Slopes in some European resorts are already open, including in Kitzbuhel, Solden, Tignes, Verbier and Zermatt, but if you want to guarantee your clients plenty of snow this early in the season, where should they go?
Well, you’ll need to pick a high resort for the best chances of plenty of natural snow cover, and also one that has invested in snow-making facilities so if it doesn’t snow, they can manufacture enough to keep at least some slopes open.
So here’s our round up of the best European snow-sure resorts to book at this time of year, in no particular order:
Val d’Isere, France, always seems to have snow when the slopes in other resorts are bare, possibly because it has one of the largest snow manufacturing systems in Europe. Also, it shares its ski area with Tignes, one of the highest resorts in the Alps, so if there’s little of the white stuff down low, head up high and you should be fine.
Kitzbuhel, Austria, was one of the first ski resorts in Austria to open on October 13 and it has often been voted the Best in the World, so it’s a good choice at any time of the season. Its mainly north-facing slopes means that it hangs onto any snow that does fall, and it has also added more snow cannons for this winter.
Cervinia, Italy, is a high-altitude resort, which means it gets some of the first snow of the season. If it doesn’t, visitors can always ski on the glacier at neighbouring Zermatt, which is generally open from late October. By December, there’s usually enough snow for visitors to ski all the way down to the village.
Ischgl, Austria, opened 19 lifts and 50 kms of runs on Thursday, which is more than most resorts can offer at this time of year. It has excellent snow-making, as you can see in the photo on the left, which was taken earlier this week. Its height, combined with north-facing runs, means the snow sticks around a lot longer too.
Val Thorens, France, is the loftiest resort in France, and it also plugs into the vast Three Valleys ski area, so if there’s any snow around before Christmas, there’s bound to be some here, although note that is has postponed its opening till Saturday this year due to a lack of coverage.
Solden, Austria, has not one but two glaciers, so it is able to offer skiing from early October onwards. It’s known as one of Europe’s most snow-sure resorts, even if the lower runs often are prone to ice or slush. Expect Solden to be especially popular this year due to the opening of the new, high-altitude 007 Elements museum which, among other exhibits, includes the helicopter used in the filming of the Bond movie Spectre in the resort.