For skiers, March is not typically the ideal time of year. The northern hemisphere is in spring, warming towards summer, and most of the southern hemisphere is not quite cold enough just yet for ski season to cut in.
But for people looking to take a ski holiday, it’s still possible to find some great slopes in March. Here are our picks for the best places for late season skiing.
1. Val Thorens, France
The best way to keep the temperatures down is to go higher. A high altitude ski resort such as Val Thorens, which is over 2000m above sea level, shakes the winter more slowly than low-lying areas. This resort typically continues operation into May, meaning that you’re guaranteed to have good ski conditions as relatively early as March.
2. Zermatt, Switzerland
Another very high altitude resort, at Zermatt you can go as high as 3899m above sea level. This ski field also has summer skiing on its glacier. In other words, this is one of the rare examples of a ski resort where it doesn’t matter what time you come choose to visit.
3. Mammoth, California
California is known for its glorious weather, and this applies to its ski fields as well. Mammoth receives 300 days of sunshine a year on average, and this is despite the ski season lasting into June. This means that not only will you be able to hit the slopes in March, you’ll be doing so in bright, sunny conditions.
4. Alyeska Resort, Alaska
The other way to ensure that the ski season will extend deep into the northern hemisphere’s spring is to go as far north as possible, and this should take you to Alaska. Not perhaps as well known for its ski fields as other places, Alaska offers relatively peaceful conditions with fewer people on the slopes. And with some 68 runs that remain open until late April, there are plenty of places to explore.
5. Åre, Sweden
Åre is the largest ski area in Sweden, and in March the conditions are almost better than they are during the winter. During the months of December to February this little ski resort can experience high winds, so the spring skiing is much more pleasant. Åre doesn’t have the most difficult slopes in the world, but for those looking for a more casual skiing experience, and for beginners or families, this is the place to be for spring skiing.
6. Livigno, Italy
Livingo is a good resort for the more intermediate skiers out there, and it’s a relatively low cost option for spring skiing since it enjoys a tax-free status. This makes meals and drinks much more affordable than some other locations. It’s a high altitude resort with most runs sitting at over 2000m above sea level, and it’s open until May. However, it is worth noting that this resort can be susceptible to whiteouts and lift closures.
7. Gassan, Japan
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to access Gassan late in March, though it often won’t open until April. This is because there’s so much snow during the winter that it’s impossible to get through the 8m+ drifts of powder. But getting there right at the start of the season is worthwhile, as Gassan offers 1000m of vertical terrain to power down.
8. Riksgransen, Sweden
As an alternative to Alaska for northern ski fields, Sweden’s Riksgransen is the most northerly ski resort of all, sitting 200km beyond the arctic circle. Lifts run into June, so you’re guaranteed to have good conditions for skiing during the spring months. And the sun remains up for the length of an average of 8-17 hours, meaning you can spend plenty of time on the slopes.
9. Big Sky Resort
Another American ski field, Big Sky Resort has an astounding 150 runs to enjoy across 3,800 acres of land. You’re going to have no trouble finding a run to match your skill level that is also not too crowded. It also has a large range of food outlets and a gorgeous, scenic spa. The only downside is going in March might be pushing your luck a little; the resort generally closes in mid-April, so if it hasn’t been a great year for snow then you’re looking at deteriorating conditions.
10. Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada
Possibly the best ski field for March skiing, Whistler-Blackcomb is located on a glacier, meaning that the ski season continues on through until June with the help of snow-making facilities. This resort is also a regular winner of best ski resort in the world awards.