A snowboarder opens the door of his snow covered van in Saas-Fee. Heavy snow caused numerous delays for travellers in Switzerland
Ski resorts across Europe and North America have opened early this season after heavy snowfall in the last month.
A series of snowstorms since early November in North America and late October in Europe has enabled several resorts to open ahead of schedule.
The Italian resort of Bormio has opened a month early after heavy snowfalls at the end of October and start of November delivered 50ins to the resort’s upper slopes.
More heavy snow is forecast for many resorts across Austria, Switzerland and Italy this week.
Hintertux, in Austria, which already boasts 60ins of snow, is expecting a further 30ins over the next few days. Obergurgl, which is expecting 25ins of snow midweek, is set to open on Friday.
In Switzerland, Zermatt already has more than two metres of snow on its upper slopes, while Saas Fee has 75ins. Both resorts expect a further 20ins this week. Geilo, in Norway, has also opened three weeks early with a 25ins base.
The Scottish resorts of Cairngorm and The Lecht have also seen some early flurries and were briefly open at the start of November.
However, Cairngorm is now closed for annual maintenance work and mild and wet conditions has seen The Lecht shut down again.
The U.S. resort of Snowbird, in Utah, opened last Friday – the second earliest start in the resort’s 38-year history – after 35ins of snow fell the weekend before.
‘The west coast of America has received some significant snowfalls recently and it looks like mid-winter rather than autumn in many resorts,’ said a spokesman for the Ski Club of Great Britain.
‘While in Europe, a good amount of snow has fallen in recent weeks with more snow forecast,’ he added.
Other resorts to open early include Mammoth, in California, which has opened 10 days early.
Skiers who headed to its slopes last weekend were rewarded with 15ins of fresh powder; Mount Norquay, in Canada – which forms part of Banff’s Big Three ski area, along with Lake Louise and Sunshine Village – has opened almost three weeks early.