A number of ski areas in the Dolomites and in the Pyrenees have opened for the 2019-20 ski season earlier than planned after heavy snowfall in Western Europe.

Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Italian Dolomites (pictured top) opened on Sunday, 20 days earlier than its previously announced opening date of November 30th after heavy snowfall down to village level.

The ski season in the Pyrenees got underway today at Alp 2500, the ski area shared by Masella (above) and La Molina in Spain. A second Spanish ski area, Formigal, says it will open on Saturday (16th) when the first in the French Pyrenees is also due to open for its 2019-20 season.

Most ski areas in the Pyrenees have had at least 60cm of snow in the past week but some as much as 1.2 metres (four feet) of snowfall.

Hintertux after 50cm of snow in 24 hours on Wednesday 13 November 2019

Resorts across Western Europe have been seeing unusually large snow accumulations in the first half of November with storms currently intensifying and more very big snowfalls forecast over the weekend ahead.

Recent season openings in the Alps include Andermatt, Livigno and Verbier with Crans Montana, Davos, Obergurgl and Schladming among those due to open in the next few days.