The first snow of the winter season 2009/10 has fallen across the Alps. Many big-name resorts were reporting fresh snow on the slopes as early as Sept. 14, including Saas-Fee, Breuil-Cervinia, Kaprun, and Hintertux.

The Allalin glacier (3500 metres) above the Swiss resort of Saas-Fee now has 84cm of snow after a further 20cm fell on the week of Sept. 16, offering excellent conditions for some late summer skiing; the snowpark is reporting its halfpipe, rails, and kickers all open for business.

Italy's high alpine resort of Breuil-Cervinia (2050 metres), which shares a ski area with Zermatt in Switzerland, reported 80cm of fresh snow on its slopes during the first week of Sept. This resort is one of the highest in the country and offers skiing up to 3883 metres. The Monterosa ski areas have also reported 10cm of new snow in the last week.

Kaprun, Austria reported 42cm of snow at the Alpincenter (2450 metres) on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier Sept. 21, which was enough to reopen some of the upper slopes. Austria's Hintertuxer glacier (3000 metres) boasts 15 kilometres of open pistes after fresh snowfall gave a new snow height of 55cm boosting its year-round skiing.

Autumn skiing In France will kick off in Les Deux Alps Oct. 24 to Nov. 1 and the lifts will open for the main winter season Nov. 28. Val d'Isere opens Nov. 28 and the Grande Motte ski area in Tignes will reopen for skiing Sept. 26.

More information: Saas-Fee; Breuil-Cervinia; Kitzsteinhorn Kaprun; Hintertux