Early season skiers have been enjoying premium powder at pre-season rates across the Alps.
Early signs hinted towards another bumper ski season back in October: the southern hemisphere reported later closing dates due to huge late-season snowfalls and European glaciers, particularly those in Austria, saw up to 50cm of snow in the first big storm of the season (Oct. 25).
The last two weeks of November saw excellent snow conditions, and as a result, early openings were reported across the Alps, particularly in Austria and Switzerland. By late November/early December, Europe was almost entirely blanketed in powder. A snowstorm rolled in Dec. 1 leaving 50 resorts with 20-70cm of powder. Temperatures have remained cold ever since with snow falling almost every day.
The early start to winter wasn't welcomed everywhere in Europe: the freezing conditions and heavy snow forced airports to close in the UK and caused widespread havoc for drivers and commuters.
One area of Great Britain where the heavy snow was welcomed was in Scotland: CairnGorm reopened for skiing just 145 days after it closed; the first day of skiing was Nov. 13 when more than 400 skiers took to the slopes. The Nevis Range opened Dec. 4 with its earliest season opening in 13 years. It was a similar picture in Northern Europe with Åre in Sweden reporting its best snow conditions in 18 years.
More snow is forecast across the Alps over Christmas and New Year. Temperatures are set to remain cold, which means the snow won't melt, but it will mean you need to wrap up warm.