T-Shirt Skiing In The Spring
22nd March 2016
When you work in the ski holiday business like all of us at Skiline.co.uk it’s difficult to find the time to ski between December and March as we are just too busy to arrange our clients skiing trips to go skiing ourselves. Most of our skiing is done between late March and the end of April. We won’t have it any other way, we love the skiing in the spring, why would anybody want to go skiing in the dead of winter? We don’t get it!
We have been running our end of season ski trip for the last 21 years, this year we have 140 keen skiers heading to La Plagne on the 10th April for 4 nights. For some the skiing in spring is the draw, others are just squeezing every last drop out of this winter’s skiing with a second or even third ski trip.
Once Easter has past, or the daffodils have been in bloom for a few weeks, even the keenest of skiers is probably turning their thoughts to a summer holiday. But the ski season is not over until the last lift stops. In the best last season ski resorts that could be late as the second week in May, so there is still plenty of opportunity to get in a bit more skiing!
An increasing number of canny winter sports enthusiasts have spotted the weather patterns in the Alps and checked the prices of skiing holidays too. Skiing in spring time makes sense. The snow fall at the beginning of the season has been un-reliable in the past few winters, yet conditions at the end of the ski seasons, (for at least the last 20 years) have offered up consistently good spring skiing. Families are choosing Easter as an alternative to skiing over the more expensive weeks as the slopes and are busier on half term week. The prices for the second week of the Easter school holidays is even cheaper. The biggest benefit for the keen skier desperate to get his whole family skiing, is the weather. Spring time temperatures are much more child friendly. Chances are you will be removing layers to ski rather than complaining about the cold.
The secret of spring skiing is choosing the right ski resort, a favourite of ours is Val d’Isere or Tignes, the ski range is between 1550m and 3455m and most of the runs are above 2500m. The slopes face all directions and the ski lifts give easy access to some wonderful off piste skiing. The last thing you want to do in spring is hike up the mountain!
Other high snow sure resorts would include Cervinia and Zermatt, Les Arcs and La Plagne, Val Thorens in the Three Valleys and Obergurgl or Solden in Austria.
Some of the more popular late season ski resorts run ski lifts up until May, and for many it’s not unusual for a 3m to 4m snow base on the upper slopes when the ski lifts finally stop running. That’s considerably more than would have been for skiing holiday over New Year and a Half Term skiing holiday, where ski holiday prices are higher and the slopes are much more crowded.
Unique spring snow is different ski experience
The perfect spring weather is warm and bright during the day with hard freeze overnight, this allows the previous day’s snow that would have melted, to re-frozen hard overnight. With frozen conditions there isn’t any need to be up on the first lift in the morning, so perhaps another hour in the club the night before is a good idea after all. Be out too early and you will need razor sharp edges to your skis and a good deal of skill to stay up on the steeper runs. So wait…………… within 30 minutes of warmth from the sun, conditions will be perfect, what you get is 2 to 4cm of perfect soft snow, that could have just fallen from the sky. This soft crust on a firm base making it perfect for turns. You can also experience a similar experience off piste too.
The trick to enjoying great spring skiing is to ski on the East facing slopes first, you should manage a couple of descents on near perfect spring snow. Depending on the sun, the runs can become too soft, when this happens, ski on any south facing slopes next for more of the same. Finally before you stop for lunch at your favourite restaurant ski the west facing slopes.
In the afternoon the North facing slopes will be soft and you should manage an hour or two more before heading to your chosen Après ski bar.
Try to ski the whole area in smaller sections over the duration of your holiday, enjoy doing a run more than once, in the glorious high spring sunshine everything looks quite different than it would in December so enjoy it. If you can, book a guide, they will know where to find the best snow.
Skiing in spring time is warmer and the chances of getting a skiers sun tan are very high. Day time temperatures can reach 14 degrees, and on a really warm day even higher, but don’t forget the freeze overnight as night time temperatures tumble.
The odd champagne powder days are a real possibility
April is a time in the UK for rain, April in the Alpine mountains is a time for powder snow. April sees more snowfall in the Alps than January and when conditions are right you find yourself in champagne powder, which makes both the piste and off piste skiing perfect. My best ever days skiing in Europe was on the 21st April 2012 on our end of season ski trip to Val d’Isere that year. After nearly 18 hours of heavy snowfall the skies cleared and we were skiing in thigh deep champagne powder. Just imagine being up to your waist in powder on a bright sunny day with the slopes to your selves, maybe you will understand why the team at Skiline.co.uk love to ski in April.
Top Tips for a perfect spring trip
– Don’t forget the sun at altitude can be dangerous, so don’t forget to cover up with factor 30 or 50, or better still a complete block.
– Book a guide if you are planning on skiing away from the pistes. Spring snow avalanches are common.
– Choose your ski resort carefully, some resorts lose their snow quicker than others. Think high!
– Try and get a group together, skiing in the sunshine with your friends is great fun and the bigger the group the better the discounts!
– Sun glasses are a must at lunch time, and Googles or good sun glasses are essential when skiing in the bright spring sunshine.
– Choose a ski chalet with an outdoor hut tub, great fun in the spring as an après ski treat.
– A club Med skiing holiday is a good idea if you like to ski off piste as a free ESF guide is included in the price.