It's funny to think that skiing – one of mankind's earliest forms of travel, first documented in Norwegian cave carvings dating to 5,000 BC – not only still exists, but is in fact more popular than ever. Ironically, what began as a necessary adaptation to travelling in snowy climes, has today become characterized as the recreation of choice for the super rich. Of course, the wealthy and titled aren't the only ones who can ski, and aren't the only ones who do – skiing's popularity is broad because it's primal. As one die-hard ski fan explained it to me, "It's the closest I've ever been to flying". Fair enough.
But then, that's old news to any of the world's millions of dedicated skiers, so let's get to the point: as addictive a past time as skiing is, it's also one of the most beholden to the whims of mother nature. And when spring's warmer weather starts to creep up the slopes, the happy-fun-ski-time party tends to come to a grinding (or slushing, as the case may be) halt.
Well, never fear – HomeAway is here, laden not only with some excellent options for late-season skiing, but a smörgåsbord of rental options in each location. Whether you want a luxury lodge tricked out with hot tub and sauna, or a tranquil, minimalist chalet with only pines and crags for neighbours, HomeAway's got you covered.
Spring Ski Breaks
Spring ski holidays in Austria: Salzburg
Austria is perfect for spring ski holidays, particularly sophisticated Salzburg. Thousands of enthusiasts take to the resort's slopes every year, whether for skiing, sledging or snowboarding! Winter sports have been rooted in Austrian culture since their inception. You're promised picturesque valleys and excellent conditions in the Alps, with the season typically running from December to March. Skiing aside, another famous Salzburg attraction is its hot springs, which can be found near Zell am See, a beautiful town in the Pinzgau region.
View chalets in Salzburg
Spring ski holidays in France: The Three Valleys
The Three Valleys, or Les Trois Vallées, are, quite literally, some of the best skiing in the world. Spilling into the Vanoise National Park, together they make up the largest skiing resort in the world – a whopping 600 kilometres of spectacular slopes, linked to each other with a network of lifts and runs. The area's eight resorts include Courchevel and Saint Martin de Belleville, two spectacular vista points. And while the ski season varies, the resort itself boasts of its spring skiing potential, and snow through April is typical.
Spring ski holidays in Switzerland: Graubünden
Graubünden, in south-east Switzerland, inhabits a unique intersection of cultures: the locals speak German, but the tempo of life is undeniably Italianate. An eclectic and fascinating skiing region, it boasts over 2,200 kilometres of piste, 40 skiing areas, and peaks over 3,000 metres high. Graubünden is also one of your best bets for late season snow: the snow season is often expected, at most of the near resorts, to last through April. Of course, the breathtaking backdrop of snow-capped mountains also provides the perfect opportunity to relax: enjoy a sauna or jacuzzi, before (or, hell, while) indulging in a Swiss hot chocolate.
Spring ski holidays in Canada: Whistler
Whistler, widely regarded as one of the best skiing destinations in the world, makes for a can't-miss spring ski holiday, as its season generally runs from October to May. It spans over 8,000 acres of skiing area, a mix of high open slopes and woodland trails, and contains some of the most impressive vistas in Canada. A fantastic challenge for advanced skiers, it also provides a range of runs for intermediates and beginners. And don't miss Whistler Village, a pedestrian-only town renowned for its après-ski.
Spring ski holidays in Italy: Sondrio/Livigno
The Lombardy region of northern Italy is a great option for those seeking a spring ski holiday; particularly the Sondrio province, and its picturesque capital, also called Sondrio. There are many ski resorts to choose from in Lombardy, Aprica and Livigno being two of the best. Aprica is ideal for beginners, located 1,200 metres high and rich in wide, gentle slopes (although more challenging options are available). Livigno, meanwhile, located 1,816 metres high, is known for plentiful spring sunshine. Regional variations notwithstanding, the Sondrio ski season typically runs through late April.
View chalets in Lombardy