Major ski stations in France to open early as metre of snow arrives

The Alps have seen heavy snowfall over several days as stations prepare for the winter season

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Two major ski stations in France have confirmed they will open their pistes early this year as a result of good snow conditions.

Tignes, near Bourg Saint Maurice, has moved its planned pre-opening forward by a week to the weekend of November 18, to allow skiers to make the most of the heavy snowfall in the Alps in the last few days.

The resort reported that over a metre of snow has fallen on its summits, prompting the resort to start the ski lifts ahead of schedule.

They were swiftly followed by Val Thorens, who announced on Friday that they too would open some of their ski area a week ahead of schedule on November 18.

It is good news for mountain enthusiasts, many of whom missed out last year due to poor snow conditions early in the season.

Many resorts struggled with a lack of snowfall over December and January last year, limiting the amount of ski runs holiday-makers could access.

Currently in the northern French Alps, snowfall is at 189% compared to normal levels for this time of year. The average yearly snowfall in this area of the Alps is around 273cm, while in the southern Alps it is around 193cm.

During the pre-opening week in Tignes, from November 18-25, day passes will cost €38, while cross-country ski passes will cost €20.

Meanwhile, the official opening of the resort will take place on November 25. To mark the occasion, the station is offering a special weekend deal where skiers can get accommodation and ski passes for two days from €157 per person.

Read also: How can I get to the ski resorts in France?

Other big stations are yet to follow suit in opening slopes ahead of schedule, however Tignes and Val Thorens are not the only resorts to have seen heavy snowfall.

Val d’Isere is linked to Tignes, however its opening date is currently fixed to December 2.

Currently in the 3 Vallees, Val Thorens will see pre opening on November 18, while Orelles is set to open November 25. Courchevel and Meribel will open on December 2 and Brides-les-Bains and Les Menuires will open on December 9. Saint-Martin-de-Belleville is set for a December 16 opening.

The Paradiski area which includes Les Arcs, La Plagne and Peisey-Vallandry is currently set to open officially on December 16.

The Grand Massif’s five stations - Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon, Samöens and Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval are set for official opening on December 23. However the bigger resorts of Flaine, Les Carroz and Samoens will have pre-opening for people to ski from December 16.

The Portes du Soleil area brings together 8 French stations and 4 Swiss stations, all which have different opening dates. In France Avoriaz 1800, Champéry Les Crosets, Châtel, Les Gets and Morzine are set to open the weekend of December 16. Meanwhile, Saint Jean d’Aulps, Chapelle-d’Abondance and Portes du Soleil will open on December 23.

Resorts in the southern Alps are all set to open in December, with dates varying between December 2, 9 and 16.

A full interactive map with all the opening dates for each resort can be found here.

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