Although several dozen ski areas are now open in the Alps for the 18-19 season, few offer more than 20km of terrain so far and most less than 5km.

That’s due to change this weekend however as several of the big hitters are scheduled to open on Friday and Saturday meaning that ski areas offering at least 50km of runs will be operational.

The French Alps have not had a very snowy Autumn on the whole leading to Tignes opening for its glacier skiing a fortnight later than planned last month and both les 2 Alpes and Val Thorens cancelling planned pre-season snowsports opening.

However Val Thorens has now confirmed it will open at least 30% of its terrain this weekend – or about 50km of runs – when it opens on the 24th of November for its Grande Première event.

“Despite the anticyclonic situation during the past few months, every teams of the resort do their utmost to offer an opening as wide as possible. At the moment, 10 snow groomers are actively working to compact the snow and prepare a snow cover allowing a skiable way back to the centre of the resort, at 2300 meters,” a spokesperson said.

Another resort opening this weekend that famously opens a lot of terrain from day one of its season is Ischgl in Austria.

The resort is famous for investing huge sums in snowmaking to open often and says it will have 50km of runs open from opening day this Thursday 22nd November. It also stages a major music concert to help get the skiing crowds in at the end of November.

A third area likely to have at least 50km of runs open this weekend, if not already, is the cross border Cervinia-Zermatt area which also makes a point of trying to offer the biggest skiable area in Europe, if not the northern hemisphere, in the month before Christmas.