Sölden opens early, in a winter that arrived late

In a normal year, we would be at least 6 weeks into the ski season on the high-altitude glaciers of the Alps. In a normal winter, we would still be a couple of weeks away from the main Sölden ski area opening. In 2023, the glacier skiing was delayed by a several weeks and the Sölden ski area opened early – today in fact.

Winter in Europe is all about height and perceptions of the winter season vary across regions. To many skiers and snowboarders, winter starts when the snows fall and the ski lifts turn, usually early December. To residents of Zermatt or Zell am See, winter starts when the first snows fall in late September, earlier for those of the Zillertal valley with access to the Hintertux Glacier. And so it is that winter 2023/24 started either early or late, depending on location.

Conditions on the ground

Our world has fine-tuned the ability to sugar-coat everything present day - stunning imagery floods our devices as soon as product highlight emerges. So, whilst the winter of 2022/23 was anywhere between poor to average, depending on location, then conditions in parts of the Alps in November 2023 are superb. Cold and wet weather systems have produced a stable or falling snowline on the peaks and the high-altitude, non-glacier ski areas are starting to open.

Christmas markets are opening their shutters

Across Europe’s towns and cities, Christmas markets will be opening to bring some atmosphere the dark, December evenings. The same is true of those in the Alps, only these markets have snow underfoot and are enjoyed after a day on the snow. For event planners who have been scrambling for Christmas party ideas, then next year, look no further than a corporate Christmas party in the Alps - it is a box ticker.

The dominoes now begin to fall

After Sölden opening today, next week it is the turn of Obergurgl, followed by Ischgl and Axamer Lizum in Innsbruck. Tignes opens next week and on the 25th November, action in Val Thorens will begin. Zermatt has been operating since the start of the month.

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