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Skiing in Europe, in early April

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone


I'm looking for some guidance.  I'm in Europe right now and would like to sneak in a couple days of skiing in the beginning of April.  I would be with my wife, who is a beginner.  I have not been skiing in a couple of years but used to be a moderate to advanced level.   I'm looking for a nice resort with a wide range of skiing levels, plus a nice atmosphere for hanging out and enjoying the ski life, not necessarily partying all night.  I would love for it to be closer to Italy so we might be able take some time and tour the countryside after.


Would like to keep costs in check, but if there is a must ski place I'll pay the money as I might never get the chance to ski in Europe again.


Thanks for any help and advice!

post #2 of 8

Never skied Italy, so second hand info:  you want to look for higher elevation resorts, this could mean ruling out some of the more famous places, but I could be wrong about that depending on local conditions.  Believe this has been a fairly decent winter for snow conditions across much of the Alps.  

Maybe Livigno, it has a rep as one of the more snowsure Italian ski areas in springtime?  check this website, link to Livigno analysis, but scouting the WTSS website could provide you with ideas on many other destinations.  http://www.wheretoskiandsnowboard.com/resorts/Livigno

Also, check what they say about Cervinia, another good late season Italian choice.


This article might give you some ideas on some of the better non-Italian spring skiing in the Alps:



There are some residents of northern Italy who post on epicski fairly regularly, perhaps they will chime in with suggestions and the status of how this spring is shaping up for skiing in the Alps.  Otherwise, you could also ask your question at www.snowheads.com , a mostly British site with lots of knowledgeable Euro skiers.


Good luck, with the glaciers and so many choices you should be able to find some very enjoyable April skiing in the Alps.  Welcome to Epicski.

post #3 of 8

Snow conditions have been very good across Europe but April is a long way off. The Southern side of the Alps as occupied by Italy can lose snow early in milder weather. Cervinia and Livigno should be ok for snow but how about just over the Swiss border from Cervinia (you can ski into Italy) at Zermatt. Reliable high level with galcier skiing just in case. Also a bit cheaper in the parallell valley there's Saas Fee. Neither is cheap as Switzerland is an expensive destination but both have great snow and lots to do off the slopes. Saas Fee has the smaller ski area but some great easy skiing that should suit your wife. Both also have some of the most stunning scenery. 

post #4 of 8

Good advice so far- is your wife a first timer or is she comfortable on most beginner runs already?  Where are you based in Europe?   These might make a difference on where you should go.  


Different people have different takes on this, but there are four colors in the European grading system for slope difficulty- green, blue, red and black.  IMO, from what I have seen in France, greens are the bunny slopes, blues range from harder beginner slopes to easier intermediate slopes and reds range from moderate intermediate slopes to easier advanced slopes.  If your wife is a never ever, you will likely want to look for a place to stay that has easy access the ski school and some green slopes/magic carpets and short beginner lifts.  If she feels comfortable on all greens and easier blues in the US, she can likely handle most blues over there- might be best to tell her it is the same as greens here.


Most of the UK is out of school the week leading up to and after Easter (8 April)- not as busy as half term, but you might find a bit better deals before March 31 or after April 14- best deals are typically for week long trips mostly Sat-Sat with a few Sun-Sun although some places will do shorter breaks.  For destination resorts, Saturday can be the least busy day and some places offer lift ticket deals then.  (While the places close to cities can be more crowded on weekends)  Sundays tend to be the most crowded as it is the first day of many peoples holidays and a weekend for local skiers.


You are far enough along in the season that it is important to look at both who has a good base build up currently and who has a reputation for being good in the Spring (many of the higher French resorts with glaciers like Tignes/Val d`Isere but also places like Les Arcs and 3 Vallees as well as some of the Austrian resorts)- the good news is that many of these places have a substantial base build up which can expand your choices, but I am not sure about the Italian side.





post #5 of 8

I favor the high altitude resorts.  The two I would recommend have what you are looking for but are both on the pricey side - Val D'Isere and Zermatt.  Hotels in Val D'Isere are expensive but you can save a lot of money by renting an apartment (the Pierre et Vacances website is a good place to start).  You want to be close to Italy?  At Zermatt you can ski to Italy as there is a common lift ticket with Cervinia.  Or perhaps save money by staying in Cervinia, although Zermatt has the more interesting town.


You can probably get a last minute booking the time you are going so maybe check snow conditions in Mid-March and make the call then.  I'll be in Val D'Isere 17 to 24 March.

post #6 of 8

Surprised no one has mentioned Chamonix yet.  If you are coming from America it's one of the easiest places to get to--45 minutes from Geneva airport by van.  A real, old town. The Vallee Blanche run can be done by a good intermediate and should be on anyone's bucket list.  Not as expensive as a lot of places--my son and I shared a good room in the center of town for 75 euros last season. The Mont Blanc Unlimited pass, which includes Courmayeur and the Aiguille du Midi is close to half the price of some North American lift passes.  Even the guides, which you'll need for the Vallee Blanche and highly advisable to ski off piste, especially from the top of the Grand Montets, aren't that expensive if you sign up at the guides bureau to be put in a group.  Courmayeur and the Val d'aosta in Italy are a short bus trip through the tunnel. Courmayeur has an excellent ski area. April is a good month to go. The disadvantages--relatively crowded (the gondola to the top of the GM often books up well ahead of time, unless you're with a guide) and the numerous ski areas are either a long walk or a (free) bus ride from the center of town and from each other. (the GM is farther away, in the village of Argentiere.)

post #7 of 8
Well, the southern side of the Alps, namely the Italian one, has not had the share of snowfalls that you all think of.
Yes, tons of snow have fallen from the ski, but in central and southern italy, on the plains and the hills. Where the high temperatures have melted it all in few weeks.
The Italoian Alps have received barely enough snow and cold temp to allow for on piste skiing, but, if hte current temperature rising continues and no further precipitation will
occour...better to go to the beach, by end of March there wil lbe not much left to ski on. Besides, this whole winter has started rather badly, a lot of man made snow around, and now the dayly thaw-freeze cycle has converted it into a hard as rock mantle.

So, plan carefully, check weather forecast and pray for snow. If you aim is to come and ski in the italian Alps.
I regret to have to say it, but..better you make alternative plans and come to ski here next season.
OTOH If you plan to visit Italy, its cities travel thought it for a while, well, no problem, do come!
post #8 of 8

If you are renting a car, it is not unreasonable to ski where they have gotten snow in France or possibly Austria and then drive to Italy.  From Chamonix it is only a long tunnel away and it isn`t unreasonable from other areas as well.

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