Guide to better skiing: Follow the snow

It's getting late: with March already here the chances are that those who haven't already booked a holiday are beginning to wonder how long they dare wait before they go skiing. And since this has not been a vintage year for snow, anxiety about late-season conditions is probably greater than usual.

It's getting late: with March already here the chances are that those who haven't already booked a holiday are beginning to wonder how long they dare wait before they go skiing. And since this has not been a vintage year for snow, anxiety about late-season conditions is probably greater than usual.

In fact, late February saw snowfalls in most areas apart from Bulgaria; Austria, in particular, has recovered from its poor start to the season, and resorts in the western USA at last have some good snow. Nevertheless, for late-season skiing the only sensible option is to head for high-altitude resorts which traditionally have good cover through April, such as St Anton in Austria, Zermatt in Switzerland and the Trois Vallées in France.

An extremely useful resource for anyone in search of reliable late-season snow is the The Ski Club of Great Britain's website, at www.skiclub.co.uk. Its "Historical Snow Reports" track the performance of resorts over the previous seven seasons, showing a week-by-week average of the snow depth on the higher and lower slopes. Unfortunately, these are indexed by resort, on a scroll-down menu, so the only way to compare their records is by calling up resorts individually.

Doing that with the traditional spring-skiing favourites reveals some interesting statistics. At Zermatt, for example, snow-depths dip a little in April, and the lower slopes having the thinnest cover of the entire season; St Anton's records show a similar pattern. But in recent years Courchevel's higher slopes have had their deepest snow at the end of April; and even on the lower slopes, only three weeks in the February/ March period have had better cover. Of course, statistics can prove whatever you want - and they certainly do in Courchevel.

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