Pitztal season gets a head start - and new snow

17th September 2009, by Chris Gill

Austria’s Pitztal glacier has opened for the new season, with a little help from an Israeli snowmaking system ...

Skiing and boarding started again at Pitztal at the weekend (11 September) - the first resort to reopen for 2009/10, if that’s how you view it: some glacier areas never really close, of course.

But when the resorts get going again, it does mean that winter is never far away - and the good news from Austria this week is fresh snow at altitude. Yes, it’s snowing in the Alps right now.

Opening Pitztal’s glacier slopes though has been helped by a new snowmaking system, which can operate at higher temperatures than normal. Nearby Kaunertal on the other hand is waiting for 50cm new snow before it can open at the end of the month (not sure that much is forecast this week!).

Pitztal is one of only two ski areas in the Alps (the other being Zermatt) to install the IDE ‘all weather’ snowmaking system - developed in Israel and tested successfully last winter. The new technology comes from the mining industry where it is used to cool gold mines.

Currently, the resort’s skiing is limited to slopes on the Brunnenkogel (3440m), down to the mid-station of the Pitz Panorama lift at 3000m. These are open daily (weather permitting) from 9am-1pm. The region is Austria’s highest glacier ski area and just an hour or so from Innsbruck, near Imst. It opens fully in December, with a fast new chairlift for the Rifflsee sector.

Pitztal is also re-instating its valley lift pass next winter: the Pitz Regio. It covers the four ski areas in the valley (including the slopes above Imst). Children under ten years old can ski for free, when accompanied by a parent.

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