With over 80cm (32 inches) of fresh snow the Panoramabahn Kitzbueheler Alpen and the Resterkogel chairlift are were the first to take winter sports fans up the mountain. More lifts will open over the next few weeks.

The early opening is great news for the famous Tyrolean resort which is often cited as one of the likely first victims of climate change because of its relatively low altitude. Despite extensive snow making the resort had operational difficulties last season with limited natural snowfall and temperatures too warm for snowmaking at the start of the season leading to the cancellation of the famous Hahnenkamn downhill.

Eva Greil and Flori Köck from Munich were among the first skiers to hit the slopes, "Yesterday we were still climbing in the Kitzbuehl Alps and today we're enjoying the fresh air on skis. That's pretty cool, isn't it? How this winter will be is difficult to say. As an experienced hang glider I have noticed that weather forecasts are becoming less reliable, in summer and winter. But of course I'm hoping for plenty of snow!"