THE WORLD - With over two feet of reported snowfall across the Alps this past month, there is a great deal of excitement for the upcoming season spreading across Europe and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, if you were super ambitious you may already have a few days on the snow under your belt — but for the rest of us October is the perfect month to start the season. Many areas offer discounted ski-and-stay packages to attract early season riders, as well as organize special gear testing event days.
Here is a quick run-down of regions where skiing has begun:
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 French resorts open, 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.
Engelberg is scheduled to join Saas Fee (open since last July) 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 North America 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.’