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Image credit: Zermatt Matterhorn

April skiing

Seek the sun with Madeline Hoskin’s guide to April skiing.

If you don’t want to head too far, Japan is your best choice. For family fun, state-ofthe- art facilities and a fantastic location right by the slopes, check out Appi Kogen, located in the picturesque Towada- Hachimantai National Park. Its snow season typically runs until May and you’ll enjoy 280 hectares of skiable terrain, widespread lift access and even two hot springs. The Hotel Appi Grand offers family-size room and suites, and buzzing restaurants and bars. Alternatively, head to Hakuba Valley in the Nagano Prefecture where you’ll find a good mix of terrain, seven resorts and plenty of faux-Tyrolean charm. It’s best known for Happo One, but nearby Goryu and Hakuba 47 are also great family picks that have joint lift passes. Here you’ll find a range of ski school options and a snow park with everything from jumps for experts to a small half pipe that is perfect for beginners.

Image credit: Appi Kogen

Europe has mountain resorts spread right across the continent, each displaying its own colourful culture and language. Logical snow-seekers would assume that heading north is a good option... and it’s true. Sweden’s northernmost resort, Riksgränsen, is great for experienced families with tonnes of snow and a season that generally runs until June, however, many of the more kid-friendly resorts await you in the south. Switzerland and its famous Alps never lose their appeal, and at Zermatt you’ll find year-round skiing (thanks to a glacier) and everything from sledding with views of the Matterhorn to ski schools, ice sports and 360km of pistes. Other family-friendly options in the south include Livigno in Italy and Les 3 Vallées in France, both offering fantastic family deals, accommodation that spans from apartments to hotels, and plenty of runs to suit all abilities. The latter, unsurprisingly, comprises three valleys and multiple resorts including Val Thorens, Courchevel and Méribel.

Cool tip
Make sure you’re keeping track of the snow depths at your desired destination, as these can vary dramatically each year. Poor snowfall can mean some lifts stop running earlier than anticipated. Alternatively, heavy snow can prolong a season by weeks!

Image credit: Les 3 Vallees

The Americas
If you’re looking to ski in America, head to Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb or Mammoth Mountain in California. Due to Mammoth’s altitude and Whistler’s glacier on Blackcomb Mountain, 03 both resorts enjoy long seasons that usually run until May. Whistler is frequently touted to be one of the best resorts in the world, and its lengthy snowfall is bolstered by fantastic snow-making facilities. Mammoth’s major plus is that it typically enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds with the sun on your face and snow underfoot.

Image credit: Les 3 Vallees

Image credit: Les 3 Vallees

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