Europe opens for skiing
Although winter hasn't really arrived yet, the start of the season is just days away. At the end of November, the ski resorts begin to open in readiness for the new ski season in early December.
This autumn, though, various resorts have managed to open before November closes, welcoming winter-sports lovers eager to feel their skis or snowboards under their feet once again. The combination of sudden late-October snowfalls and temperatures conducive to snow-making has allowed some centers to open early.
In the Italian Alps, the 2012–13 season has officially begun at some ski facilities: in Alto Adige, several resorts are already open, including Solda, Val Senales, Passo di Monte Croce di Comélico, the Sexten Dolomites, and Plan de Corones, which this year has generated snow in "industrial quantities" thanks to the numerous snow guns covering 100% of the resort.
The snow-making systems are also working night and day in Livigno, in part of Madonna di Campiglio, and at the Faloria run in Cortina. In Valtellina, the slopes are open in Bormio, too.
Snow is in the air in Austria, as well, where several resorts on the glaciers opened their runs as early as the All Saints long-weekend holiday at the beginning of November. The Ski World Cup has begun in Sölden, where the snowfalls supplemented by TechnoAlpin snow guns have ensured that the slope is in great shape. The ski season is also under way on the Kaunertal, Stubai, and Pitztal glaciers.
And the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Ischgl, Obertauern, Hauser Kaibling, and Planai Hochwurzenbahnen resorts launched their season some weeks ago.
Samnaun, Saas Fee, Laax, Zermatt, and Jakobshorn are among the Swiss resorts that have opened for the season as early as they could. Skiing is also there to be had in the French-speaking part of the country, as Verbier, Veysonnaz, and Les Diablerets have been welcoming ski aficionados for three weeks now.
In France, too, some ski resorts are back in the saddle. Take Montgenèvre near the Italian border, for example, which opened several weeks early to the delight of the keenest early-season skiers. And Val d'Isère's slopes have been in use for a fortnight. The season is under way in southern Spain, too, in the Sierra Nevada.
Meanwhile, in northern Europe, plenty of resorts are already operating, such as Ruka, Pyhä, Ylläs, and Levi, which hosted a leg of the Ski World Cup. TechnoAlpin's snow-making system has helped to provide snowy, beautifully prepared slopes for skiers to enjoy.
This weekend, a whole host of other ski centers will be opening, too, including the Dolomiti Superski mega resort in Italy. As the temperatures are forecast to fall this weekend, skiers and snow-makers alike can look forward to some excellent conditions.