The suns out in London and the office is ripe with the talk of summer holidays. But for me, well… I’m still thinking about snowboarding!
There’s still snow above 2,000m and if you plan a spring trip correctly, you could have more fun than you’ve had all season. While driving towards the French Alps I see lake-sides packed with Parisians working on their sun tans and picnic attire, but I’m off to work on my goggle tan!
High up in those mountains there’s no crowds, the slushy midday conditions are ideal for beginners and snowboarders, and when else can you sit on a snowy alpine summit sipping cocktails and watching Brazilian dancers?
While it seems like a vast contrast in ideals and seasons, spring skiing in La Plagne is now my new favourite thing. And here’s why:
The Hot Sunny Days
You don’t normally identify skiing with sun loungers and beach parties, but this is exactly what you’ll find at La Plagne’s Subli’Cimes events. You can kick of your skis, shed the layers, and get into the Mix & Beach area – a summer seaside atmosphere on top of the snowy alpine peaks of France.
The notorious winter white-outs are nowhere to be seen and the blaring hot sun makes you want to sip coconut rum, bounce around a few beach balls, and get social with your fellow ski enthusiasts. Work on your goggle tan and enjoy a mid afternoon dance party with local DJs.
A Lack of Layers
Forget the trauma of kitting up in the mornings in spring. Forget thick sweaty socks and merino fleeces, all you’ll need this late in the season is your t-shirt and a shell jacket [so you’re not that person that gets burnt to a crisp]. It’s April and 15 degrees – you’d be mad to wear ski gear, right?
If you’re lucky you can even strip down to your tighty whiteys and kick back in a 6-person open air jacuzzi. Bliss.
Lack of Crowds
Hitting the slopes late season means uncrowded runs, little chance of lift queues, and the freedom to really let your hair down. Roll straight through that lift line and get a gondola to yourself. What’s more – if you’re lucky enough to score some fresh snow, you might even get to lay down the first tracks.
Don’t listen to those who say powder doesn’t fall in spring. Just yesterday (April 20) Loveland got 75cm.
The winter’s last gasp storm usually hits around the third week of April (when there are typically just a handful of lucky holidaymakers that get to reap the benefits!). As a result, great off-piste can be found right into early May, especially with the help of local guides.
More Daylight Hours
Longer days in spring means some resorts extend their opening hours. This equals longer later days skiing and late sunn après afternoons. What’s more, as the late afternoon sun beats down on those slopes the snow gets softer. Call it corn snow, or call it slush – either way it’s fun and forgiving. These spring conditions are best for beginners, and snowboarders.
The Extra Activities
Sledding, snowshoeing, outdoor parties, human bungees, crane jumps and spontaneous snowy games of rugby – it’s all happening outdoors in the spring. Forget sitting by the fire with a glass of glüwein (as lovely as it is). Get stuck into the great outdoors and make the most of the snow while it’s still around.
Recently the French ski resort of La Plagne launched their free Subli’Cimes end of season event. With six themed summits on six different peaks, you can have a different spring experience every day.
I travelled to La Plagne by train, and stayed at Hotel Araucaria care of Erna Low, and on behalf of the Ski Club of Great Britain.
Fares from London to Moutiers (Valmorel) and Aime (La Plagne) from £108 standard class return/person and can be booked at www.voyages-sncf.com or by phone at 0844 848 5848