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As the first snows fall on some upper slopes in the Alps, resorts are slowly packing away the mountain bikes and getting set to welcome the first skiers.

cervinia 1

The glacier areas of Hintertux, Soelden and Pitztal in the Austrian Tirol are already open. 

Soelden is hosting a Ski World Cup race this weekend.

And they were joined last week by the French resort of Tignes which has now officially opened its glacier area to skiers.

The Tignes snow is a bit thin after what has been a long hot summer throughout Europe, not just in the UK, but skiing and snowboarding is now officially underway and a handful of lifts are operating – but opening of the Champagny, Rosolin and Termignon draglifts were postponed.

On its Facebook page the resort said: "Tignes is ready to welcome its first skiers in the best condition possible. Let the season begin."

Tignes has also launched the world’s first open-top cable car. It inaugurated its new aerial tramway at 3,032m on the Grande Motte Glacier, with two open-top cabins, offering skiers a unique 360-degree view of one of the most beautiful mountain panoramas, with views of Mont Blanc, the Cime de Bellecote  and the Aiguille de la Grande Sassiere

Non-glacier resorts opening are Kitzbuhel in Austria and Ruka in Finland, where extensive snow-farming from last season, has allowed some snow to be distributed on a few slopes.

Kitzbuhel announced its opening on its Facebook page saying that from 20 October skiers could access the Griffigsten slopes ‘every day’. Official full opening is 8 December.

In Cervinia, this weekend, the cable cars “Breuil-Cervinia, Plan Maison, Cime Bianche Laghi, Plateau Rosà” will be open and for ski enthusiasts, the lifts on the glacier of Plateau Rosà in Switzerland will be open. This is how it looks there:

Sadly, the French glacier resort of Les2Alpes has postponed its autumn opening and is still plugging autumn mountain bike events.

And a few other resorts are getting decidedly itchy! This was Val Thorens on Friday. The resort is due to open on 24 November.

Quite a few resorts on both sides of the French/Spanish border saw early dustings including Baqueira Beret in the Spanish Pyrenees.

This week temperatures are set to fall across Europe too, so conditions may allow for some snow-making at altitude. In any event, the excesses of last season are already making us dream of a repeat…But let’s not be greedy. Most resorts aren’t even due to open until December…

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