Whether you wait for blue skies to get your ski fix or just want to squeeze in one more trip before the season ends, there’s lots to love about spring skiing. Here’s why you shouldn’t pack away your thermals too soon, plus our top resorts for getting some late-season slope time.
When is late-season skiing?
The late season starts in mid-March and most resorts are open till around mid-April, though it varies from place to place. Nordic ski areas and high-altitude resorts are often the last to close because of the cooler temperatures that mean the snow sticks around for longer.
Why is the late season a great time to go skiing?
Thanks to the longer days, the lifts usually stay open later in spring, so you can really rack up the miles. Or you can make the most of the sunnier weather and take things easy, cruising under bluebird skies and enjoying leisurely lunches on sun terraces. And if it’s your first time skiing, you’ll have warmer temperatures while you’re learning and softer snow that’s easier to turn in.
The perfect way to round off the ski day is with some après fun, and with the sun setting later, this is the ideal time for a party on the piste. You can spend long afternoons perfecting your dance moves at a slopeside bar or watch ski shows and concerts at special end-of-season events.
And the best bit? If you avoid the Easter holidays, spring counts as low season, which means you can often find some great deals.
Where should you go skiing in the late season?
Cervinia’s lifts top out at 3,883m and it has heaps of high-altitude slopes. Beginners can enjoy excellent conditions in the mountain-top nursery area, before tackling the nearby blues. As for the rest of the 150km ski area, it’s tailor-made for intermediates, with long runs like the 11km Ventina red from the Plateau Rosa back down to the village. And the area lift pass also covers neighbouring Zermatt, so you can explore snowsure slopes above one of Switzerland’s top resorts too.
The town itself is in a south-facing valley, which means it gets lots of evening sunshine. And the atmosphere is laid-back, with small hotel bars where you can sit back on a sun terrace and soak up the rays with a bombardino, Italy’s must-try mountain drink.
Thanks to its snowsure slopes, it’s easy to see why Ischgl’s one of our top Austrian ski resorts. Most of the terrain’s above 2,000m, so you’ll get to ski crisp corduroy well into spring. It’s excellent for intermediates, with 238km of long, wide-open runs to explore – our favourite is the Duty Free Run, a 12km blast on linked reds from the Palinkopf peak down to Samnaun in Switzerland. And there are tricky blacks and heaps of off-piste to tempt experts too.
The resort’s famous for its buzzing atmosphere, with plenty of slopeside bars like the Paznauner Taja, where you can enjoy après ski on the huge outdoor terrace. If you’re eager to keep the fun going, check out the square by the Silvrettabahn gondola, which is lined with nightclubs that stay lively till late.
With its high altitude, reputation for spring snowfall and links to not one but two glaciers, Tignes ticks all the boxes for a late-season getaway. The 300km ski area is shared with nearby Val d’Isère, and packs in everything from gentle greens to steep off-piste, so it’s a solid pick if you’re skiing with a mixed-ability group. Beginners can learn the basics in the nursery slopes near Val Claret and Le Lac, while more experienced skiers can tackle descents of over 1,000m from the top of the Grande Motte glacier back to the resort centre.
When it comes to picking a place to stay, there are five purpose-built villages to choose from. If you’re eager to be in the heart of the action, you’ll love the vibrant après scene in Le Lac and Val Claret. Or for something more laid-back, check out the quieter Tignes 1800 and Les Brévières areas.
Up at 1,930m, Obergurgl’s one of the highest villages in the Alps and has one of the longest ski seasons anywhere in Austria. This centuries-old village was around long before the lifts arrived, so it’s got a really authentic alpine feel – picture wooden chalets clustered around an 18th-century church.
The 122km ski area packs in lots of variety, from snowsure beginner areas to tree-lined trails and wide-open pistes that intermediates will love. It’s also known for having quiet slopes and an excellent ski school, so it’s one of our best resorts for families too. Eager to stretch your ski legs? Hop on the Top Express gondola to explore the slopes around the neighbouring hamlet of Hochgurgl. Or to really make the most of your lift pass, take the free bus to Sölden, which has two glaciers in its ski area.
Val Thorens, France
If you’re after great spring snow, you can’t beat Europe’s highest ski resort, Val Thorens. The village is at 2,300m, and the lifts go to over 3,000m, so you can enjoy slush-free slopes all day long. It’s part of the huge Three Valleys ski area, which has 600km of pistes and four glaciers to explore. And with everything from the gentle greens next to the village centre to the steep moguls on the Cîme de Caron black run, it’s a perfect pick whatever your ability.
And once you’re done for the day, you can swing by one of the best après bars in the Alps, La Folie Douce, for a carnival-themed party on the panoramic terrace. Or enjoy events like Jazz à Val Thorens and Festival’Tho, where the resort hosts international musicians and DJs to close out the season in style.
Check out our latest deals and end your season on a high in spring.
Want some more help planning your perfect winter getaway? Take a look at our guide to skiing in each month.