Make the most of late winter/early spring skiing
Posted by - Alex Stott on Wed 30th January 2013
It’s already the end of January, but those of you who haven’t had a ski break yet don't need to panic; now's a great time to find some of the best offers on chalet holidays, as well as some excellent skiing conditions.
Though it's often thought that February and March aren’t as good as early winter for skiing, this isn't necessarily the case at all. Here’s an overview of just some of the benefits of a late winter ski break in the Alps, plus a few tips on how to adjust your clothing and equipment to the conditions.
This is one of the most obvious advantages to late winter/early spring skiing. The days are slowly drawing out, meaning you can really make the most of your ski break by spending longer on the slopes, before whiling away the sunnier evenings with a relaxing glass of wine.
On top of that, average temperatures are a touch milder at this time of year, so now is a great time for a ski break for anyone put off by frostier mid-winter conditions.
Because of these climatic changes, you’ll need to plan your ski routes carefully. Leave north and west-facing slopes for the afternoon as they'll be least affected by the temperature rises and will offer crisper snow as a result. By the same token, ski east and south-facing slopes in the morning, but remember to take care because lower parts of the runs may have iced over overnight if the previous day has been particularly warm.
February and March are fantastic months for taking the family on a chalet holiday and letting your kids loose on the slopes for the first time. Warmer temperatures are obviously slightly more pleasant for youngsters on their first ski break, and can also mean softer snow which makes controlling the skis just that little bit easier for beginners.
Clothing and Equipment
In terms of ski wear, the basics stay the same, with gloves, a helmet and goggles always recommended. As the day warms up, you might want to remove any thick layers of clothing, so it's a good idea to have a thinner top to put on that's wind and water-proof. Remember though, temperatures on the slopes can change in a matter of hours, so it's best to be prepared for any conditions, especially if you plan to ski above 2500m, where temperatures can be 7°C to 10°C lower than at the base station. Some equipment adjustments will also help you to enjoy your late winter/early spring ski break a little more. As mentioned above, higher temperatures can mean melting snow later on in the day, which may then freeze into ice over night. To prepare for potentially slippery conditions, make sure that you have your ski edges sharpened the night before. It's also a good idea to check that your bindings are clean and correctly set for your weight and ability. Skiing on soft spring snow can be slower, meaning you’ll apply less force on your bindings if you fall, so they may not function as quickly. Ski technicians at any of your resort’s labs will be able to adjust your bindings' settings to combat this, so that you can enjoy your holiday safely.