Best Spring Skiing near Swiss Alps? French Alps?

Best Spring Skiing near Swiss Alps? French Alps?

Started by EMT760 in Switzerland - 8 Replies

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EMT760 posted 04-Feb

Planning a trip to Mt. Blanc or Zermatt in mid-April. I'm told either Zermatt or Chamonix will offer the best skiing around mid-April. If I choose Zermatt, I could get a better " swiss alps experience" Both are spectacular in their own rights, I'm sure.

Will be taking the train from Paris to Geneva.

thoughts?
Edited 4 times. Last update at 04-Feb-2020

Sonofapreacher
reply to 'Best Spring Skiing near Swiss Alps? French Alps?'
posted 06-Feb

Both are spectacular mountain towns and you really feel the mountain presense in both.
Chamonix mountains are so big but the piste skiing is relatively limited for its sizs, plus it is spread out along the valley meaning buses, cars or trains are the options. Grand Montet used to be a resort in itself but with one lift out of action that compromises the pistes, imo.
Chamonix off piste is another ball game though and if you are guided then you are in another world.
Big vibrant mountain town and everyone should go there once...but maybe when they fix the lifts. Do not expect skiing convenient but if you had locals, then you could get to Du midi and Courmayuer and beyond.

Zermatt, also a mountain town, but carless. Again, everyone should go there once...and the 3 ski sectors are closer and a short bus between. you could even walk them if fit.
High enough for glacial skiing.

If it were me, for piste skiing convenience, id choose Zermatt out of the two. If ski touring then Chamonix.

Personally, too, id just get to GVA and see where the snow is...plenty of options down the Swiss Rhone valley, and also the french side, even the Tarentaise.
Unless Easter you'll find rooms somewhere, imv.

EMT760
reply to 'Best Spring Skiing near Swiss Alps? French Alps?'
posted 06-Feb

Sonofapreacher wrote:Both are spectacular mountain towns and you really feel the mountain presense in both.
Chamonix mountains are so big but the piste skiing is relatively limited for its sizs, plus it is spread out along the valley meaning buses, cars or trains are the options. Grand Montet used to be a resort in itself but with one lift out of action that compromises the pistes, imo.
Chamonix off piste is another ball game though and if you are guided then you are in another world.
Big vibrant mountain town and everyone should go there once...but maybe when they fix the lifts. Do not expect skiing convenient but if you had locals, then you could get to Du midi and Courmayuer and beyond.

Zermatt, also a mountain town, but carless. Again, everyone should go there once...and the 3 ski sectors are closer and a short bus between. you could even walk them if fit.
High enough for glacial skiing.

If it were me, for piste skiing convenience, id choose Zermatt out of the two. If ski touring then Chamonix.

Personally, too, id just get to GVA and see where the snow is...plenty of options down the Swiss Rhone valley, and also the french side, even the Tarentaise.
Unless Easter you'll find rooms somewhere, imv.


Great post. It looks like Zermatt will close a bit early around the time I'm there. Basically the last few days, Charmonix will be open till early May. From the looks of your information, the " Plan Jordan" lift is the only option up the slopes. Which is mostly blues and beginner areas if I'm mistaken? Mainly the " Bochard " area and below to the right side of the mountian.

Sonofapreacher
reply to 'Best Spring Skiing near Swiss Alps? French Alps?'
posted 06-Feb

Do indeed check closing times but Zermatt goes well over 3000mtrs on 3 sectors, ircc so surprised if the closed early. They do offer glacier skiing too so that alone should extend the season from Kliene matterhorn cable station.
Assuming the close of season is correct, and Chamonix is your choice, then there 3 sectors...4 if you count Le houche...opps, forgot le tour too, but my fave was Grand Montet as it is basically a ski anywhere big bowl.
The cable car at GM had a fire but i think the plan chair survived. There is a lot of uplift lost so this serverely compromises getting out the valley there.
Once up there, it is not a huge area in terms of km runs, but then i wouldnt call it a piste area either because if that is what you do, youll likely run out of pistes.
Brevent/Flagere is an option too.

I love Chamonix but i think there are better piste resorts... and i would think there are better options piste wise...maybe Val/tignes are ooen late and Val thorens too..
both about 3 hrs by bus from gva..less if you hire a car..

EMT760
reply to 'Best Spring Skiing near Swiss Alps? French Alps?'
posted 06-Feb

Sonofapreacher wrote:Do indeed check closing times but Zermatt goes well over 3000mtrs on 3 sectors, ircc so surprised if the closed early. They do offer glacier skiing too so that alone should extend the season from Kliene matterhorn cable station.
Assuming the close of season is correct, and Chamonix is your choice, then there 3 sectors...4 if you count Le houche...opps, forgot le tour too, but my fave was Grand Montet as it is basically a ski anywhere big bowl.
The cable car at GM had a fire but i think the plan chair survived. There is a lot of uplift lost so this serverely compromises getting out the valley there.
Once up there, it is not a huge area in terms of km runs, but then i wouldnt call it a piste area either because if that is what you do, youll likely run out of pistes.
Brevent/Flagere is an option too.

I love Chamonix but i think there are better piste resorts... and i would think there are better options piste wise...maybe Val/tignes are ooen late and Val thorens too..
both about 3 hrs by bus from gva..less if you hire a car..



Understood. I'll be traveling with my uncle he's in his 60's i'm 32. Both skiers, I showed him "Valle de blanc" off-piste/groomers run. It's classified as " Reds" me being an American, we don't really use " red" mostly Blue or Black, Black Diamonds to classify runs. I would say I'm an intermediate blue. It really depends on the ski's and runs. Right now I feel most comfortable on Nordica Enforcer 88's. I'm just wondering if the pistes at Charmonix are limited if that could be an option. He is scared to ski off-piste, rightfully so. I think I could do something like that if was the " classic route". ( easiest)
Edited 1 time. Last update at 06-Feb-2020

Sonofapreacher
reply to 'Best Spring Skiing near Swiss Alps? French Alps?'
posted 06-Feb

France typically closing around 25/04/2020..Val T into May, i think.
Zermatt 03/05/2020...??

Sonofapreacher
reply to 'Best Spring Skiing near Swiss Alps? French Alps?'
posted 07-Feb

The Vallee Blanche is an off piste variant run from the Ag du midi cable. This goes to 3843mtrs...very high.
This is high mountain alpine terrain and not patrolled although it is big guiding business to do it. This variant is pretty much a track and if you can sideslip and turn, it is easy, imv. The reason ppl do it is because of the scenery you can get amongst..quite amazing and spectacular...seriously.
The run itself is not taxing, imv. Other variants are more interesting skiwise, like Envers, but i dont think you should consider that. There eoukd be guided grouos from the guides office but you should pick a bluebird day...as you wouldn't want to be up there otherwise.

I think Zermatt is closer to what americans expect from a ski resort but if you are open, both can be azmazing experiences.
Google Vallee blanche descents... epic day out if you've not skied in those types terrains before.

OldAndy
reply to 'Best Spring Skiing near Swiss Alps? French Alps?'
posted 07-Feb

With what you are saying about your uncle and your wishes/ability I would consider Tignes for an late season ski trip. Easy to get to from Paris on the TGV to Bourg St Maurice and then a bus.
I would look at Val Claret for suitable accommodation.
Far more available piste skiing and still great off-piste if the conditions allow.
Doesn't tick the pretty/scenic box as well but still majestic and views across the white dessert of the mountains.
www  Snow dance !!! my snow dance on youtube

Topic last updated on 12-February-2020 at 09:32

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