With snow falls of up to 60cm (two feet) reported by Skiinfo in the Alps in September and ski areas already starting to open for the 2011-12 ski season, excitement is building for the coming winter – although you can get on the snow today if you want to!
Many areas organise special new season gear testing events as well as offering heavily discounted ski-and-stay packages to attract skiers and boarders so why wait? Families will find more space and better value skiing in the October school holidays rather than the busy and expensive February ones.
Austria is the leading country for October glacier skiing with the Hintertux, Kaunertal, Molltal, Pitztal, Solden and Stubai glaciers already open and due to be joined by the Dachstein and Kaprun’s Kitzsteinhorn glacier on the 9th. The fresh September snow here has led to great conditions.
After a month with no resorts open in France, Tignes will re-open its glacier slopes on Saturday and stay open to next May. It will be the only French resort open until late November except for an end of October ski and board festival at Les 2 Alpes from the 22nd.
Glacier ski areas Val Senales and Passo Stelvio will be joined by more glacier ski choices in Italy at the end of the month October with Cervinia and Passo Tonale open from the 29th.
In Switzerland Engelberg is scheduled to join Saas Fee (open since last July, picture attached) and Zermatt (always open) when it re-opens on the 8th, conditions permitting. The Diavolezza glacier near St MNoritz will be a fourth choice by the end of the month, opening on the 22nd.
The northerly latitude of Finland, Norway and Sweden get the cold temperature and thus the snow earlier than most. Ruka in Finland aims to re-open on Friday 14th having only closed last June, to begin it’s near 250 day 2011-12 ski season. Kvitfjell in Norway will join it on the 29th.
Timberline in Oregon is currently the only ski area open in the US but snowmaking is scheduled to begin imminently one some of the world’s highest ski slopes in Colorado as the annual race to be first in the state is staged between areas like Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain and Loveland.
The 2011 season is winding down south of the equator but some resorts in Argentina, Chile and New Zealand look set to stay open through October. Particularly promising is Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand where the snow was lying more than three metres (10 feet) deep at the start of the month and the area has a record of staying open at least to ‘Snowvember.’