Winter 2019/20 is on – lifts start rolling on the Austrian glaciers this weekend |

A week is a long time in weather. Days ago, we were standing in Mediterranean waters, sand between the toes and sampling beach-front menus. A relocation to the Alps was met with several days of snow and now the glaciers are set to welcome early season skiers and snowboarders from Friday the 13th September.

With dizzying speed, summer gave way to winter in the higher elevations of the Alps, with a winter weather system passing over the region at the beginning of the week and depositing more than 0.5m of fresh snow. Enough snow has fallen to ensure that the Rettenbach glacier above Sölden and the Stubai Glacier south of Innsbruck will be opening on Friday the 13th. Literally, just days ago we were amongst the beach crowd. The revolving door of equipment storage turns quickly – in goes the coasteering and surf gear and out comes the skis and avalanche safety equipment.

The Pitztal Glacier is currently undergoing maintenance on its funicular and won't be opening until the 21st September. The Hintertux Glacier is still able to provide skiing 365 and operations continue on the slopes beneath the Olperer peak.

What to expect? The skiing will be limited to the highest slopes on both the Stubai Glacier and the (Sölden) Rettenbach Glacier but as snow falls and is manufactured, then additional lifts will be opening over the coming weeks. Little wonder that these regions produce skiers and boarders from other planets, the skiing usually runs from September through to July and in some locations right through the year. And if you are looking to rub shoulders with the stars of the ski race world, then most national race teams will be locating in the region for race training on the glaciers, in the run up to the start of the FIS calendar on the Rettenbach Glacier in late October.

Outdoor spa pool in snow storm at the Aquadome, Austria.
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