Spring is my favourite time of the year to ski. The warmer weather makes people (including me) happier; it means you don’t have to don layer after layer of thermal clothing and also an afternoon lunch relaxing on the patio of a ski lodge doesn’t need to be an excruciating and hurried experience. It is more comfortable, more relaxing and more welcoming, meaning there is no better time to indulge…
Here are some of spots worth checking out if you’re considering hitting the slopes for both sun and snow this spring.
Zermatt is a true gem in the Swiss Alps. Located in the South West of Switzerland, the small alpine hamlet is a mere 10-hour drive from Calais, for those coming from the UK via the channel ferry. However, it might be wise to think twice about driving right into the resort, as in this beautiful, rustic and truly alpine village, no cars are allowed – an eccentricity that I was wholly grateful for by the end of my trip.
Alongside the fantastic skiing and snowboarding facilities, Zermatt offers keen hikers innumerable trails winding around the Alpine peaks. The staggering Matterhorn and its surrounding summits present not only once-in-a-lifetime views, but also a once-in-a-lifetime challenge.
Portes Du Soleil, France
This addition has been a major player in the skiing circuit for the last 40 years, and it has certainly earned its acclaim. The ski area is open until around the end of April every year, with good snowfall guaranteed until then. Moreover, for those who are being dragged along on another skiing holiday when you thought the season was over, Portes Du Soleil sits only an hour from Geneva. Therefore, while those not too partial to the pistes can indulge in some fine Swiss hospitality; snowboarding, skiing and even snowmobiling is on the cards for those who are.
Kitzbühel is an incredibly diverse option for snow and sun seekers during spring. (It was even voted the best ski resort in the world for 2013!) With over 170km of hiking trails and ski slopes, and over 120km of cross-country skiing options, there really is a lot of choice at Kitzbühel. Also, for those who take the ferry crossing and drive, as I did, Munich is only a 120km away, making for a great day out!
With an elevation ranging from 800m to 2000m above sea level, and with a population of less than 9000, Kitzbühel offers unrivalled new-world skiing opportunities, versus welcoming old-world charm.
Last, but by no means least, this enticing destination serves up visitors with some truly thrilling ways to enjoy the snow. Situated close to the Austrian city of Innsbruck, Mayrhofen presents the opportunity to do everything humanly possible there is to do in the snow. I took full advantage on my visit and alongside plenty of skiing decided to indulge in some fabulous snowshoe trekking, and even some exciting paragliding. The views are stunning from wherever you are here, and the crisp mountain air makes you feel revitalised only the way fresh, cold, mountain air can.
During spring you can witness “the greatest show on snow” at Kitzbühel, too: Snowbombing. This international music festival draws in world-class DJ’s and musicians from all over the world so you can ski away the days and dance away the nights. Therefore, for this single reason, this destination may just be my favourite, but any of these choices may end up being yours.
So there you have it, the 4 best ski resorts for spring skiing!
Every destination listed above is reachable by car if coming from the UK via the channel tunnel or P & O Ferries ferry crossing, and each guarantees a hearty serving of snow long into spring. Whichever you decide to choose, though, be safe, pack sun care – and happy skiing, hiking, snowboarding, sightseeing!