When to ski in the AlpsIn the Alps you can ski all year around. There are several glaciers where the snow never melts. The snow falls early on the highest located ski resorts, in some already by the end of August. However, you will still have the best skiing experience during the winter.
Since the Alps cover such a large area it is difficult to clearly define when the season starts and ends. The major ski resorts usually open their ski lifts by the end of November or early December. This does mark the ‘official opening’ of the winter season. Val Thorens, which is the ski resort that is located highest above sea level in Europe, is usually among the first to open. Zermatt in Switzerland and Livigno in Italy usually open around this time of the year as well, if the weather conditions are good. By mid-December it often snows massively in the high mountains and the off-piste skiers start to gather. Most ski resorts can more or less guarantee that their slopes are open around Christmas. Still, during years of poor weather conditions with little precipitation, it might of course differ, in particular for ski resorts in the southern Alps and for those on low altitude.
High season really takes off from mid-January. By then, the snow coverage is good on most destinations. During February, the Alps are at their best. You no longer need to worry about poor snow cover. From February to March the skiing conditions are often excellent, but it can get crowded in both ski slopes and bars.
Good weather conditions is a factor that contributes to the overall success of your ski holiday. The number of sunshine that you can expect during the day will increase as you get closer to spring, but still, don’t wait too long. Some ski resorts, like the French resort of Serre Chevalier, can face melting snow already by the end of March. Val d’Isère and Chamonix are better options at this time of year. S:t Anton, in Austria, is a good choice if you search for a place where the sun often shines, in several studies made, they’ve come out as number one. Even here, the snow cover will start to vanish by the end of March. Around mid-April the skiing season in the European Alps basically comes to an end. Some ski resorts, like Val Thorens, that are located on high altitude will still have some snow for a while, but more and more resorts will now close.
The spring and the summer months in the Alps are at least as beautiful as the winter months. If you decide to visit the area during the summer you are bound to have a memorable vacation. Try the excellent foot paths and experience the Alps from a new perspective. Did you know that the region actually has the most visitors during the summer?