I write this article from the sun drenched slopes of the pretty Alpine resort of Lech. It is April and the slopes are still dripping with snow. The resort itself opened 2 December and stays open until 23 April, so if you get here quick and you can still grab some late season skiing.
Lech is one of 4 resorts I outline below with incredible late season snow. By targeting resorts with high altitude and glaciers you can guarantee snow-sure skiing into April and beyond.
My first choice for late season snow is Lech with an altitude of 1,444m. Even in April, the slopes are snowy right down to the resort and the lower runs remain ski-able, so you can ski right from the top of the mountain into the resort. The village remains as pretty as it is in January with the snowy slopes sparkling behind the pretty chalets. Higher up, the mountains surrounding Lech reach an altitude of 2039 metres and offer the best conditions at this time of year.
Stay at the hotel Aurelio in Lech. This Aman style ski hotel in the Alps offers everything you could possibly want from a ski hotel. Every room faces into the valley and across the slopes and each balcony is bathed in sunshine throughout the day. The rooms themselves are uber-modern ski chalet style, with amazing and generous marble bathrooms (with yummy Hermes Paris Un Jardin Sur Le Nil toiletries) A million little touches make this place special such as chocolates and hankie packs in your ski locker, high end lotions at your bedside to fight the mountain dryness, breakfast anytime you like and the swish pool area also hosts fruit, water, teas and nuts, just to keep you going between the bowls of delicious swiss chocolates dotted around this magnificent chalet.
Hotel Aurelio is expensive but worth every penny. You want for nothing (and in true Aman style everyone knows who you are and you never need to sign for your extras or mention your room number – they already know who you are!). Every room is awesome, the location is amazing in the middle of the main slope and the food is innovative and award winning. Ski hotels do not come better than this.
My second choice for late season snow is Sölden. The town of Sölden is not nearly as pretty as Lech but once you get out of the main street, you will discover mountain streams and pretty fields which look like they are straight out of “Heidi”. At 1368m of altitude, this snow sure resort does not hold onto the snow for as long as Lech. When we went there in April, the valley floor had no snow whatsoever, but you can see the snow on the higher slopes and are just a short gondola ride away from on one of Austria’s largest glacier areas. Rettenbach Glacier and Tiefenbach Glacier feature perfectly groomed slopes surrounded by the stunning Alpine scenery and reaching up to an incredible 3340 metres above sea level. The season here begins as early as September and extends all the way through until May.
The only place to stay in Solden is the 5 star Das Central hotel which sits up a side street from the main drag and is a large and beautifully refurbished luxury hotel. Our tip is to request one of their refurbished rooms which face the front of the hotel. These rooms are south facing and offer sunshine which streams in through the floor to ceiling windows throughout the day. The decor is modern pine with swish bathrooms and superbly comfortable beds. This hotel encourages families and rewards little ones with fun touches like a furry bed time chicken at turndown.
The hotel also has a great pool are with lots of bubble features, and best of all, there is a gondola shuttle which takes guests directly to and from the bottom of the main gondolas every 5 minutes or so, which means no waiting around. Our tip here is to pay a small supplement and take your evening meals at the amazing Ötztaler Stube which offers some of the best food in the Alps. Das Central is a surprisingly affordable 5 star ski hotel (book outside the main season for excellent rates) and is definitely a Luxury Travel Diary favourites.
Stubai Glacier, Austria
Our third choice is the Stubai Glacier in Austria. With snow guaranteed until June and offering Austria’s largest glacier ski resort, Stubai sits at an astonishing 1,750 m to 3,210 m. The only downside to this Glacier is that there isnt a good luxury ski hotel at the base of the Gondola, which means you will need to take a minibus ride to get to and from the base.
That said, we wholeheartedly recommend the very special Jagdhof hotel, which is 20 minutes complimentary shuttle from the Glacier and usefully also only 25 minutes from the airport at Innsbruck. This makes the Jagdhof a brilliant place to come for a weekend of skiing.
This family run Relais & Chateaux property is sat on the edge of a beautiful Austrian village and offers amazing food, a bar with a wondeful atmosphere and live music every night, a very good spa and a superb indoor-outdoor pool which opens up to extensive lawns where you can sunbathe after a day on the glacier. The free glacier transfers offered by the Jagdhof make getting to the glacier surprisingly stress-free, and this resort only comes in 3rd place as skiing is not quite on your doorstep.
It would be wrong to write about the best ski resorts in the world and not to include a resort beyond the Alps. One of the most snow-sure resorts in North America is Whistler with 3,300 skiable hectares to explore. Whistler’s village is only 675m in altitude so when the snow is falling on the slopes it can turn to rain in the resort. The top lifts here reach 2,285m and the two mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb have gondola access at their bases and are linked by a further gondola at mid-mountain.
Stay at the Four Seasons Whistler which offers everything you would expect from a Four Seasons including a fun outdoor pool and hot tub area which you can swim in while it snows.