The Alpine ski season has begun earlier than usual thanks to unseasonably heavy snowfalls.
Last weekend, skiers and snowboarders enjoyed outstanding conditions for this time of the year. There were significant snowfalls across Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland – some up to 20 inches deep. The Austrian resort of Kitzbühel had earlier set an 80-year record by opening on October 24th.
Ski tour operators welcomed the early snow, saying it had helped stimulate sharp increases in bookings, which would go some way to countering the effects of the economic downturn.
Betony Garner, of Ski Club of Great Britain, said:
“The crucial thing is that the temperature has been staying low so the snow is settling – some resorts are blanketed like it’s the middle of winter.”
Many Alpine resorts had been becoming increasingly nervous about the unseasonably warm weather of late, which saw temperatures as high as 18C (65F), fearing a repeat of the dire season of 2006/7.
by Andy Moreton
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