More than twenty ski areas are already open for winter 2019-20 in Europe, North America and Japan but the pace of opening is quickening from November 1st as an increasing number of big name resorts open, some of them several weeks earlier than planned.

In Canada and the US the early openings are in part thanks to record-breaking October snow totals in some areas. Steamboat, although it has not yet announced it will open early, has had over 1.5 metres (five feet) of snowfall this month and Keystone (44 inches/110cm), which was one of the first in North America to open a fortnight ago, almost as much.

Verbier had announced that it was planning to open this weekend on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd November; but, like Laax and Andermatt, has pout its opening on hold at least to the 9th. Once open it plans to open at weekends through November, then from 2 December 2019 the lifts will be fully operational until the end of Verbier’s near six-month ski season in May 2020.

(Lake Louise on 29 October)

Another ski area with a long ski season, Lake Louise, has announced it’s opening a week earlier than planned, this Friday 1st November, after good early snowfall there. A second Banff resort, Mt Norquay, had already announced it’s opening tomorrow. Currently the area’s third resort, Sunshine, say they’ll follow in a week.

Four ski areas (so far) have announced they’re opening in the next 48 hours in Colorado after the record early snowfall there, joining the three already open. The biggest name is Winter Park but  Monarch will also open, it’s earliest ever date in its 50 year history. Eldora and last year’s ‘first in North America’ Wolf Creek will also open.

(Winter Park yesterday)

Other areas opening include Beitostølen in Norway and Austria’s Dachstein Glacier as well as several areas in the US Midwest.