Three glacier ski areas have opened in Austria and Switzerland this weekend following the heavy snowfalls a week ago.

The Stubai and Solden (above) glaciers in Austria opened for their 2019 – 20 seasons on Friday and were joined by Val Senales in Italy on Saturday.  All four areas reported at least 40cm of fresh snowfall in the past week, the Stubai (below) 55cm.

Ski conditions were reported to be superb today with blue skies and fresh snow.

They joined four currently open glacier areas in Austria, Italy, Norway and Switzerland to bring the total number of areas open in Europe and the northern hemisphere to seven, the most open since July.

Austria’s year-round Hintertux ski area (below) has the most terrain open with 20km of runs, with about 15km at each of Saas Fee and Zermatt.  Passo Stelvio and Val Senales both have around 5km of runs open and there’s so far limited terrain available on the Stubai and at Solden as well as at Galdhopiggen in Norway.

The number of areas open should reach at least 10 by the end of the month with two more Austrian areas scheduled to open of the next two weekends (Pitztal then Kaunertal) and the French ski season due to begin at Tignes on the final weekend of the month.

Two other Austrian centres, Molltal and the Dachstein glacier, say they’ll re-open when there’s more fresh snow.

Val Senales also saw the traditional return-of-the-sheep-to-the-valley on the day the glacier opened for snowsports.