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Thursday November 22, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The 2018/19 season has begun with more resorts opening in the Alps & North America. PlanetSKI reports. UPDATED




It's always difficult to declare when a new ski season gets underway as resorts in Europe open in dribs and drabs.

Some Austrian glacier areas opened in October and other resorts including Verbier in Switzerland opened for weekends earlier this month.

A couple, Zermatt in Switzerland and Hintertux in Austria, never actually shut and are open year-round - weather permitting.

At the weekend the big name French resorts of Val Thorens and Val d'Isere have also open some slopes.

Here at PlanetSKI we therefore declare that (drum roll).......


Val d'Isere, FranceVal d'Isere, France

And of you want to grab a bargain there are plenty to be had today as we have collated all the best Black Friday deals around:

Last weekend our chief reporter, Jane Peel, was skiing in Val Thorens.

She arrived at Geneva airport on Friday:

Winter awaitsWinter awaits
















"The excitement of that first trip of the season never seems to fade," said Jane.

"I'm about to get on skis for the first time since late April and I can't wait."

"The conditions may not be perfect yet in Val Thorens but this weekend is the start of what I hope will be a long and snowy winter."

Arriving in Val Thorens, Friday 23rd NovemberArriving in Val Thorens, Friday 23rd November
















So, what is it like?


Read Jane's full report of the opening day with lots more photos and videos:

30 to 40% of the ski area is open in Val Thorens.

Enough to be getting on with...Enough to be getting on with...














However skiers and snowboarders are being recommended to stay on the marked runs and not go off piste as there are many rocks just below the surface.

Val Thorens, FranceVal Thorens, France














Val Thorens, FranceVal Thorens, France















Val d'Isere in France has also opened some slopes.

Val d'Isere, FranceVal d'Isere, France














Val d'Isere, FranceVal d'Isere, France













It's neighbour, Tignes, has been open for a while.

Here are happy skiers with Snoworks up on the glacier this week:

Snoworks in action in TignesSnoworks in action in Tignes















Sadly Les2Alpes had to cancel its opening last month:

But things are looking better now and it is set to open on December 1st:
Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France













"It's a winter wonderland again," said PlanetSKI reader, Alex Chapman, from Tip Top Ski Coaching.

But on Thursday the non-glacier resort of Ischgl in the Tirol opened and added itself to the growing list of open resorts.

23 lifts were running with 50km of pistes open.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria
















Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria













"Ischgl would not be Ischgl if the season didn't kick off with perfect piste conditions. Hard work is now underway to make sure additional lifts and pistes are available too. So the season will start off with plenty of fun!" said the spokesperson from the tourist office to PlanetSKI.

Ischgl, AustriaIschgl, Austria













The World Cup slopestyle competition is currently taking place on the Stubai glacier in the Tirol in Austria.

Stubai, AustriaStubai, Austria
















However in the Alps many resorts have only been able to open due to artificial snow.

Without the cannons the resorts would have had to delay things:

Hintertux, Austria , Thursday 22nd NovemberHintertux, Austria , Thursday 22nd November
















Over in the USA Thanksgiving took place on Thursday and is the traditional start with many resorts firing up their lifts.

Resorts are now open across the USA:

Alta in Utah opensAlta in Utah opens






Meanwhile lets not forget the Pyrenees where snow has been falling and the cannons are firing out snow.

Andorra, PyreneesAndorra, Pyrenees
















The first resorts in the Pyrenees open next weekend, December 1st, and we will bring you a full preview of conditions in Andorra plus the French and Spanish Pyrenees next week.

Things are also springing to life further north in Scandinavia.

Resorts already open include Ruka and Levi in Finland.

In Norway Beitosteln and Kvitfjell have some skiing.

Our editor, James Cove, will be in Norway from December 14th for a week or so and the cannons have been pumping it out.

Geilo, NorwayGeilo, Norway
















Geilo, NorwayGeilo, Norway


















Do check back as we update this page over the next few days and look out for Jane's separate reports from the slopes of Val Thorens...

Over the weekend we will also bring you a table of all the resorts currently open across the mountains of Europe.

And while we are on the subject of snow...

Two months after the ski season ended in Australia its been snowing in the ski resorts!

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia




See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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