Glorious blue skies, warm temperatures and long days are what you can expect if you hit the piste in March and April. A late-season ski trip is also more cost-effective for South African travellers on a budget, explains Sue Garrett, Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) South Africa Product and Marketing General Manager.
“Although in some ski areas the ski season closes at the end of March, there are a number of destinations that remain open until May and even beyond. Skiing in March and April should be more popular among South Africans because it’s one of the best times to ski, there’s still plenty of snow, the days are longer, the weather is clearer, and it’s more affordable,” says Garrett.
Here are a few more top ski resort picks for the late ski season courtesy of Flight Centre:
Val Thorens, France
Location: 3 Vallées ski area
Altitude: 2,200m to 3,200m
Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Expert and Snowboarders
With the distinction of being the highest ski resort in Europe, and located within the world’s largest ski area with over 600km of runs, Val Thorens is surrounded by no fewer than six glaciers providing a spectacular backdrop for a rewarding ski trip.
Ideal for freestyle skiing and advanced skiers, Val Thorens also offers fantastic facilities for beginners. Its high altitude allows you to get on to nursery slopes with minimal hassle and there’s even a 40-hectare cocoon for beginners and special ski-lift passes. And after the fun on the slopes has come to an end for the day, the famous Folie Douce is undisputedly the ultimate party spot for après ski.
Location: Livigno Ski Area
Altitude: 1,816m to 2,950m
Level: Beginner and intermediate
The high-altitude of Livigno means snow is generally reliable late into the season, in fact up until May, and it is a very affordable ski area that is popular among South Africans. Most of the pistes are easy and there is a wide array of nursery slopes for beginners.
Enjoy a traditional Alpine atmosphere and, when you’re not on the slopes, the duty-free shopping in town and the natural thermal springs in Bormio remain worthy distractions. What’s more, Livigno cannot but help injecting a little Italianissimo in everything it does. Expect delicious Italian cuisine and a gioia di vivere you’ll struggle to find elsewhere.
While these are just some of the ski destinations you could consider during the late ski season, there are several others in France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy worth considering.
“You’ll want to consider all aspects like difficulty and time in getting there, whether you can rent ski equipment or whether it is supplied free with your package, and what the actual village offers in terms of facilities in addition to that offered by your resort,” says Garrett.
“We highly recommend you choose an all-inclusive resort for your ski holiday, especially when you’re a first-time skier. All the details, including airport transfers, ski equipment and sometimes even free lessons at the ski school are taken care of in these all-inclusive packages. It really just takes the guess work out of putting together a ski holiday, and it’s almost always more value for money.”