As the northern hemisphere winter comes to an end and resorts shut down their lifts, skiers and snowboarders who refuse to give up start to look for places where snow is abundant and the endless winter continues to provide a dose of fun, adrenaline and a good excuse to just not go to out to work.
By June, the southern hemisphere countries of New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Chile start their own winter seasons, but here we look at some of the places where snowsports thrive during May – a month traditionally about as dry as it gets when it comes to global skiing and snowboarding.
It’s on every ski enthusiasts list – anyone who’s ever watched a ski movie and dreamed about being transported away from their living room and into the world powder snow, epic spines, endless mountains, heli’s – and living, just for a while, like a true bearded, checked shirt, frontier wilderness man with a hunting rifle and a pack of chewing tobacco. Ok, maybe not if you’re a woman – well, actually you’d probably fit in just fine.
There’s no point in going if your idea of a normal ski holiday is to cruise down a red, sip a little coffee, take a nice lunch and hit the Wunderbar for a bowl of strudel and a bit of table dancing.
If you wake up in the morning and think, ‘what a sunny looking day, looking forward to those lovely groomed slopes that snake their way through the forest – looking forward to that latte’, then don’t go, ever. If you’re thinking, ‘look at that peak, it’s untouched by any skier here – there’s powder up there and no-one understands that, except me. I’m leaving before breakfast and after the three hour hike, I will make my tracks and be down for a beer’, then go.
Save up and enjoy > www.blackopsvaldez.com
Yep, we stay north, which is pretty obvious really when you think about it – in May, North is where it’s at.
Norway’s mountains stretch all the way up to the Arctic and if you drove from Stavanger in the south to Tromso in the north, it would take you over 35 hours and that without stopping – the 2,000 kilometre journey is fjords and mountains all the way.
Is there any other country in the world with such a drive? I’d suggest only Vancouver to Anchorage would come close.
This means there’s a lot of skiing and it lasts well into May. In fact, in some places such as Stryn, they don’t open until May and remain open all summer – they get that much snow in the winter, they can’t open at all.
European skiers and snowboarders are getting wise to this. It’s like Alaska on our doorstep – the only drawback, if you see it that way, is the fact Heli Skiing is banned. Just enjoy nature as it should be and….those views.
If you think that Iceland is all volcanoes and glaciers…..then you’d be right, pretty much. There’s not too many actual ski resorts on this large North Atlantic piece of rock, but there’s an untouched wilderness full of snow just waiting to be explored and May is the perfect time to do it.
It’s also much easier to get to Iceland than it was 10 years ago, with low budget airlines such as Easy Jet flying routes there – and don’t be too concerned about volcanic ash, it’s unlikely to happen and why worry about a little bit of ash when you’d be skiing or snowboarding on top of active volcanoes anyway?
Undoubtedly the landscape is unique and wild, where you can ski down to the sea and descend peaks that have never been skied on before. Helicopters are a good way of getting around and combined with a bit of natural ski touring, make for what would be an adventure trip of a lifetime – plus, you get to say you’ve skied in Iceland and it’s worth it just for that.
Our favourite resort to put forward for spring skiing – in fact, our favourite resort to put forward when skiing almost any time of the year. The glacier is huge and offers some real challenges almost all year ‘round.
Tignes used to be open for skiing 365 days a year, but they sensibly close down for part of the spring and autumn seasons now to let the glacier recover. This year it’s open until May 10 and most years you can still ski all the way back to the village at this time.
After that, there’s still plenty of skiing available to anyone into ski touring, the fastest growing area of the snowsports market.
Snoworks run ski courses throughout the year in the resort of Tignes.
Another high-altitude glacier resort, but in Austria – Hintertux has built up its reputation as a premier off-season snow destination that combines good skiing for all abilities with that Austrian cosiness we all love.
Here, you can ski 365 days of the year (weather permitting) and the month of May often provides some of the best conditions, both snow and weather.
Fly into Innsbruck, short transfer – perfect for a long weekend fix if you feel you’ve missed out on skiing during the winter.
Snoworks run ski courses during May in Hintertux.
Many British skiers haven’t even been to Scotland, let alone skied there – but they are missing out. I’m not for one second suggesting that the Scottish ski areas in any way rival their Alpine counterparts – that would just be daft. But it’s a special place and when there’s snow on the mountains and the sun is shining, there’s not many better places to be.
Most of the skiing in Scotland during May would involve ski touring only as the ski lifts are shutting down. It’s best to hunt out some local mountain guides as ski touring can be dangerous – navigation and avalanche risk are both major factors.
If you’re really into your skiing then it’s worth considering a trip to Scotland to experience what it has to offer – some of my best days have been spent on the slopes of the Cairngorms in the late spring.
Latest posts by Robert Stewart (see all)
- Win Maier Sports Jacket and Pants – 24 May, 2020
- What Is Glacier Skiing? – 12 May, 2020
- Ski Editor Rob Stewart Gets To Check Out This Winter Boot From Keen – 20 March, 2020
- Cool Bus Airport Transfers Pledge Carbon Net Zero by 2025 – 7 January, 2020