Have you ever considered skiing in April? Are you like me and fancy one last trip to the Alps before the end of the season? With warm temperatures, sunny skies and catered chalets for April skiing at increasingly low prices it really is a fantastic time of year to hit the slopes. This April is even more appealing than ever, with the Easter week falling so late this year it means schools will be breaking up later and early April will be sure to offer temptingly quiet slopes and lower prices in many of the chalets we offer across Europe. So the main question everyone wants to know when looking at chalets for skiing in April is where should I go to get the best chance of having guaranteed snow? Of course, if a serious snowstorm arrives, more or less any resort offers excellent April skiing. But assuming you are booking a couple of weeks ahead, the main thing you are looking for is a decent resort altitude. This ensures that there will still be good snow cover on the ground ensuring that the rocks are not starting to appear from underneath.
When I’m off to the Alps in April I will usually have a leisurely lie in to avoid the hard packed ice on the slopes in the early morning and make the most of being on holiday! Once the sun has risen and has had a chance to warm up and soften the slopes it’s time to go. The slopes will normally be groomed to perfection at this time of year. This is especially true in some of the bigger resorts such as Tignes and Courchevel where the piste bashing team spend all night perfecting the slopes for your enjoyment. In fact these resorts are home to my two favourite runs to ski early morning in April.
Firstly we have Saulire in Courchevel. This is a classic red run which starts at the very top of the Saulire cable car. After a steep pitch at the top near the Vizelle gondola the run opens out into a huge motorway cruiser where you can really let your skis run and settle into some long carving arc turns. Towards the bottom of the run there are some large rollers which are always fun to launch off when the run is quiet. Once you have done this a couple of times a great place to stop is the Panoramique restaurant, although the coffee prices can be sky high, so is the outdoor deck. Located right next to the Saulire cable car you have fantastic views to both Meribel and Courchevel and it’s a great place to soak up the sun, although don’t forget your sunscreen.
Secondly we have the famous ‘Face’ run which links into the ‘Descent’, a steep black at the very top of the glacier in Tignes. When these runs are combined it really is a fantastically long run. Starting at 3,656m altitude and descending to 2,100m it offers over 1,500 vertical metres of thigh burning descent!
When looking for your perfect chalets for skiing in April most people want some good après ski to be easily accessible so you can party after skiing late into the afternoon. One place that knows après ski better than most is the Folie Douce. Originally started in Val d’Isere this restaurant / bar / ultimate party venue has received somewhat of a cult following in recent years. This has resulted in the same classic formula of loud house music, reasonable drinks and slope side positions being extended to Meribel, Alp d’Huez and Val Thorens all of which are great ski resorts for skiing in April. Après ski at this time of year is particularly enjoyable not only because the weather is normally beautiful and warm but you can really let loose and party knowing that you don’t have to be up early the next day.
To give you an idea of some of the options out there below are a number of catered chalets for skiing in April. These all come highly recommended and are located in resorts that hold their snow well late into the season. The prices in the following recommendations for skiing in April are per person and based on two people sharing a double / twin room for seven nights, on a catered basis and include return flights and airport transfers.
Skiing in April – Ischgl, Austria
For skiers aiming to travel to Austria who don’t want to hit the more commercialised ski resorts of the Arlberg area (St Anton, Lech and Zurs) then Ischgl is a great option. The main slopes are high above the village, with the major lift base at 2,250m, peaking at 2,900m. The extensive slopes, shared with Samnaun in Switzerland, offer something for all abilities. The traditional Alpine village centre is car-free and boasts a famously lively après-ski scene.
Package: Chalet-hotel Abendrot from £699 (chalet board). Departs March 30th 2014.
Skiing in April – Obergurgl, Austria
Obergurgl can’t match Ischgl for extent and variety of skiing but its slopes are very high and so it is even better for catching some snow really late on in the season. It even holds the title of Austria’s highest resort and from experience I can tell you the town has some of the friendliest locals that I have ever met in a ski resort. The highest skiing of the resort is over 3,000m and you ski mostly above 2,150m.
Package: Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl * * * * from £857 (half board). Departs March 29th 2014.
Skiing in April – Tignes, France
You cannot ignore the huge Espace Killy ski area, shared by the neighbouring ski resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isère. Tignes has the stronger case as a spring base, being higher (villager height 2,100m) and better situated for the key Grande Motte glacier area, which offers high altitude ski runs (3,455m) and long reds and blues back to the village. Piste conditions are excellent, particularly following early March snowfalls.
Package: Chalet Hotel Aiguille Percee from £999 (chalet board). Departs 13th April 2014
Skiing in April – Val Thorens, France
Europe’s highest ski resort (with a village altitude of 2,300m) has to be on your shortlist of suitable resorts for skiing in April. If you’re lucky, you may be able to explore large parts of the huge Three Valleys ski domain but there’s plenty to amuse skiers of all levels on the many local slopes that go up to 3,200m in altitude. All runs are currently open and well covered. As far as purpose-built resorts go, Val Thorens is quite stylish and well laid out.
Package: Club Med Val Thorens from £1,092 (full board and includes lift pass). Departs 13th April 2014
Skiing in April – Zermatt, Switzerland
Zermatt claims some of the highest ski slopes in Europe on its glacier but these are too gentle to be of much interest. The real appeal lies lower down, around Trockener Steg (between 3,300m and 2,400m), and in the slightly lower slopes of the separate Gornergrat ski sector. Conditions are still good now but warm afternoons will lead to heavy snow low-down. If you enjoy leisurely gourmet lunches taken on panoramic mountain view terraces, and a car-free, traditional village, then Zermatt is the place for you.
Package: Chalet Evie from £699 (chalet board). Departs 6th April 2014
Whether you want ultimate luxury, affordability, child friendly slopes or a serious party scene we have chalets for skiing in April to suit every taste. So please do get in contact and one of our expert consultants will be happy to guide you through the process and recommend options that are just right for your group. However, don’t forget the golden rule of skiing in April – use plenty of sunscreen!
Tel: +44 (0)20 7801 1080