Europe's late season snow destinations are great for spring and year-round skiing, so you can hit the slopes whatever the weather.
For much of Europe, melting snow, Easter time and leaves on the trees can mean only one thing - spring is on its way. But if you're a die-hard winter sports fan, then the warmer months are about as much fun as a long-haul flight on a hangover. Luckily, there are plenty of late season snow destinations across Europe that offer a range of pistes, routes and runs to suit all abilities.
Alongside well known resorts in France and Switzerland, there are also several late snow spots in more unexpected places (Sweden and Romania we're looking at you). For obvious reasons, the higher you get, the better your chances of finding good conditions; most larger resorts run until the end of April or beginning of May. If all else fails, head to one of the continent's glaciers, which offer year round skiing and winter activities for perennial ski bunnies. Springtime? S'no problem.
1. France: Val Thorens and Tignes
Two of France's most popular resorts still have plenty of snow from the end of March right through until early May (when the lifts close). At over 2000 metres Val Thorens is one of Europe's highest resorts, meaning the conditions allow skiing and snowboarding up until early summer. The resort also offers plenty of other outdoor activities too, from mountain biking to climbing. Alternatively consider visiting Tignes glacier, which offers late season and even year-round winter sports (subject to weather conditions). Both can be reached by flying to Geneva.
2. Switzerland: Zermatt and Verbier
Even if you visit late in the season, Switzerland still isn't the cheapest option, with the luxe resorts famous for being especially swanky. Nevertheless, if you're looking for some last minute ski action both Zermatt and Verbier are good options. At almost 3900 metres, Zermatt has snow until early May - after that, you can even ski during the summer months on the Matterhorn glacier. Although conditions are more variable in Verbier, it's still a popular spot well into late April. Here, you'll need to head higher for a better chance of snow and the terrain suits advanced skiers or those able to explore off-piste. Both resorts can be reached flying either to Zurich or Geneva.
3. Sweden: Riksgränsen and Åre
As well as beautiful scenery, Sweden offers some of Scandinavia's best piste action, including Riksgränsen which lies over 200km north of the arctic circle. Thanks to its northerly location, this resort is open until the end of June. Another option is Åre, which claims to be the largest in Northern Europe (it's home to one hundred pistes). Although not as high as their Alpine counterparts, the slopes around Sweden are a good bet for early summer. Both resorts can be accessed via connecting flights from Stockholm.
4. Romania: Poiana Brasov
And now for something completely different: Poiana Brasov in Romania. You might not have heard of this eastern European resort but it's fast becoming one of Europe's worst kept ski secrets. Open until mid-April, this smallish ski town has 11 lifts and 13 pistes, which run for 14 kilometres in total. Away from the crowded resorts of northern Europe, Poiana Brasov is best suited to intermediates (although there are also options for beginners and advanced skiers). The slight drag is the three hour transfer time from the nearest airport, Bucharest (although this isn't that unusual for ski resorts). But hey, if we get uncrowded, springtime skiing, we're not complaining.
5. Austria: Hintertux
If you're not the gambling sort then Austria's Hintertux glacier is probably the safest bet in the Alps. Open all year round, the resort's highest point is 3250 metres, with guaranteed winter sports available whenever you visit. It has over 60 kilometres of slopes and 13 kilometres of ski routes available, plus 20 lifts and sublime, panoramic views. The downside? With its height and reliable snow forecast, the glacier can get extremely busy if other resorts have bad conditions. Make sure you book in advance; the closest city and airport is Innsbruck.