The temperatures are warming, the first flowers are starting to bloom and it’s time for every skier and snowboarder to start dreading the worst time of year: spring. Yup, ski season is almost over! But before you put away all your winter sports equipment, be sure to catch at least one of these end-of-season events. Many ski resorts in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France take advantage of the excellent spring skiing conditions to put on music festivals, treasure hunts and other fun activities. Before the slopes turn green and the cows start getting in the way, head on over to the Alps for a last-minute ski holiday!
30 artists and a host of culinary sensations will invade Saalbach for the White Pearl Mountain Days, March 16-April 1. Admission is included with the lift pass and many of the events take place right on the slopes. The Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn is one of the largest ski areas in Austria and renowned for its après-ski scene.
White Pearl Mountain Days in Saalbach
From March 18-24, a host of predominantly French and Swiss pop-rock artists will perform all day, every day in the various ski resorts of Les Portes du Soleil. Rock The Pistes concerts take place on the slopes and admission is included with a ski pass. Les Portes du Soleil is one of the most popular ski areas in the Alps, with 600km of slopes across the French and Swiss Alps.
This year’s Top of the Mountain concerts take place at Ischgl on April 1, 22 and 30 and welcome big names such as Max Giesinger, Bastille and Helene Fischer. Ischgl is known for its après-ski scene and its high-altitude ski area, which boasts 240km of pistes and spans two countries.
Ischgl's legendary Top of the Mountain concerts © Ischgl
Lech Zürs am Arlberg will host world-famous DJ Tiesto on April 5. A few weeks later, the ski resort will see the return of The White Ring: The Race, the cult ski race that celebrates the former White Ring ski circuit. The White Ring: The Race sees professionals compete on 22km of slopes that link Lech and Zürs.
The self-proclaimed Hot Spot in the Alps puts on an annual electronic music festival to rival the best of them. Headliners like Don Diablo and Oliver Helden will start the concert in the early afternoon on the Giggijoch open-air stage. The Electric Mountain Festival takes place on April 5-6; admission is included with the ski pass. If you’re still at Sölden-Hochsölden a week later, don’t miss Hannibal, the theatre piece which will be staged on the Rettenbach Glacier on April 12.
Sölden's Electric Mountain Festival
Held on April 7, the Gardenissima is the longest giant slalom race in the world and is followed by a children’s version on April 8. It’s difficult to find a more spectacular setting: the Dolomites are a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site and the Val Gardena ski area offers spectacular views of the mountain range. It’s also one of the largest ski areas in Italy, wiht more than 500km of pistes.
Jungfrau Region's annual Snowpenair music festival will take place this year on April 7 at an altitude of 2067m above sea level, right in the ski area. Artists include Scottish songwriter Amy Macdonald and Brazilian-Swiss singer Marc Sway, among others. Festival tickets also give access to the 220km of ski slopes in the Jungfrau region.
SnowpenAir at the Jungfrau Region ski area
Mayrhofen's annual Snowbombing music festival takes place on April 9-14 this year and promises to be another huge hit. Dozens of artists including Liam Gallagher and Ross From Friends will perform on amazing outdoor stages, and the fun keeps going in the evenings with the after-parties! Back for the second year by popular demand, Snowbombing will also visit Sun Peaks Resort in Canada from April 5-9.
Zermatt Unplugged brings together the best of the folk music scene, from Ronnie Scott’s All Stars to Hudson Taylor, to the Kooks and a slough of other folk artists. The concerts take place from April 10-14 on thirteen festival stages distributed within the village and on the slopes. With skiing up to 4478m near the Swiss-Italian border, Zermatt offers almost endless pistes and three glaciers.
Zermatt Unplugged © Rob Lewis
Let your freak flag fly! On April 14-15, the Zillertal Arena will celebrate the end of ski season with Dirndls and Lederhosen, awarding a free day’s ski pass to anyone who dons this traditional Austrian garb. If you’re too shy to rock lederhosen in public, come anyways for the live music, free schnapps and partying.
Austria’s biggest treasure hunt in the snow takes Obertauern by storm on April 14-15. Thirty hidden prizes (grand prize is a BMW!), lively music and a huge party make the Gamsleiten Criterion an event not to be missed. While you’re frolicking in the snow, take a look up at the Gamsleiten II, one of Europe’s steepest slopes, which towers over the ski area.
Gamsleiten Criterion, Obertauern
Worried about the looming end of ski season? With plenty of high-altitude ski areas and a particularly snowy year, you’ve plenty of time still to take advantage of the sunny slopes and warm temperatures in the Alps. Check out the various spring skiing deals in France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy!
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
|8 Oct||Lech Zürs am Arlberg: ski area, villages and tips|
|6 Oct||Fondue Savoyarde - the original recipe|
|2 Oct||Off-piste skiing - top 5 French ski resorts for powder lovers|