10th April 2023 | James Cove, PlanetSKI
We’re on the road for a few weeks starting in France before heading over to Switzerland and then perhaps Austria. Why ski in April you may ask? Well, it’s one of the finest times to be in the mountains in our view. Here’s why… NEW
We’re sticking to the high-altitude resorts where there is often plenty of snow, loads of sun and sometimes all four seasons in a day.
It offers a completely different experience to skiing in the depths of winter
First stop Chamonix.
We planned to visit for three days, but extended our stay to five days.
It is like no other place in the mountains in our humble opinion.
One can compare Val d’Isere to Verbier.
St Anton to Courchevel.
Even Zermatt to Aspen.
Or perhaps La Grave to Alta or Jackson Hole.
But nowhere compares to what the Chamonix Valley offers.
We have detailed the snow conditions on a daily basis in the updated and rolling PlanetSKI snow report that ran through last week:
We have had powder, ice, slush, sun, cloud and a variety of conditions.
The Brevant and Flegere areas had full snow cover with few people around.
Les Houches had some fresh snow to go with its spectacular views.
Argentiere also had full coverage, though sadly no powder.
Though, this being Spring, it was a bit bare at the bottom.
Of course we love skiing first lift to last lift, but we do that in mid-winter.
In Spring it is icy first thing and slushy by mid-afternoon.
So, there is no need to head off early to catch the first lift.
Rather have a lie-in and start the day with a leisurely breakfast.
Especially if one is staying at the Hotel Richemond.
More of the hotel Richemond later – lets just say it is a unique hotel that oozes alpine history and is one of favouite places to stay in Chamonix, if not the Alps.
At the end of the day at this time of year there it is time for other relaxing activities once the snow gets soft.
How about the QC Terme?
One day we forfeited skiing completely to head up the Aiguille du Midi.
We have passed through it quickly many times when heading off piste to ski the Vallee Blanche and its various routes down.
This time we want to take it all in and be tourists.
The views are simply breathtaking.
Then in the afternoon there was time for exploring the town and enjoying its unique atmosphere.
This being Chamonix you’d expect the market to be full of outdoor kit.
This being France you expect some local delicacies too.
On our final day it was back on snow at the end of the Chamonix Valley – La Tour and Vallorcine.
This is PlanetSKI’s third visit to Chamonix this winter as we have the Ikon Pass which allows us to access its skiing:
I passed through on an earlier road trip in January when I went out with a mountain guide with my son, Alex and his partner, Marie.
They were trying the Chamonix self-catering option rahter than the Hotel Richemond:
So, where next on the PlanetSKI Spring ski road trip?
We were planning on heading to La Thuile in Italy through the nearby Mont Blanc tunnel, but we binned that to stay longer in Chamonix.
We’re now heading across to Les3Vallees – first to Les Menuires for a few days and then heading up to Val Thorens which still has several weeks of its season left.
It is the highest resort in the Alps at 2,300m so there should be plenty of snow and it closes for the season on May 9th.
We are also joining Snow Camp’s 3 Valleys Rally this coming weekend.
Then we’re planning to head to Zermatt in Switzerland which offers skiing through the summer if conditions allow.
April is usually fabulous and we have been many times.
The Swiss resort is also on the Ikon Pass so no need to fork out any extra money for ski passes.
Then we hope to go to the Tirol in Austria where five glacier areas around Innsbruck are open into May and several non-glacier areas are open to the end of April.
There will be snow and there will be plenty of alpine adventures.
Skiing isn’t over for us yet – not by a long way.
Do check back….