Spring Skiing: Is it Worthwhile?
As we all know, skiing isn’t the cheapest holiday you’ll ever head off on – but it’s one that happens to be utterly enthralling, and often too difficult to resist!
However, if you choose an off-peak period, these costs can tumble. Many families hit the slopes in the Easter holidays to get the tail-end of the season, and certainly don’t regret it.
Bearing this in mind, today’s article will look at the topic in further detail. Is spring skiing worthwhile and perhaps more importantly, how do you make the most of it?
The higher the better right?
It stands to reason, the higher ski resorts receive snow for more of the year. As such, when it comes to spring, this should be one of your first points to research. It's not necessarily the height of where your accommodation stands but more how high is the highest piste as this is what you will be skiing on. However, another thing to consider is north facing slopes as these will retain the snow for longer as they see less of the sun. This is why little gems like Vaujany stand out as the lower slopes here, generally keep the snow right up to the last week of the season in April. Little else needs to be said; study the numbers, read reviews, and find out which resorts have the most longevity.
What sort of infrastructure is in place?
When we talk about infrastructure for the purposes of this question, we're primarily talking about snow cannons.
As anyone who has visited the slopes before will testify, these have been revolutionary over the past decades. However, not all resorts have them and as such, if you are heading in the warmer months, this is something that you should check. Sure, somewhere like Serre Chevalier will have plenty but look towards smaller resorts and your luck might be out.
There's also a further caveat; the temperature. Contrary to popular belief, these cannons don't work at all temperatures. In fact, it usually needs to be at least -1°C, sometimes colder, for them to function. As such, if it's a particularly warm spring, there's very little chances of these cannons being in operation.
What about the rest of the resort?
Granted, you're hitting the slopes to get some much-needed skiing under your belt, but now is the time where you might place a little more weight on other activities across the resort. Whether it is the famous après ski, or simply things to do for the kids, make sure you prioritise the resorts which have such activities.
After all, you can't control the weather. If things do heat up, and the lifts close, the last thing you want is to be stuck in a remote resort with little to do. Sure, there are hikes and other 'warmer' activities in some areas, but by performing the above due diligence you can open up far more options.
Don’t forget the sun cream
In some ways, this final point is tongue in cheek. With that being said, the risks of the sun should not be underplayed and as ridiculous it might be sound in such a cold environment, you are at the mercy of the sun. You’re not only a lot higher and closer to it, but it also rebounds from the white snow and causes much stronger effects.
As such, keep this in mind. No, you’re not heading off on your spring ski adventure to get a tan, but it might just be a side effect anyway.