Winter has almost passed, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed the opportunity to go skiing this year! There are still some stunning ski resorts with good snow conditions for those craving a last-minute snowy easter break. And what’s more, you’re much more likely to enjoy relaxed sunny days on the slopes, rather than getting stuck in nasty February white-outs. Here are some of the best late season ski destinations in Europe.
Zermatt - Switzerland
Zermatt is undoubtedly the number one late season ski destination in Europe, especially for those with a slightly higher budget. Not only is Zermatt one of the most reliable late-season ski destinations, with its extensive high altitude slopes, but it is also home to the world famous Matterhorn (you will definitely recognise it, it’s the Toblerone mountain)! With 200 km of pistes from 1620-3820m in altitude, there are infinite runs to explore, you can even pop over the other side of the Matterhorn to Italy! The one downside is it’s better suited to intermediate and advanced skiers, so beginners will likely find the slopes tricky. Choices of slope-side restaurants range from the cheaper self service options to culinary gems like Chez Vrony. Seriously, if you go to Zermatt, book a table here. It’s very popular so I would highly recommend you have a reservation. Even in April you should be able to ski right down to the outskirts of the village, where you’ll arrive just outside a gorgeous hotel, Cervo, the perfect place for some après ski refreshments and a side of their infamous truffle oil and parmesan fries.
The resort itself is an idyllic typically swiss village that has been well adapted to suit tourists’ needs, yet still retains plenty of character. Want a tour of the village? Jump on one of their horse drawn carriages and enjoy the outstanding scenery and fresh mountain air. Really, if what you’re looking for is clean mountain air, Zermatt is the place to be. It is car-free, those arriving by car need to park 12 minutes away and get the train or a special taxi in.
Want to experience something a little different? Stay a couple nights at the Iglu-Dorf, it is basically an igloo village! Reconstructed every year at 2,727m it offers the most spectacular view of the Matterhorn. Or would you rather stay somewhere more standard? The Riffelalp Resort offers a ski-in ski-out experience, making it the ideal place to stay (or at least drop by for a delicious lunch). Get the celebrity treatment when you arrive, take of your ski boots and put on their hotel slippers, even if you’re just a restaurant guest!
In Mid-April (this year 9th-13th April) Zermatt draws in crowds for a fun music festival, Zermatt Unplugged. This year’s acts include talented musicians like Passenger, Alex Clare, James Bay, Michael Kiwanuka, Jessie J and Tom Odell. Although this does not affect the slopes too much in terms of overcrowding, it does mean you should book any accommodation well in advance if you visit at this time.
Levi - Finland
This ski-resort is vastly underrated, possibly due to its more limited pistes, with just 45 km of alpine runs. The majority of these are better suited to beginner and intermediate skiers, but for those looking for a challenge there are still 3 black runs, including a challenging World Cup run! For those concerned about altitude, this could be the perfect pick for you. At only 531m high, it is the ski resort’s location in the heart of the Finnish lapland that guarantees snow through until the beginning of May. No need for altitude sickness to enjoy late season ski! The view from summit is outstanding and unique, looking out into the horizon you’ll notice forests as far as the eye can see. Fun fact: Finland is actually 70% forests!
Compared to most resorts deep into mountain ranges, Levi is very close to an airport, only 20 minutes drive from Kittilä, making it practical and easily accessible when you arrive. But what makes your stay in Levi so memorable is the range of activities available. As well as snow park facilities with access to jumps and bars for the more adventurous skiers, there is also the option to keep skiing into the evening, with 17 out of the 43 slopes floodlit for night skiers. The resort has two childcare facilities, at the North and South point, where you can drop of children and enjoy a couple hours of uninterrupted ski. On top of that, at the South Point there is a kid’s play area, where you can borrow sleds or go up a ‘magic carpet’ to a doughnut slope (it’s as fun as it sounds), making it the ideal family getaway. Finland has a reputation for its excellent cross country trails and Levi has an abundance of these, with plenty of beautiful forest paths surrounding the resort.
Fancy a break from all the skiing? There’s still snowmobiling, reindeer farms, dog sledding and the Northern Lights to keep you occupied! Those looking for luxury stay, how about you stay in one of the glass igloos at The Golden Crown? If you’re on a budget, treat yourself to a dinner here at least and then retire to an Airbnb log cabin. This trip is not one you’ll easily forget, that’s for sure.
Obergurgl - Austria
With 112 km of slopes from one of the highest ski villages in Europe, Obergurgl (1,930m), up to the Hochgurgl glacier slopes reaching a mammoth 3080m, it’s no wonder this has become the go-to late season ski destination in Austria. Obergurgl-Hochgurgl is overall better suited to beginners and intermediates, but there are still neighbouring mountains with more challenging slopes on offer. The resort has two snow parks of varying ability, one is more suited to anyone wanting to try a couple tricks whilst the other is a more advanced, newly opened, terrain park for freestylers. There are also floodlit slopes for anyone who doesn’t want to day to end, open to both skiers and tobogganers!
On the mountain, Hohe Mut Alm is the go-to restaurant. A traditional wooden chalet with terraces overlooking panoramic views and a Tyrolean menu relying on local produce for a truly authentic experience. Obergurgl has developed a reputation as a family resort, but there are still opportunities to enjoy some après-ski and nightlife at Nederhutte and the Josl-keller.
Val Thorens - France
Val Thorens in the French Alps is the highest resort in Europe. Its very high altitude means that you should be able to ski right down to the doorstep slopes, even late season! Val Thorens has 140 km of pistes, more than enough to explore for a week skiing, but for those looking to explore further it is linked to rest of the Trois Vallées. Compared to the other resorts on this list, Val Thorens probably offers the most diverse range of slopes, catering to all levels of difficulty from beginners to experts, no wonder it’s so popular! There is also a world class terrain park, also separated into sections for varying abilities.
And guess what… It has a double zip line 1800m long. Just imagine, literally flying through the mountains! Age and height restrictions apply, but for younger family members there are still plenty of fun activities. Val Thorens is home to the longest toboggan slopes in Europe, providing 45 minutes of fun! And for toddlers there’s even a smaller, free and secure ‘baby fun’ toboggan area, making this resort a very family friendly destination.
As for gastronomy, you are truly stuffed for choice here, from Michelin starred restaurant Les Explorateurs down in the resort to stunning Chalet de la Marine high in the mountains, complete with a log fire and furry rugs.
Passo Tonale, Italy
As a glacier, Passo Tonale offers a longer season than most, with ski lifts going as high as 3030m and some slopes staying open until June! It offers a good selection of beginner and intermediate runs and is linked to Ponte Di Legno which has slightly more challenging and more attractive forest pistes. With 87km of downhill runs and 33km of crosscountry trails, these resorts combine to offer a wealth of slopes, with added snowmobiling and dog sledding opportunities to keep you entertained as well as outdoor ice skating rinks at the foot of the slopes. In general Ponte Di Legno is considered the more attractive resort, so how about you stay there and get the cable car over to Tonale when you fancy more slopes!
According to The Where to Ski and Snowboard guide, Passo Tonale is the mostly reasonably priced alpine resort, and that’s putting into consideration everything, from food to lift passes and equipment hire. So for those seeking a budget ski holiday in Easter, this is for you.
The closest airports are Verona, Milan, and Venice at about 2.5/3.5 hours away, extending the travel time. However for those looking to combine a late season ski trip with an easter Italian city getaway, you can always explore Venice for a couple days and then head for the mountains!
BRB. Just on skyscanner checking out flight prices…
Where would YOU want to go skiing this Easter?
Written by Jade Touron, follow her adventures on Instagram.