However after the summer heat has cooled a little and the summer ski glaciers that have a limited summer season have closed at the end of it, resorts do begin to open for winter 2009-10 that were not open before. On top of this skiing ended on two continents at the weekend, with the three still-open ski areas in Africa and North America finishing their seasons last Sunday (September 6th).
Solden in Austria was due to be the first last weekend but the summer heat melting away virtually all snow on the glaciers means this once year-round ski centre could not open as planned, despite fresh snow falls a few days before the planned opening date.
So it appears that the Pitztal Glacier, Austria's highest ski area, will be, "the-first-ski area to open for the-2009-10-season-that-wasn't-already-open" when it opens this Saturday, September 12th.
Unlike Solden (but like Zermatt), Pitztal has the ‘secret weapon' of a new snowmaking system from Israeli company IDE which makes snow ion high positive temperatures (It was discovered some years ago by accident when IDE made a cooling system for a South African goldmine and found it churned snow out at the end of the process in to the heat of the African sunshine).
But of course you don't need to wait until the weekend to ski Austria. The Hintertux glacier is open with 15km (9 miles) of runs to enjoy and 165cm (5.5 feet) of snow to enjoy. The weather remains sunny. The Molltal Glacier is also open with 90cm (three feet) of snow.
Elsewhere in Europe the opportunities are equally limited with only four other resorts to choose from. Saas Fee and Zermatt are both open in Switzerland, both with around 90cm (three foot) snow depths. In Italy Cervinia was another of the resorts closing at the weekend leaving only Passo Tonale and Passo Stelvio open. All French ski areas are currently closed, with Tignes due to reopen the weekend after next.