Summer is over. We find ourselves in a limbo: it's neither warm nor can we see snow. For the ones who are becoming increasingly excited at the thought of skiing again, here a list of all those alpine ski resorts that open the gates in October!
Normally in October people start planning their winter holidays for January or February. If patience is, however, not your strongest virtue, you might not want to wait. Luckily for you there are a handful of European ski resorts whose winter season starts early and that open up the lifts months before the majority of ski centres.
There are many advantages of early winter season:
- Slopes are not over crowded;
- Accommodation and ski passes are cheaper;
These points are especially important for families, who like many others, are sick and tired of spending a fortune for accommodation and ski passes only to find crowded slopes. In the early season prices are reasonably low and hotels are not overbooked.
- If you rent ski equipment, you will be the first to try the new season’s equipment.
- There won't be much traffic leading up to ski resorts.
- You could be skiing “together” with the national teams preparing for winter and you may even see the best racers in action at Soelden (Austria) for the season’s 1st World Cup Race in October.
So… Itching to ski?
Where to ski in October?
Austria is a paradise for early skiers. It is probably the best country in the world to ski or snowboard in October if not in September. By the mid of October there are on average (depending on snow conditions) 7 ski resorts with operational lifts. This year the following resorts will be open early:
- The Hintertux glacier in the Ziller Valley has already opened at the beginning of October
- The glacier of Soelden normally open it's slopes by Mid-September
- The Stubai glacier (with a max. height of 3210 m.) opened on the 25th of September
- Pitztal lifts are operational by the end of September
- Kaunertal started its season on the 3rd October. Between the 9th and the 11th October the grand opening event took place with music and ski-related events
- The glacier Kitzsteinhorn (Kaprun) begins the winter season by mid-October
In Switzerland, many snowy areas already open to skiing enthusiasts and keen snowboarders.
- Zermatt, which possesses some of Europe’s highest lifts (some peaks reaching 3,899m above sea level), it easily has the amount of snow needed to open it's slopes. It is open already in summer
- Saas Fee proceeds in a similar way. It opens mid-July each year so that you can rest assure that you will be able to their slopes by October
- Les Diablerets Glacier3000 will be operational starting from the end of October
- The TitlisGlacier (i.e. Engelberg) opened its gates on the 3rd of October
- In Laax a couple of lifts are opened during summer
- The Diavolezza glacier in the Engadin Valley (the same ski area of St Moritz) is open for almost all year round: from mid-October to the end of May.
Only 2 French ski areas are operational throughout October:
- Tignes is able to remain open for almost all of autumn thanks to Grande Motte's altitude. It is open from the very beginning of October and it closes at the very end of May.
- Les Deux Alpes opens only for a week from 24th of October through to 1st November 2015. They run a kind of pre-season festival with many entertaining events and gear testing. The resort closes again until the main season starts at the beginning of December.
Italy, like France, only has a few ski resorts that have enough snow to open early:
- Val Senales’s glacier opened the 25th of September (some years depending on the snow conditions it opens even earlier) and it will be operational until the 8th May 2016.
- Cervinia opens on the 19th of October. You are able to access the Klein Matternhorn glacier from the Italian side.
- A third and last option is the ski centre at Passo Stelvio. It is actually a summer ski area: opened all summer long until the 1st November 2016. It could never be opened in winter due to its incredible height: the base of the Stelvio ski area is situated 2760m above sea level (highest bottom lift in Europe) and the top station at 3450m.