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Europe in early April?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Is it possible to find some decent skiing in the Alps in early April? At best I'm expecting a crap shoot, if it's anything like the Rockies.

What are the best bets for my wife, son (11), and I to spend a few days skiing as part of a larger spring break holiday? We are comfortable on most terrain, but my wife avoids the steep steeps.

Any advice??

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 10
In the Savoie area of France (where the 1992 Winter Olympics were held) both Tignes and Val Thorens are fairly safe bets for snow. Neither will be the most attractive village you have ever stayed in, but they are 'functional' and offer plenty skiing for varying abilities. Val Thorens (the highest part of Les Trois Vallees ski area ... biggest linked ski area in the world) usually closes at the beginning of May and Tignes's winter season finishes around late April ... it is the neighbouring resort of Val D'Isere & part of the same Espace Killy lift system. Tignes has a glacier which is open through the summer.
post #3 of 10
Plenty of good spring skiing.

Pick areas with high and/or north-facing skiing. Val/Tignes, 3 Vallees (Val Thorens, Meribel, Courchevel), Zermatt, etc.....

For example, Zermatt is one great choice and sets expecatations on their website. See Spring Skiing http://www.ski-zermatt.com/winter.html

First half of April. Expect good skiable snow above 2000m generally, which is 85% of Zermatt's area. Powder snow normally softens within a day when it falls. The final kilometre descent to the village from the Sunnegga area (below Patrullarve) will normally be closing due to lack of snow. Skiing to Furi (1850m) and from there to Zermatt should still be possible due to snowmaking and its northerly orientation.
post #4 of 10
As part of a good spring Break ISOLA (French Alps)is around 1 1/2 hours from Nice. So you can combine the beach and the snow. However the snow can vary in April. Some years its great spring skiing others all the snow is gone. Its a pretty souless place but functional. The skiing will not blow your mind but it will do for a few days.
post #5 of 10
I'd second the higher altitude resorts. Zermatt is a very good bet. I spent a week there a few years back with my family during the 3rd week in April and we had plenty of good skiing for everyone. We could ski to town from Furi...yes it was sloppy in the afternoon. Download on Sunegga but everything above there was great. Good skiing and pasta in Cervinia too! Great experience for your family.
post #6 of 10
BASI run instructor courses in Zermatt until May, so you can be reasonably sure of a decent ski.

Season before last I skied in Meribel in more than two feet of powder on my 44th birthday ... 17 April.

But that's unusual. Go high - Tignes, Val d'Isere, Val Thorens, Zermatt ... or go glacier. Hintertux in Austria is a reasonable call, too.
post #7 of 10
Early April any resort at or above 5000 ft will hold enough snow - no specific neeed for a glacier really.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks!! This info is very helpful. I've checked out all of the mountains mentioned and it looks like it's going to be a difficult choice. My son is very interested in the Zermatt/Cervinia option... the idea of skiing in two countries in one day is pretty cool. All look good.

Does anyone have experience hiring a guide for some off-piste exploration? My family would not be interested in going any place gnarly... just perhaps to get off the beaten path. Would it be worth it?

post #9 of 10

Off piste guide

If you end up in Zermatt and want to do some off piste, definitely get a guide. You can book guides through the Alpine Zentrum. Go to the Zermatt website, www.zermatt.ch. That has all of the info you'll need. There are some great off piste routes ranging from mild to very tough. The only caveat would be to make sure that the off piste conditions are worth skiing. If it hasn't snowed in a long time, or if the wind has hammered everything etc. you'll spend a fair amount of $ and not have much fun skiing. However, if there is good snow to be had, they will know where it is and get you to it and back safely.
If you're staying in Zermatt, you can also book a Cervinia guide. Worth looking into. They aren't limited to just the Italian side and vice versa with the Zermatt guides. I've hit some of the best corn snow ever on the Italian side.
post #10 of 10
The Arlberg (St Anton Lech Zurs) is very good in early April.Some of the best snow of the year can be had up high. Most folk ski in the mornings & then relax in the sun in afternoon when the snow becomes soft.
Easter is early this year so the first week of April will be little more busy but nothing like peak season in February.
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