27th February 2022
There is little better than late spring skiing, in our humble opinion. The days are long, the lifts are open late and the sun is strong. And in the French ski region Isère big dumps of snow in April are pretty common too. NEW
Yes, the quality of the snow isn’t quite the same in April as it is in January.
But neither are the temperatures.
Skiing the soft stuff that’s sitting on top of a good snow base after the whole winter is often underestimated.
Not by us.
And sitting outside for lunch or a drink is generally a much more pleasant experience than it is in January.
April offers ideal après-ski conditions on the mountain terraces.
Drinking as the sun goes down – photo © Laurent Salino
And there’s more opportunity to take part in other outdoor activities – swimming, hiking, climbing and snowshoeing in the afternoons when the snow gets too slushy to enjoy.
The best late-season snow will, of course, be found at high altitude, and carefully choosing the slopes you will ski is also wise.
It’s a good move to get up early to make the best of the conditions in the morning and finish early when the other activities – and the après-ski – kick in.
If you’ve never skied in April, don’t expect the same experience as you get in the heart of winter.
It will definitely be different.
Where to go?
The region of Isère has a couple of options.
The resort remains open until 22nd April.
It’s great for families and ski fanatics.
The ski area is one of the largest in Europe linking five resorts with 250kms of pistes.
Piste Sarenne, Alpe d’Huez – photo © Laurent Salino
Situated on a plateau with a full south facing position at 1860m altitude, the summit is the Pic Blanc at 3330m which has panoramic views towards the Parc National des Ecrins and Mont Blanc.
Spring activities include BBQ parties, tandem paragliding rides or a flights across the mountains to Les 2 Alpes for a change of resort.
Paragliding © Les 2 Alpes Pyrène Duffau
A 7-night stay in a twin room at the 3-star Hotel Petit Prince hotel, on a half board basis, arriving 2nd April 2022, is from £1,181 pp, based on two sharing, and includes return flights from Bristol to Chambery and coach transfers (was £1250pp) Crystal 020 3451 2821, www.crystal.co.uk
Open until 1st May, it is one of the world’s highest resorts with an altitude from 1,600 m to 3,600 m.
It has an excellent snow record, well above average sunshine conditions and 223km of snow-sure ski slopes.
Les 2 Alpes – photo © Les 2 Alpes Pyrene Duffau
Spring activities include a glacier walk and a music festival.
You can also clamp on your crampons and go hiking on Les 2 Alpes’ Glacier 3200 or on one of the many glaciers in the Ecrins National Park.
Or you can just sit under the Umbrella bar and watch the world go by.
PlanetSKI is planning to be in the resort at the end of April so look out for our reports from there.
A 7-night stay at the centrally located 4-star Hotel Les Melezes, on a half board basis, arriving 9th April 2022, is from £1,368 pp, based on two sharing, and includes return flights from London Gatwick to Lyon and coach transfers. Inghams 01483 698099, www.inghams.co.uk
Vaujany is an authentic and modern family-friendly village, open until 22nd April.
It is located at 1,250m on a sunny plateau, facing the Grandes Rousses massif.
In the heart of Oisans, it is on the outskirts of the Ecrins National Park.
Vaujany is connected to the Alpe d’Huez ski area.
There’s snowshoeing and hiking on offer as well as skiing, while the sports and leisure centre offers a range of additional activities.
There are also two dedicated ski routes, reserved for experienced skiers, which can be enjoyed as the sun sets.
Sunset skiing – photo © Laurent Salino
A 7-night stay at the south-facing centrally located 4-star Les Edelweiss Residence, on self-catering basis, arriving 2nd April 2022, is from £1,156 per apartment and includes return Eurotunnel FlexiPlus. Peak Retreats 023 9283 9310, www.peakretreats.co.uk
Other resorts open in the Isère that are also open into April are: Villard de Lans (until 10th April 2022) and Chamrousse (until 18th April 2022
More information on the region can be found at www.alpes-isere.com
MAIN PHOTO: © Les 2 Alpes Pyrène Duffau