Top 10 late season ski resorts - Europe

Updated: 8 November 2020

Spring skiing can be very rewarding - not only are the days longer and the weather normally better, but skiing in late March or April can also offer some of the most enjoyable snow conditions of the ski season.

 

Late season or spring skiing in the Alps is generally considered to run from late March through to the end of the regular “winter” season, with most resorts closing from mid to late April, and a few continuing to offer skiing into May. From about mid-May onwards the Alps enters what is typically considered to be its "summer skiing" season, by which time skiing is nearly always confined to the glaciers.

 

Given the strength of the sun at the end of the season, snow conditions can vary enormously depending on altitude and orientation. Choose your resort with even a modicum of care and, contrary to popular belief, there will always be snow.

 

However, for the best snow quality late in the season you ideally want a ski resort with plenty of north-facing terrain above 2500m.

 

Here are ten of the best ski resorts in the Alps for late season snow...

1. Zermatt, Switzerland

Resort height:

  1620m

 

Slopes:

  1620-3820m

 (1525-3820m incl. Cervinia)

Pistes:

  200km

 (350km incl. Cervinia)

 

Usual closing:

 

  Late April (open all year round on glacier)

 

2020/21 season:

  Closes on 2 May 2021 (open all year round on glacier)

Few ski resorts in the Alps can rival Zermatt and Cervinia when it comes to the sheer extent of high altitude skiing available - only Val d'Isère and Tignes can compare in this respect.

 

Zermatt's relatively dry climate and rocky terrain can limit the extent of skiing open early in the winter.

 

However, with the Klein Matterhorn area boasting the highest pistes in the Alps, and all three sectors topping 3000m, Zermatt is easily one of the most reliable late season ski resorts in Europe.

 

Zermatt is best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers, though there is also plenty of easier terrain, especially on the glacier.

 

Looking for hotels in Zermatt?  Click here

2. Saas-Fee, Switzerland

Resort height:

  1800m

Slopes:

  1800-3500m 

Pistes:

 

Usual closing:

  100km

 

Last weekend in April

 

2020/21 season:

 

  Due to close on 18 April 2021

Despite being smaller than neighbouring Zermatt, Saas-Fee is equally reliable for late season snow. In fact it is even more reliable at resort level where the nursery slopes are among the most snow-sure in the Alps.

 

The climate may be relatively dry here, but Saas-Fee does have the highest average skiing height in the Alps, with most of the slopes above 2500m. Good snow is therefore pretty much guaranteed late into the season, especially up on the excellent glacier.

 

Saas-Fee is best suited to beginners and intermediates, with much of the easiest terrain on the glacier at the top of the mountain.

 

Looking for hotels in Saas-Fee?  Click here

3. Val d’Isère/Tignes, France

Resort height:

  1850/2100m

Slopes:

  1550-3455m (Espace Killy)

Pistes:

 

Usual closing:

  300km (Espace Killy)

 

First weekend in May (Tignes stays open until the second weekend in May)

 

2020/21 season:

 

  Espace Killy: due to close on 2 May 2021

  Tignes: due to close on 8 May 2021

Few other European ski resorts offer as much extensive high altitude skiing as Val d'Isère and Tignes, with about 60% of its 300km of pistes above 2500m.

 

Add to this good natural snowfall, plenty of north-facing terrain and two superb glaciers, and it's easy to see why L'Espace Killy is regarded as such a good bet for late season snow conditions.

 

You can always ski back to base until early May, and for keen skiers, it's difficult to suggest anywhere better for a very late holiday.

 

Val d'Isère and Tignes are excellent for all levels of skier, with much of the easiest terrain at high altitude.

 

Looking for hotels in Val d'Isère?  Click here

 

Looking for hotels in Tignes?  Click here

4. Obergurgl, Austria

Resort height:

  1930m

Slopes:

  1795-3080m 

Pistes:

 

Usual closing:

  110km

 

First weekend in May

 

2020/21 season:

  

Due to close on 25 April 2021

Obergurgl is an excellent late season choice, offering reliably good snow cover right through until early May.

 

Snowfall here may not be the highest in the Alps, nor does the resort have a glacier, but at 1930m Obergurgl is exceptionally high by Austrian standards, and has plenty of shady north-facing slopes that reach over 3000m. This means that snow quality and preservation remain excellent deep into spring.

 

Obergurgl is best suited to beginners and intermediates.

 

Looking for hotels in Obergurgl?  Click here

5. Val Thorens, France

Resort height:

  2300m

 

Slopes:

  1800-3230m

  (1260-3230m - 3 Valleys)

Pistes:

  150km

  (600km - 3 Valleys)

 

Usual closing:

 

  First or second weekend in May

 

2020/21 season:

 

  Closes on 9 May 2021

While the other 3 Valley resorts wind down in April, Europe's highest ski resort Val Thorens keeps going well into May, when there is normally plenty of snow right down to village level.

 

Not only is the resort height itself impressive, the top slopes also reach 3230m and include two small glaciers - making Val Thorens one of the best late season ski resorts in Europe.

 

Val Thorens is well suited to all levels of skier, with super-convenient, snow-sure nursery slopes, and quick access to more challenging terrain, both locally and across the 3 Valleys ski area as a whole.

 

 Looking for hotels in Val Thorens?  Click here

6. Hintertux, Austria

Resort height:

   1500m

Slopes:

   1500-3250m

Pistes:

 

Usual closing:

   86km

 

 Open 365 days a year

 

2020/21 season:

   

 Open 365 days a year

The extent of slopes may be relatively limited, but Hintertux is open for skiing 365 days a year, and so is naturally one of the most reliable late season ski resorts in the Alps.

 

The glacier - one of the best around - is key here, but the shady lower runs also hold their snow well, and it is usually possible to ski back to base until late April.

 

Hintertux is best suited to intermediates, with more variety and challenge on the glacier than you might expect.

 

 Looking for hotels in Hintertux?  Click here

7. Ischgl, Austria

Resort height:

   1400m

Slopes:

   1400-2870m

Pistes:

 

Usual closing:

   238km

 

 Early May

 

2020/21 season:

   

 Closes on 2 May 2021

By the time spring arrives, Ischgl's long home runs may have seen better days, but the resort offers more skiing above 2000m than any other in Austria, so decent cover is virtually assured until early May.

 

Ischgl (like Obergurgl) therefore offers some of the most reliable entirely non-glacial snow conditions in the Alps.

 

With one of the best lift systems in the world, Ischgl is best suited to mileage-hungry intermediates.

 

Looking for hotels in Ischgl?  Click here

8. Arc 1950 / Arc 2000 (Les Arcs), France

Resort height:

  1950-2000m

 

Slopes:

  1200-3225m

  (1200-3250m - Paradiski)

Pistes:

  200km

  (425km - Paradiski)

 

Usual closing:

 

  Late April

 

2020/21 season:

 

  Due to close on 30 April 2021

Les Arcs may not top everyone's list when it comes to reliable spring snow - indeed Arc 1600 and Arc 1800 get too much sun for comfort late in the season.

 

However, it's a different story over in Arc 1950 and Arc 2000. Here the main bowl is high and shady, offering excellent snow preservation and quality deep into spring.

 

Les Arcs is excellent for all levels of skier, with some of the toughest and easiest slopes immediately above Arc 1950/2000.

 

 Looking for accommodation in Arc 1950?  Click here

9. Sölden, Austria

Resort height:

  1380m

 

Slopes:

  1350-3250m

  

Pistes:

  150km

  

 

Usual closing:

 

  Early May

 

2020/21 season:

 

  Due to close on 2 May 2021

By spring, Sölden's lower runs may be deteriorating, but conditions are often excellent higher up.

 

The resort offers unusually extensive high altitude terrain by Austrian standards, alongside two glaciers (the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach), making it one of the most reliable late season ski resorts in the Alps.

 

Sölden is best suited to intermediates, but there are some challenges dotted around.

 

Looking for hotels in Sölden?  Click here

10. Argentière (Chamonix), France

Resort height:

   1035m

Slopes:

   1035-3275m

Pistes:

 

Usual closing:

   155km

 

 First or second weekend in May

 

2020/21 season:

   

 Due to close on 2 May 2021

Most of the Chamonix ski areas are winding down by the middle of April, but not the Grand Montets above Argentière.

 

Not only does this area have one of the highest average snowfall figures in the Alps, but its north-facing slopes also reach 3200m, and normally offer good snow conditions well into May.

 

Argentière is best suited to advanced skiers, with some of the most varied and challenging off-piste in the world.

 

Looking for hotels in Chamonix?  Click here

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