What you need to know about late-season skiing

Late-season skiing is something that many skiers and snowboarders are wary of. It can often conjure up images of slushy snow on over-worked slopes, but we’re here to help you embrace a spring skiing trip by putting your mind at ease. 

Many ski resorts stay open well into April (with some staying open into May) and often travel companies will cut prices on last-minute bookings, so it’s easy to grab yourself a bargain ski holiday.  

Will there be enough snow?  

You may fear that you’ll be left with slushy snow under warm blue skies, but there is often fresh snowfall late season, and snow will still freeze overnight. There’s usually a point during the day when a shallow layer of softening spring snow feels luxurious under ski.  

This year some resorts are also expecting up to half a metre more of snow in some areas before spring properly arrives in the mountains, so there will be no shortage of fresh snow. It’s best to keep an eye the weather in the mountains can change quickly and it’s uncertain how long these wintery conditions will last. 

Is it safe to head off-piste? 

Traditionally, the off-piste snowpack is at its most stable in spring. This is as a result of a long season of snowfall which then melts in warmer weather and freezes again overnight to create a solid base that is less likely to avalanche.  

This combined with longer, sunny days and spring conditions mean late-season is popular with those who want to head off-piste on the soft, untouched snow.  

Snowfall has been unusual in the Alps over the last few seasons though, so as with any other time in the season it’s always recommended that if you want to venture off-piste you do so with a local mountain guide, who will know where is safer and where most risky.  

Is it a good time of year for families and beginners?   

The Easter break is usually a much more appealing option for families compared to the February half term. This is partly because the warmer weather means there’s less chance parents will have to battle freezing conditions with their kids in tow.  

The end of the season is also beneficial for beginners as there’s less risk of being put off skiing by whiteout conditions or being caught off guard on a chilly chairlift ride. A bit of sunshine during spring can make your skiing or snowboarding experience much more enjoyable, plus the beautiful clear skies make a stunning backdrop for showcasing the mountains.   

Families will still find lots of extra events and activities in resorts later in the season too, reducing the stress of keeping the kids entertained once lessons finish. 

Which resorts are best at the end of the season?  

Many resorts, including low-altitude villages, still have good snow depths and on-piste conditions in the spring, but as the weather starts to change and temperatures rise choosing a resort that is open well into April or May is key. 

In a high-altitude resort, good snow is almost guaranteed, even if temperatures are higher at lower elevations, so these resorts are a good go-to choice later in the season.  

Many resorts host events and festivals at the end of the season, as the days are longer and the conditions are warmer. The late-season sunshine is a popular backdrop for some of the best ski and snowboard festivals, so it may be worth checking out whether there’s a particular event you’d love to attend. 

What do I need to pack? 

While there will still be a chance of more snow, sunnier skies are just around the corner as spring arrives – meaning you may be able to ditch the extra layers and have the chance to sun yourself on a high-altitude terrace.  

Make sure you don’t forget your ski essentials though, including a jacket, goggles, gloves and a helmet. It’s worth taking a good sun cream if you’re looking to show some skin, so you can keep your skin safe and avoid those dreaded goggle shape tan lines!  

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