European Resorts for Late-season Snow
Don’t worry if you haven’t made plans for your European ski trip yet. As the season winds down in some areas it continues to go strong at high-altitude resorts, especially those with glaciers. There’s still time to book a late-season ski vacation in the Alps.
Take a look at some of the European resorts with good spring skiing and boarding:
Ischgl is a good choice for spring skiing. Ninety percent of its main ski area is between 2,000 and 2,872 meters (6,500 – 9,334 feet) with north-facing slopes above the tree line that are fairly snow-sure into the beginning of May. The area is linked on the Silvretta ski pass with over 250 kilometers (155 miles) of trails. The resort has a modern lift system and provides free transportation from town to the lifts. Ischgl is a charming Tyrolean village, known for its festive après-ski scene. The resort is well-known for its Top of the Mountain party that winds up its season with major rock concerts and plenty of beer.
Sölden, situated in the Ötztal in Tyrol, offers 150 kilometers (94 miles) of slopes and access to the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glaciers. The glaciers mean late season skiing is guaranteed. Sölden is linked to the glacier slopes by lifts and gondolas called Golden Gate to the Glacier. The resort itself lies at an elevation of 1,377 meters (4,518 feet) while the highest elevation is 3,250 meters (10,562 feet). There are 63 kilometers (39 miles) of trails for beginners, 53 kilometers (33 miles) for intermediates, and 28 kilometers (18 miles) for advanced skiers. The town is built in Tyrolean style and is known in the ski world for its vibrant party atmosphere.
Val d’Isère, France
Scenic Val d’Isère offers late-season skiing at high altitudes with the highest lifts taking skiers to over 3,400 meters (11,155 feet). The high elevation means that the snow generally lasts into May and the Pissaillas Glacier is ski-able throughout the summer. There are three main skiing areas at Val d’Isère: the Bellevarde, host of the World Cup Alpine circus every year, the Fornet/Iseran/Pisaillas, and the Solaise area. Val d’Isère and Tignes combine to make up the Espace Killy ski area. This vast area opens up 300 kilometers (188 miles) of trails. Not all the fun is on the slopes, though; après-ski can last all night in Val d’Isère!
St. Moritz, Switzerland
If Switzerland is more to your liking, try St. Moritz for a late-season trip. There’s a good reason the resort advertises itself as the “Top of the World.” The fashionable resort sits on a mountainside at 1,856 meters (6,089 feet) in the Upper Engadine region and provides 350 kilometers (217 miles) of trails. St. Moritz is not a traditional alpine village; however, the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains makes up for it. Après-ski possibilities are nearly endless in St. Moritz. The resort attracts people of all ages but there are more than enough restaurants, cafés, bars, and clubs to satisfy all après-ski tastes.
Spring offers some of the best skiing in Zermatt. During March and April the days are longer and warmer yet the slopes still get new powder during the night. After spring, the Klein Matterhorn area offers continued skiing with 25 kilometers (15 miles) of trails. Beginners find some of the best skiing on the glacier above 3,000 meters (9,867 feet). In Zermatt, old, sturdy, wooden chalets line streets and lend a cozy feel to the car-free medieval village. As pretty as this village is, the visitor’s eye is drawn upward to the majestic peak of the famed Matterhorn, which soars up to 4,478 meters (14,692 feet).
(Note: This is a classic reprint from the SkiEurope Report)