It’s early January and you’re standing at the top of the gondola station, looking down over the slopes. It’s a whiteout. You can barely see more than 20ft in front of you. But from what you can see, every last inch of white slope is covered by skiers trying not to crash into each other. It’s so cold you can’t feel your feet, and you’re starting to regret not chucking on that extra layer of thermals.
To some die hard fanatics, this sounds like an ideal way to spend a ski holiday. However, my favourite time of the year to ski is in the spring, where bluebird days are the norm and you can have the slopes to yourself. Here’s a couple of reasons why everyone should try a late season ski holiday.
Sunshine makes everyone happier. Late season skiers are generally blessed with the glorious weather that hits central Europe in March and April. It’s the sort of conditions that allow you to pull up a deckchair outside a mountain restaurant and have a lazy lunch, or – for the brave – tear down the mountain in a t-shirt.
There’s also more daylight – which means the lifts are open for longer – which allows the ski-obsessed to squeeze in even more minutes on the mountain. With those extra hours under the sun – at altitude – you’ll probably bring back the best holiday souvenir as well; the goggle tan. More fashionable than the latest Spyder jacket, you can show off to all your mates at home that you’ve been living the high life for the last week.
Team this great weather with good snow, and you’re onto a winner. While snowfall is generally highest from December to February, with modern snow making facilities, resorts generally have great snow all the way through to the end of April. Most resorts are now spending as much on snow cannon technology as lift development, which means that mud covered home runs are becoming a thing of the past. In recent seasons, quite a lot of resorts have seen heavy snowfall around March as well, meaning that spring has offered the best conditions all season.
Another benefit of skiing in the spring is that the slopes are generally a lot quieter. Lift queues are the bane of most skiers and boarders’ holidays, and no-one wants to waste their precious time hanging around lift stations. With less people queuing, you can get through more runs and have a longer day on the mountain – or finish up early and hit an après bar.
With less people carving the slope up, runs will generally stay well groomed for most of the day, unlike the mogul fields that can build up during peak periods. Some of my favourite ski memories have been gliding effortlessly down a still perfectly groomed, empty slope straight after lunch.
Lastly, quiet slopes are safer. If you are a beginner and there are hundreds of skiers whizzing past, you’ll only become more nervous and fall. Less people also equals less collisions, so your holiday won’t be unexpectedly cut short by injury.
Late season is low season, so prices are considerably cheaper. As well as flights and accommodation being less expensive, resorts will often lower their lift pass prices to try and entice locals to get onto the mountain once the tourists are gone. Compared to the peak times of Christmas, New Year and February half term, skiing in March can sometimes be over a third cheaper. Why spend more on your hotel and flights, when you can save some pennies to go skidooing or buy that extra beer at après?
So to sum up, we love spring skiing as it offers blue skies, reliable snow, quieter slopes and a cheaper holiday cost.
We love skiing in the spring so much that we want you to enjoy it as well. If you book with Crystal before 10 July, you can save up to £100 on your spring holiday in March next year. Check out our offers now.
If spring skiing is the one for you – then check out our post on the Top Resorts For Spring Skiing.