It is again that time of year, the short interregnum between the ski season drawing to a close at the higher, more snow-sure resorts and the Lakes and Mountains summer season commencing, albeit primarily at the lower resorts in Austria and Slovenia. To give the hoteliers in the likes of Obergurgl, St. Anton and Galtuer a break after a five month winter season – and not to mention to allow the snow an extra few weeks to thaw – the ‘season’ in resorts such as these generally starts at the end of June. Of course, the season as such isn’t governed by when the likes of Inghams start sending guests to these resorts – you can in theory go anytime. Resorts don’t shut per se but of course are less accessible to all but the intrepid if the Lakes and Mountains companies haven’t as yet started their summer programmes. It is though also worth knowing that there is a danger of going early season to a resort where the cableways haven’t opened/and or are going through their post-skiing overhaul. A bargain in mid May might as first seem just that but it can be frustrating if the local cable-car doesn’t become fully operational until the weekend of your departure back home. The tourist-office website of the resort of your choice should be able to supply you with the dates of what they call their “Summer opening”.

Notwithstanding the obvious downsides to travelling early season, there are many bargains to be had. Should you be on a tight-budget and want to avoid the crowds, there are many benefits to travelling in May and whilst the weather can be unreliable in the fifth month, I have known the elements to be temperamental whenever I have ventured into the mountains, be it May, June, July or September. You are just as likely to have a heatwave as you are to witness an unseasonable fall of snow, not to mention quite literally four seasons in one day. I would always though view this as a positive, especially when the clouds clear to reveal an alpine vista seemingly dusted with icing sugar.

Links to some of the best sites for late deals can be found below. The “late” meaning to being booked shortly before the departure date, rather than it being at the latter end of the season. Beware if travelling alone; when you see a price that says “from”, it is normally contingent upon two sharing a double or twin room, what with the default setting always seeming to be based on two adults sharing. Happy bargain hunting.

Inghams late deals

Crystal Summer late deals

Thomson Lakes late deals

It can also be worth searching through the likes of lastminute.com for deals not necessarily offered by the usual suspects above.