably at La Folie Douce in Val d’Isère, famed for its legendary dancing in ski boots on the tables!
2 Obergurgl, Austria
By Austrian standards, Obergurgl is very high (and therefore a good bet for late snow), rising to 3000m at the top of the Ötztal, near the Italian border. The ski area is not vast, but there is also glacier skiing in the neighbouring resort of Sölden. Another plus-point is the emphasis on luxury, with plenty of 4 and 5* hotels, most with spas to sooth your aching limbs after an energetic day on the slopes. Many hotels (including the family-run Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl) offer excellent kids club programmes, and family-ski specialists Crystal and EspritSki also have accommodation here.
3 Hintertux, Austria
The southern end of the long, deep Zillertal valley boasts the magnificent Hintertux glacier, and some of the best on-piste snow conditions around, at an altitude of 3250m. However, skiing is somewhat limited here – ideal for beginners or for a long weekend break – and the other resorts in the valley are relatively low (mostly below 2500m) and therefore unsuitable for late-season skiing, if the weather is warm. If the snow is still good in the valley, don’t bother with the glacier: the skiing is better in Mayhofen, Hochfügen or Hochzillertal.
4 Saas Fee, Switzerland
One of our favourite family resorts whatever the month, with its charming car-free village and snow-sure skiing year round, ideal for families, beginners and intermediates especially, but with limited opportunities for those wishing to notch up the kilometres. There is also plenty to do aside from skiing, including exploring the ice cave on the glacier, swimming at the leisure centre and toboganning.
5 Zermatt, Switzerland
There’s skiing above the picture-postcard resort of Zermatt 365 days a year, and you are sure to have good snow on the glacier here, with especially good runs for beginners and intermediate skiers. There is also the added bonus of skiing over into high-altitude Cervinia in Italy for a tasty (and more affordable) lunch-stop in springtime. Finally, the views of the Matterhorn with a backdrop of cloudless blue skies makes springtime skiing here an absolute delight.