Wondering whether skiing in April is worthwhile? It most certainly is! It is one of the best times of the season and there are some good deals out there to be had. Here are my top 5 tips, which I hope will make your spring skiing holiday one of your most memorable.
1. Start Early
Even though you are on holiday and like to sleep in, it is best to get up early and enjoy the slopes before the sun hits them too hard and makes them into slushy mega bumps. So set your alarm clock a bit earlier than usual, so you can get on the first lift. You will appreciate this when you’re hitting the slopes and suddenly find yourself alone, with just a few other early birds around you and the piste is like a well ironed shirt.
2. Stop Early
Okay, to get the best out of the day, I’m also telling you to stop early and this is why… The snow typically gets very heavy and bumpy around 12pm, so this is what I suggest. Take a short break in the middle of the morning for something to drink, then stop at a nice restaurant for a late lunch, around 1:30 – 2pm, then sit and enjoy a nice meal (hopefully in the sun) and ski down afterwards for a relaxing afternoon. It still gives you about 5 hours’ worth of quality skiing.
3. Start Low
Chances are the lower runs back down to the village will be the first ones to get hit by the sun’s rays, that means they will also be the first ones to get slushy, but if you get one or two runs in before that happens, then you can move up high, later on, where it’s been colder and the snow is holds up for longer. You will not meet many people doing the same thing (unless they also read these tips), because people typically go straight for the high runs. So down low is where the quality snow will be in the morning and you will get your best runs of the day.
4. Move with the Sun
Depending on what aspect the majority of the ski runs face, will also dictate where to start and where to finish. You want to start where the sun’s rays are hitting the slopes first, which is East and then move along the runs facing South and finish of in the afternoon on the runs facing West and North. This strategy will make sure that the snow is also the nicest as you move along and gives you the most pleasant runs.
5. Hire a Guide
There is also a lot great backcountry skiing in the spring, which is also called: Spring Skiing (English), Corn Skiing (American) and Firn (German), just so you know what I’m talking about! If you ever headed backcountry you know it’s the best feeling, because it’s makes your skiing so easy and effortless. It’s just like butter, after it’s been out of the fridge for about 10min – the surface is nice and soft (1-2cm) and further down it’s still hard so it supports you. But to get to this kind of snow, it’s best to hire a guide. The guide will first of all take care of the safety, but he or she also knows exactly when and where to be, so that you get the best & safest skiing experience. By taking the time and spending a little money on a reputable guide you will be sure that your spring ski holiday will stand out from the rest.
Now that you have a couple of tips, I hope that you will head to the slopes over the next couple of weeks and make the most of your holiday. And if you followed my tips, you will also come home and tell your friends and colleagues that it was one of your best ski holidays – ever!
Torben is a ski instructor/guide in the Skischool Arlberg in St Anton, where he has worked for the past 16 seasons. As well as teaching day to day ski school, Torben specializes in backcountry guiding.