Ski late and save thousands.
The sun returns soon to the snowy Alps, and this is the time that canny skiers love – few crowds, sunshine skiing, no lift queues, longer daylight hours and lifts open longer. Late season is low season, so accommodation and lift passes cost considerably less.So we ask those in the know how to get the best deals.
Good Ski Guide Editor John Hill, a veteran with 50 years skiing experience, loves visiting Austria in the Spring where the glaciers excel with sunshine skiing till noon, then it is down the mountain for an après ski radler and maybe a bike round the lake – or in Zell am Zee for the nearby Kaprun Glacier and maybe a round of mountain golf later.
My favourite is the Stubai Glacier, just half an hour from Innsbruck, as it has longish runs from 3,000 metres then hearty mountain food before I retire to the famous Jagdhof Hotel in nearby Neustift for a snooze and a rub in their award-winning spa.
Also do not forget there is snow in the Highlands of Scotland and usually fine skiing on Cairngorm until May, and for fitness freaks the chance to go mountain biking or hiking after ski.
Saving the best for last – Lake Louise in Canada has it all. Fabulous skiing on a massive, European-sized mountain, and so unbusy is it that you would be able to count in the tens the numbers on the slopes. So few around you could suffer slight agoraphobia and no waiting at restaurants and bars
If luxury chalets are your choice consult the experts at The Oxford Ski Company, whose skiholic boss is Rupert Longsdon (lead picture) personally tests all the accommodation and services, and for late-season keenies Oxford has some sensational bargains, saving you and your group many thousands of pounds.
“Offering a good price, great service and for the last few weeks Val d’Isere has some of the best high- altitude skiing combined with the right attitude and altitude to the very end,” says Rupert.
Oxford have Europe’s pick of luxury properties and hotels and are masters of the group, whether for families or City slickers out for a blow-out last-of-season weekend. Rupert’s late-season favourites are:
5-12 April – Chalet Grande Corinche, Les Gets in the Portes de Soleil area, £11,500 (From original asking £26,800 –£15,300 discount!!) and the luxe chalet sleeps 12, and boasts views of Mont Blanc – even from the spa or outdoor jacuzzi. And spoiled guests can enjoy the services of a host, chauffeur and chef.
Chalet Shemshak, Courchevel 1850 – Price £28,000 (from £39,950) sleeps 13 people and is alpine- chic at its best with Ski In and Ski Out access, as well as walking distance of the famous boutiques. The wellness floor features a large swimming pool with panoramic views, separate Jacuzzi, sauna, hammam and state of the art gym. Guests are looked after by host/hostess, experienced chef and chauffeur.
12-19 April Chalet Chopine, Meribel £8,500 (From £10,500) has a sauna, shower, hammam and large bubbling Jacuzzi . Next door is a home cinema with the very latest films.
Chalet Elephant Blanc, Val d’Isere, with blue Solaise piste on its doorstep – £9,000 (From £12,500) – shorter 5-day stay 12-17 April.
19- 26 April Luxury chalet Lafitenia, Val d’Isere is near the slopes with breathtaking views of the Valley. £995 per person
26 April – 3 May week Chalet Mistral, Val d’Isere – Price £995 per person
Oxford’s Rupert also gives a heads-up – Beware resorts that say they are open, but just have one token lift running!