Europe’s ski resorts are celebrating early snow fall and the promise of a bounteous winter ahead, with some of them already opening ahead of time for the 2023-24 season.
Some resorts have reported over a metre of snow already descending as October’s unseasonably warm weather has given way to a November cold snap and storms have brought the white stuff with them.
Austria and Switzerland already open
The slopes at Austria’s Kitzbühel are open two weeks ahead of schedule, and Sölden too. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, skiers will find nine areas already open, according to Euronews, and that includes beloved resorts such as Davos and Zermatt, as well as Verbier, a full three weeks before expectations.
France and Italy opening soon
France and Italy have announced early openings to come on 18 November at Val Thorens, Tignes and Madonna di Campiglio. Most resorts these days provide live web cam views of conditions on various pistes, so snowsports enthusiasts can monitor developments and dream of the moment they get out on fresh powder. Check out Travel Tomorrow’s advice on the prettiest ski destinations to make your heart flutter too.
J-22 avant l’ouverture et +30cm de neige en station ce matin ❄️❄️❄️🤩— ❄️ Val Thorens ❄️ (@Val_Tho) November 3, 2023
22 days to go before the resort opens and +30cm of snow this morning ❄️❄️❄️🤩 pic.twitter.com/nKmSz2TLTA
As well as providing “a solid base for the winter ahead”, 2023’s November bounty has brought with it a flurry of bookings from excited skiers, according to Ian McIlrath, managing director of Ski Solutions, who added “it’s shaping up to be one of the best starts to the winter ski season that I can remember.” He described Alpine conditions with “snow accumulations of more than 100 cm quite widespread now on the upper slopes”.
The early glitter of snow will come as a relief to many European ski industry insiders after recent years of sparse coverage and dire warnings about climate change closing up to 50% of resorts for good, particularly those at low altitudes.
A decent spell of snow and visitors will be particularly welcomed by European resorts that were forced to close early in the 2022-23 season due to some of the highest January temperatures on record, leaving “mountainsides bare and slopes covered in slush”, as reported by Travel Tomorrow at the time.
If you are considering a winter sport trip this year, you might do well to book as early as possible to take advantage of special offers, such as Jet2.com’s 10-per-cent-off sale on flights to selected destinations including Chambery, Geneva, Grenoble and Salzburg.
Alternatively, since flying goes hand-in-hand with existential questions over the extent to which aviation is driving the very climate change that is troubling the industry, you might want to consider a lighter carbon option, such as a trans-European sleeper train. Once the cost of transporting ski equipment and the overall experience of travel are taken into account, taking the train can seem an attractive solution.