Skiing in spring is just as fun as a winter holiday. Long sunny days, warmer temperatures, quieter slopes and a more laid-back atmosphere make it a fantastic time to head to the mountains. But, if you tend to book your holidays at the beginning of the season and if it’s your first time spring skiing in the Alps, there are a few different factors to consider.
In this post, we cover:
- Pros and cons of skiing in spring
- The best resorts to visit in spring
- What the weather and snow is like
- What to pack
- Spring activities that can be enjoyed off the pistes, such as cycling, hiking/snowshoeing and après-ski
Read on to find out more…
Is spring skiing in the Alps for you?
It’s no secret that the most popular time for skiing in the Alps is in February. With school holidays bringing thousands of holidaymakers to the mountains, plus fantastic snow conditions and loads of family activities and events, it’s easy to see why.
But skiing in the Alps isn’t limited to the peak winter months. March, April, and in some cases, even early May can be a great time to head to your chosen resort.
However, it is important to understand that conditions won’t be the same in the late season.
You’ll likely need to head further up the mountain to find deeper snow, off-piste may be a little more limited and conditions may be slightly more slushy. But this suits many people! If you’re someone who enjoys a more leisurely Alpine holiday, or you’re less confident skiing in low-visibility conditions – spring skiing in the Alps is for you.
Where can you find the best spring skiing in Europe?
Resorts in the Aravis, the Grand Massif and the Evasion Mont Blanc offer great spring skiing if you head to their highest points, but the top spring skiing destinations are in resorts with high altitudes…
Browse ski chalets in the Alps
Val d’Isère/Tignes, France
Depending on snow conditions, these ever-popular neighbouring resorts often stay open until early May!
Plus, there is plenty to do in the towns including great bars, restaurants, shops and activities.
Val Thorens, France
Standing at 2,300m, Val Thorens benefits from early open times and late-season closures due to its snow-sure nature.
Boasting two small glaciers, 150km of pistes and a buzzing town centre – it’s a great spring skiing destination.
Chamonix is home to a number of widespread ski areas, including the Grand Montets, which holds an impressive track record when it comes to snowfall.
The town itself is a year-round destination, meaning holidaymakers can often benefit from great amenities and activities well into spring.
With heights of 3,000m, Zermatt is a great option for late-season holidays. Enjoy 200km of pistes until late April – or if you still want more, head to the Matterhorn Glacier for year-round skiing!
Late-season resorts are often better suited to intermediate and advanced skiers, but this isn’t the case for Saas-Fee, which benefits from stable snowfall, even down to its nursery slopes.
If it has been a snowy season, you can expect to ski here until late April.
Skiing in spring: what to expect from the weather
The weather in the Alps can be unpredictable and vary greatly depending on the destination you choose.
There can be milder spells in winter and colder days later in the season – but on the whole, you can expect warm temperatures and plenty of blue skies in spring.
March tends to be slightly more reliable than April in terms of snowfall, as there is usually still a good solid base of snow from the winter months which is topped up occasionally.
And although April can bring snow spells at higher altitudes, the snowfall tends to be less frequent – so grab the first lifts and make the most of the untouched snow early on in your day.
With fewer clouds and less wind, bear in mind that temperatures can feel hotter than they actually are. Plus, the reflection off the snow creates harsher sun exposure – always take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from the sun.
What to wear for spring skiing
Packing for a ski holiday can be a challenge, no matter what time of the year.
The advantage of visiting the Alps in spring is that you generally need fewer layers and can get away with lighter-weight clothing.
Here’s a rough idea of what to take with you:
- Lightweight, breathable thermals which can be built up if required. You may also want to consider swapping heavier jackets for a softshell – on some days you may even get away with a hoodie!
- SPF 50 suncream – this is incredibly important. You can burn just as badly in the mountains as by the sea.
- Goggles for skiing and sunglasses for relaxing on and off the piste.
- A thin beanie to wear at lunchtime or to après-ski.
- A rucksack – temperatures can change quickly, especially once the sun goes behind the mountains. Ensure to pack spare layers in your bag just in case.
To see a complete packing list for your skiing holiday, click here.
The best non-skiing activities in spring
Just because you’ve booked a skiing holiday, doesn’t mean that’s the only activity you can try! The Alps are home to endless activities for the whole family to try.
Here are just a few to discover in spring:
If you prefer to explore the mountains on foot, hiking or snowshoeing are great alternatives to skiing and snowboarding in the spring months.
If there is plenty of snow underfoot, you will need to use snowshoes – attachable shoes with a large surface area that make it easier to walk on snow.
Mid-April is a great time for road cycling in the Alps, as it’s cooler than the peak summer months.
Just bear in mind that road cycling seasons begin at different times depending on the altitude of the resort. Areas below 1,500m can enjoy this activity from mid-April to mid-October. In areas with higher altitudes, it’s best to wait until mid-May, then you can cycle until the end of September.
Paragliding is a truly unique experience that you should try at least once in the Alps. Take to the air and enjoy the stunning scenery from above with a professional pilot.
Tandem paragliding tours tend to run from April to November (weather depending), so you may be lucky enough to try it on your spring holiday!
Après-ski can be enjoyed all throughout the season, but with the ease of warmer temperatures and longer days, it’s even more enjoyable in spring. Plus, if you visit late enough, you may be able to enjoy some end-of-season parties!
We hope you’ve found this article helpful! To discover more things to do in the Alps, check out tour activities archives for more information or visit our website to book a chalet for your spring holiday.