European ski resorts are working hard to upgrade and expand in time for the first snow. Here are a few of the biggest investment projects for 2011/12:

[R224R, Madonna di Campiglio] and [R2248R, Pinzolo] in Italy will be linked as one ski area from this winter. A new ski lift is scheduled to open in December, creating a combined ski area of 150 kilometres (93 miles). The entire ski area - Pinzolo, Campiglio, and Folgarida-Marilleva - will be skiable with one pass: the Superskiarama, priced from €215 per adult for a seven-day pass.

[R2290R, Kronplatz], in South Tyrol, will be adding a new gondola and slope to its ski area this winter. Construction work is underway to remove trees from the designated slope area and start building the new lift system. The 10-seater Ried cable car, complete with heated leather seats, lift will transport 3200 passengers per hour. The new  Ried slope will stretch seven kilometres (five miles) between 2275 and 935 metres.

Huge investment has gone into the Sochi ski area in Russia ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. This winter, three of the resorts will be open - Mountain Carousel, Rosa Khutor, and Gasprom - with state-of-the-art gondolas and modern mountain restaurants.

Future plans: Plans to link the Swiss ski resorts of [R640R, Sedru] and [R616R, Andermatt] are in the pipeline. The Scandinavian ski resort developers, SkiStar, have submitted plans to spend CHF140 million ($160m/£100m) on intstalling 18 new ski lifts to create a combined ski area of 250 kilometres.