A number of the worlds biggest ski areas are fully or mostly closed for skiing and boarding today as a severe storm hits the Alps.

The Western Alps are particularly badly affected so far but the storm will affect a large area across Central Europe.

Last night Europe’s highest ski area Val Thorens issued a warning that it expected extreme conditions of potentially up to 200kph (125 mph) winds and up to 2.4m (eight feet) of snowfall by Friday.

A Chamonix spokesperson painted a similar picture saying, “The valley is experiencing extreme weather conditions with heavy snow periods interspersed by freezing periods and warmer periods with torrential rains.”

Val Thorens warned against going outside alone in the resort, issued a curfew from 10pm nightly, warned against standing below rooves or by embankments and said that no cars would be allowed to leave carpark until Friday and that the resort shuttle bus network would cease operating to allow resort teams full access to constantly clear away snow.  The access road to the resort would also be closed at times for avalanche mitigation work.

On the slopes Val Thorens warned many slopes would be closed including 3 Valleys links and that the avalanche danger would be add or near maximum.  It says the safest place to be is in your accommodation.

This morning Val Thorens (Pictured above yesterday) reports only three lifts Moutiere / Cascade / Cairn are operating.

Les Arcs (pictured below yesterday) also say that most of the huge Paradiski region is currently closed for safety reasons whilst  Avoriaz has taken even stronger action and closed its slopes completely today.

In Chamonix the Grands Montets, Brévent-Flégère and Balme-Le Tour ski areas area closed for the day, as is the Aiguille du Midi and Montenvers Train closed for the day.

The resort warns against all but essential travel.