At Kitzbühel the snowfalls have created a reasonable base of natural snow in the ski areas around the Hahnenkamm, where the 66th staging of the famous race takes place later this month. "With temperatures on the mountain now below freezing, our snowmaking systems are working flat out," says Dr. Georg Hechenberger, CEO at Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel. Since the mountains in the Kitzbühel Alps tend to have relatively smooth grassy slopes, they offer good skiing well before ski areas at much higher locations where the terrain is rocky. The Kitzbuehel region forms part of a natural geographic barrier to the northwest, enabling – in good years - an enormous amount of snow to fall on the valley below. Since the local mountains are covered in grass up to an altitude of 2,000 m only a relatively light snowfall is needed to create ideal skiing conditions. The region can boast 168 km (105 miles) of perfectly groomed slopes of which 68% are currently operational a little over a week after opening for the season. More snow is needed however with cover at resort level still reported at 2cm (Less than an inch) and the weather forecast changing from snow to sleet and rain later in the week – although that should fall as snow at higher elevations.