The ski resorts that still have snow

20 April 2017 by
First published: 13 February 2017

Think you’ve missed ski season? Think again: here are the ski resorts that still have snow.

We’re sure we’re not the only ones who seriously rate skiing holidays, but if you’re worried you’ve missed the boat in terms of good snow and conditions, don’t fear. There are still plenty of resorts whose seasons extend well past March – and that’s only on this side of the Atlantic. Cross the pond and you’ll find still more resorts offering springtime powder that rivals that of peak season. What’s more, travelling off-peak equals a lot more sunshine (we’re looking at you, aprés ski), considerably quieter runs and lifts, and infinitely friendlier prices. All in all, it’s a win win. Read on to find out the ski resorts that still have snow – and much, much more.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Easily one of the most reliable resorts in Europe, Zermatt is open 365 days of the year. Based at 1,620m, it’s already one of the higher Swiss resorts, but it’s Europe’s highest ski lifts (reaching lofty heights of 3,899m) that make this resort so snow-sure. Not content at breaking one record, Zermatt is also home to the continent’s largest glacier ski area – the reason behind its year-round availability. Lying in the shadow of the magical Matterhorn – whose views only seem to better in the spring – Zermatt offers the full authentic ski experience with a car-free town, rustic feel and incomparable Alpine views. Resorts don’t come more snow-sure – or picture-perfect – than this.

Tignes, France

Served by the ginormous Espace Killy ski area – which offers consistent natural snowfall, plenty of north-facing terrain and two superb glaciers – Tignes is the reigning French resort for snow-sure skiing. Perched at an airy 2,100m, it’s already higher than some resorts can reach, but this is only the beginning. Tignes’ Grande Motte glacier towers at 3,400m, allowing the resort to remain open for nine months of the year – France’s longest season by nearly three months. With over 20km of runs and a famous vertical drop of over 750m, the glacier also plays host to enjoyable summer skiing, while a world-class network of ski lifts puts Val d’Isere in easy reach, too. Oh, and did we mention Tignes is regarded as one of the best party ski resorts? You’re welcome…

Banff, Canada

If the snow in Europe is waning, it’s a good idea to look across the pond. It may be pricier and a little further afield, but the snow can pay dividends and a change of scenery is a welcome bonus. One of our favourite resorts away from Europe is Banff, which enjoys one of the longest ski seasons in North America and is regarded as one of the best places in North America for spring skiing. Why? With 8,000 acres of skiable terrain at your feet, Banff’s size holds the answer. Its major ski area, Sunshine Valley, has a particularly impressive snow record, while a unique climate means it’s one of the few places to experience genuine champagne powder, the incredibly smooth and dry snow perfect for skiing.

Verbier, Switzerland

Another Swiss gem, Verbier’s high altitude of up to 3,330m means it’s renowned for late-season snow and reliability. It may be home to a vast majority of south-facing slopes, but the resort’s extensive snowmaking installations and high-tech snow cannons allow the resort to retain good snow cover. There is also consistently good natural snow on the upper slopes of the Mont Fort glacier. Testament to its snow quality, Verbier’s 2017 festival, Verbier Impulse, takes place between 15 and 17 April – much later than similar events in other resorts. What’s more, given Verbier’s expensive reputation, a springtime break might hold more benefits than just good snow: travelling outside of peak times might mean you can get a taste of the good life for considerably cheaper prices.

Val Thorens, France

Set at 2,300m, Val Thorens takes the crown of Europe’s highest major resort. Above, lifts rise to an impressive 3,200m where shaded, north-facing slopes packed with wintry snow can be found in abundance. While other resorts flounder in the earlier months of the season, Val Thorens is one of the most snow-sure from the start right through until May. So confident is the resort in its ability to provide perfect powder, Val Thorens even offers a snow guarantee (from November to May). Set amongst the huge 600km Three Valleys ski area, 99 per cent of slopes are above 2,000m; the highest of which garners around 6m of snowfall by Easter time. Add in two skiable glaciers – Péclet and Thorens – which consistently take the best snow, and it’s fair to say a lack of snow won’t be on your list of reasons why you didn’t make the first lift this morning (that’ll be your sore head).