More ski resorts open lifts early

15th November 2013, by Abi Butcher

Snow in Zermatt this morning. Photo courtesty of Ski Total

Snow in Zermatt this morning. Photo courtesty of Ski Total

This week’s snow report reveals a promising start to the season and there is more snow forecast this weekend — great news for those of us itching to get on the slopes. Whether you are in Europe or the US, there are increasing options as ski resorts celebrate earlier opening dates.

In Europe, Verbier (Switzerland) unexpectedly opened its lifts on Lac des Vaux last weekend, 9 and 10 November, and will continue to be open at weekends until its opening date of 29 November.

The glacial resort of Saas Fee opened for the winter season on 1 November, though today (Friday) all lifts were closed due to heavy snow and high avalanche risk.

Skiing conditions are good in Tignes, the only daily option in France at present, but Alpe d’Huez will again be open this weekend, and on 22 November Val Thorens opens, too.

In Austria, eight resorts with glaciers are open, but Obergurgl was the first resort without a glacier, to open yesterday (Thursday). On 28 November Ischgl starts the season with a concert by US rock band Nickelback, while over in St Anton the season opens on 6 December with a “Country meets Snow”, festival — so turn up in plaid shirts, boots, jeans and cowboy hats.

In the US, Aspen Mountain is opening this weekend (16 and 17 November), 12 days early, thanks to efficient snowmaking good recent snowfall. The mountain will then open daily, along with Snowmass, from 23 Novmeber — five days earlier than planned.

Lake Louise in Canada opened on 8 November, and this weekend will open the Grizzly Express Gondola — giving skiers and boarders access to the upper mountain. Currently, Glacier Chair and Sunny Side Carpet are open providing access to Bald Eagle, Wiwaxy and Easy Street along with the Sunny Side beginner’s area.

“We will be opening as many runs as conditions allow, currently on the front-side only,” said a spokesman.

Sunshine Village will open 20 runs and three lifts this weekend in “near perfect” conditions after 10cm (4in) of snowfall in the last 24hrs and with a 59cm (23in) snowpack.

Lifts at Sugar Mountain, Keystone, Breckenridge are already open.

And further afield, one of Korea’s most popular ski resorts Phoenix Park in PyeongChang, 182 kilometers east of Seoul, opened on 11 November.

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