News 10 best ski resorts for spring and late season snow

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10 best ski resorts for spring and late season snow

When it comes to skiing holidays, you might think that February and March are the best months to hit the slopes. But why not head to the mountains a little later in the season? Book a holiday to one of these destinations and you'll find fewer crowds, cheaper prices and most importantly, just as much snow.

1. Chamonix, France

Closest airport: Geneva or Lyon

Late season spring skiing in Chamonix

It’s common knowledge that the best late season snow can be found in Europe’s higher resorts and Chamonix, 3,300 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, certainly ticks that box. Head to this chic resort for over 1,000 kilometres of terrain, including legendary runs like Grands Montets and Valley Blanche. The ski season here often lasts well into May, depending on conditions. And it’s a misconception that those looking for cheap ski holidays should rule this resort out, thanks in part to a number of new budget ski hotels in Chamonix. We’ve got high hopes for The Rocky Pop hotel, which opens this December. The owners are promising fantastic rates and a fun, chilled out vibe, with two themed patios and gourmet burgers on the menu. Keen to avoid the crowds? Then you need to check out our guide to France’s 10 lesser-known ski resorts.

Where to stay:

The cosy La Croix Blanche is just a short walk from the centre of Chamonix, and rooms start from £107* per room per night.

2. Verbier, Switzerland

Closest airport: Geneva

Skiing in Switzerland

Verbier doesn’t just have a high altitude on its side but great snow-making facilities too, so even if the snow storms are petering out, you can rest assured there’ll be plenty of the white stuff at Switzerland’s most popular ski resort – it might just come from one of the hi-tech snow cannons. And given that Verbier’s not exactly regarded as one of Europe’s cheapest ski resorts, the ability to go outside of peak season will appeal to those search for ski holidays on a budget. Further proof of its status as a great resort for late season skiing comes in the fact that the Verbier’s 2017 festival, Verbier Impulse, takes place between 15 and 17 April, much later than similar events in other resorts.

Where to stay:

Heading to the slopes later in the season means you can afford to splash out on accommodation, so make your base the fabulous 123-room W Verbier where you’ll find one of the resort’s largest spas. From £283 per room per night.

3. Åre, Sweden

Closest airport: Ostersund Froesoe, Stockholm or Oslo

Are, Sweden

This beautiful Swedish ski resort opens in November and closes in May, and it’s not hard to see why it’s regarded as the best place in Sweden for late season snow. Some seriously impressive floodlighting means that it’s possible to night ski on several of the resort’s 100 pistes, and there are plenty of activities for non-skiers too, including husky rides, cross country skiing and snow mobiling. And where better way to sooth those aches and pains than a traditional Swedish sauna? Our favourite can be found at the Fjällgården Spa, where you can soak in an outdoor hot tub perched above the frozen Åresjön Lake. Bringing your own skis? Read our tips on travelling with ski and snowboard equipment.

Where to stay:

Expect roaring log fires and luxuriously furnished rooms at
Buustamon’s Fjällgård. Rooms start from £69 per room per night.

4. Tignes, France

Closest airport: Grenoble or Geneva

Tignes gondola

In Tignes, a sprawling resort made up of five villages, the season lasts well into May, and after that it’s possible to summer ski on the glacier, which has over 20 kilometres of runs and a vertical drop of over 750 metres. It’s also part of the absolutely enormous Espace Killy ski area, and the resort’s world class network of ski lifts puts Val d’Isère within easy reach, too. Tignes has always been regarded as one the best party ski resorts, and this winter it’s upping the bar with the Live in Tignes by Francofolies event: four days of free concerts, three outdoor stages, world class artists and a breathtaking backdrop. What’s not to love?

Where to stay: Check into the Logis Gentiana, and you’ll discover indoor and outdoor pools and cosy rooms which scream alpine chic. From £214 per room per night.

5. Zermatt, Switzerland

Closest airport: Zurich

the Matterhorn, Zermatt

This famous Swiss ski resort, in the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn, has lifts that take you up to 3899 metres, and there’s great skiing until early May. After that, you’ll be able to enjoy summer skiing on the glacier. Its car-free town centre feels wonderfully rustic, and there’s a great range of restaurant and accommodation options. If you’re coming by road, park in the village of Tasch, five miles away, and catch the free shuttle. But remember to keep your camera to hand when in Zermatt – the towering, snow-dusted peaks means that it’s one of the world’s most stunning places to go skiing.

Where to stay: All of the rooms at Hotel Astoria, have balconies, and the hotel is famous for having the most spectacular views. From £181 per room per night.

6. Banff, Canada

Closest airport: Calgary

Banff, Canada

Banff, which has one of the longest ski seasons in North America, comprises three ski villages: Lake Louise Ski Resort, Sunshine Village and Mt. Norquay. It’s also regarded as one of the best place in America for spring skiing, thanks largely to the sheer size of the place. Visit this beautiful chunk of Canada and you’ll have 8,000 acres of skiable terrain on your doorstep, all of which can be accessed using a tri-area lift ticket, which includes transport, night skiing at Mt. Norquay and certain additional winter activities such as tubing. The area’s unique climate means it’s also one of the few places to experience genuine champagne powder – which happens to fall by the bucket load in this part of the world.

Where to stay:

You don’t need to check into the famous (and rather expensive) Fairmont Banff Springs to enjoy a room with a view – rooms at the equally spectacular Rimrock Resort Hotel start from £152 per night, and the hotel is just a short walk from the slopes. It’s also close to some of Banff’s best bars and restaurants.

7. Livigno, Italy

Closest airport: Milan or Innsbruck

Livigno, Italy

One of the higher resorts in Europe with pistes up to 3000 metres and an enviable snow record, Livigno is also known for its sunny location in the Italian Alps. It’s home to one of Europe’s largest terrain parks and the skiing usually lasts until early May. Livigno’s tax-free tax status is also a considerable draw, meaning that food and drink are excellent value here. The resort itself is unusually long and thin – four kilometres from one end to the other – but there are free buses to go to and from the lifts, and it’s regarded as one of Italy’s best ski resorts for families, and is one of Europe’s top ski resorts for beginners.

Where to stay:

There’s plenty of alpine charm at Hotel Garni La Suisse , a traditional chalet-style hotel where rooms start from £143 per night.

8. Gassan, Japan

Closest airport: Tokyo or Nagoya

Skiing in Japan

Located in Yamagata on Japan’s main island, Honshu, Gassan gets so much snow (up to eight metres!) during the winter that it doesn’t even open until April because the resort is inaccessible until then. The lifts then continue to run until late July where skiers and snowboarders can enjoy almost 1000 metres of vertical terrain. Translated as ‘Moon Mountain’ in Japanese, the community around Mount Gassan also prides itself on its mineral water and for beer fans, there’s a micro-brewery and restaurant, Gassan Meisuikan, producing local Pilsner down the road in the town of Nishikawa.

Where to stay:

In Gassan, some of the best hotels are located a short distance from the slopes, but Kyukamura Haguro is one of the closest. From £71 per night.

9. Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada

Closest airport: Vancouver

Skiing in Whistler, Canada

The presence of a glacier on Blackcomb Mountain means that skiers here can tear up the slopes until June, and excellent slope grooming and snow-making facilities ensure that there’s never any shortage of the white stuff.
The views of both Whistler and Blackcomb peaks are so spectacular that the Peak 2 Peak gondola ride ($49.94 a ticket including 2010 Olympic displays) is an attraction in its own right, even when the snows have begun to melt. There have never been more activities on offer for non-skiers. Not convinced? Check out our guide to 13 things to do on ski holiday if you don’t like skiing.

Where to stay:

The palatial Fairmont Chateau Whistler is the resort’s most luxurious hotel, and the perfect retreat after a hard day on the slopes. Rooms from £268 per night.

10. Mammoth, California, US

Closest airport: Fresno or Sacramento

Relaxing after a day on the slope at Mammoth Lakes

With a season that typically lasts into June but also boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year, skiers and snowboarders can get the best of both worlds at one of the USA’s premier mountain resorts. This is a great alternative summer holiday with the kids, with an unlimited list of things to do, including super-fast snow tubing down the slopes in a rubber ring, or snowmobile tours to explore the huge meadows around the twinkling Mammoth Lakes.

Where to stay:

The Tamarack Lodge feels like a fabulously cosy log cabin, with open fires, marshmallow-like sofas and vast expanses of oak. Best of all, it restores our faith in the possibility of cheap skiing holidays, because rooms start from £98 per room per night.

Still not sure where to head for your skiing holiday, winter sports fans read on

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*Published October 2016. Any prices are lowest estimated prices at the time of publication, for travel between January and May, and are subject to change and/or availability.

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