An Insider's Guide to Skiing Europe: When

From renting a car to cheap places to stay and where to go, 15 tips for skiing the Alps

Mar 5, 2013
Outside Magazine

Verbier, Switzerland.    Photo: Leo-seta/Wikimedia Commons

TIP 04: When it comes to the best months for snow, locals across the Alps say that late January and early February are the best bet for powder. Late March and April are prime for backcountry riding and ski touring. For the most part, spring means stable snow conditions, deep bases, filled-in crevasses, and good weather. Forgo the famous Haute Route that links Chamonix, France, to Zermatt, Switzerland—it’s overrun come April—in favor of less-populated ski tours in Italy’s Monte Rosa region, which claims 14 peaks over 4,000 meters, or in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland, which boasts the highest concentration of 4,000-meter peaks in Switzerland. The high elevation in both areas all but ensures good snow quality later in the season and the extensive huts systems in each region are well-suited for multi-day tours.

TIP 05: When planning your trip to the Alps, avoid major European holidays, such as Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, and school holidays (of which there are many). Prices go up, slopes get tracked out, and lift lines can be long. Mid to late January is quiet across the Alps and often very snowy.