Things start winding down when it gets to April in some resorts, but in Val Thorens they’re usually still going strong. Val Tho is a lively purpose-built resort, which at 2,300m is the highest in Europe. More importantly, 99% of the north facing terrain is higher than 2,000m and the highest piste at Sommet des 3 Vallees is a dizzying 3230m, meaning it’s usually very reliable for snow throughout April (in fact the tourist office have a “snow guarantee” for the whole area from November – May). Besides enjoying some of the best late season snow in the Alps, April is also the perfect time to fully take advantage of the lively mountain huts and enjoy some truly spectacular panoramas of the Vanoise National Park and beyond.
April Snow History
Average snow depth
Average snow depth
April ski rating
The tourist office here are known for their “snow guarantee” running from November to May, so you can be assured that if you want the best conditions you can get in April, this is a good place to ski. Historically, there’s been an average of nearly two metres of snow coverage on the top of the highest piste (the 3230m Sommet de 3 Vallees) and 126cm at resort level (which is still really high at 2300m).
Average temperatures in April are 8 degrees at resort level. The early bird catches the worm, so be sure to catch the first lift and head high to find the best snow (there’ll be plenty of time for lounging in the sunshine later in the day!). The fact that most of the terrain faces the north is highly beneficial late in the season as the snow should remain in good condition for longer, instead of turning into slush.
Intermediates are truly blessed with a huge range of choice in the Val Thorens valley alone, not taking into account the vast wealth of opportunities presented by the Three Valleys skiing area, which is the largest in the world. Confident experts will love the red Christine run at the base of the 3000m Péclet Glacier. This long run has a vertical drop of 700 metres and offers a lot of variation and lovely spring views of the nearby glacier. Nearby is the slightly easier Tête Ronde where there’s a lovely mountain hut called Chalet de la Marine that’s great for a cheeky pint in the sunshine.
Combe de Caron is a legendary black, north-facing piste, which starts at a 3,200m summit, Cime Caron, and has some spectacular panoramas of the Alps. If you’re very confident in your abilities, the Grande Couloir is the steepest corridor in the valley (37 degree pitch).
There’s rarely a dull moment at Val Tho. In the latter half of the month, Dutch skiers flock to the resort to celebrate Dutch Week, which coincides with the anniversary of the Queen Koninginnedag’s coronation. There are usually loads of Dutch-themed après ski parties and events that are well worth getting involved in.
Whether you have a competitive streak in you or not, be sure to see whether the 3 Valley’s Enduro is taking place this April as it’s a great way to discover the incredible ski area. The races are open to both amateur and pro boarders, skiers and telemark skiers and there are categories for groups and families too.
If you’ve always fancied the freedom that ski touring offers, Val Tho usually offers an introduction to the discipline, the ‘Dyanfit Snow Leopard Track.’ Guided by expert ski tourers, the route usually finishes at Chalet de la Maine where there’s mulled wine and a whole host of local dishes to enjoy.
If you’re a nature lover or have kids with you, see if the marmots have emerged from their winter hibernation around the Plein Sud piste.
One of our favourite things about spring ski holidays is the après – Folie Douce on Plein Sud and Bar 360 at the foot of the Moraine chair lift attract a lively crowd after lunchtime with loud music and dancing on tables. Folie has a self service restaurant if you’re stopping off for a long lunch and we also love the food at Chalet de la Marine, which has some lovely picnic tables and is accessible via the Dalles and Tête Ronde pistes. Back in the resort on Place Caron, the Face West Cafe (which used to be called the Scapin) has some really nice outdoor seating.