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Thursday September 12, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

Two glacier ski areas in the Tirol opened last weekend after fresh snow. It's a taste of what's to come with winter getting ever closer.

Stubai and Soelden started up a few lifts on Friday 13th September.

Lucky for some.

And there are more signs that winter is coming as the animals are being brought down from their alpine pastures.

The cold snap has now passed with warmer temperatures returning in the Alps but it looked good as the snow capped the peaks.

Livigno, ItalyLivigno, Italy

As we look back at the weekend skiing, first up its Soelden:

The lifts are now closed in Soelden but it was a great weekend of skiing for those lucky enough to enjoy it.

It has now gone back to summer activities:

Winter thoughts in Soelden are turnng to the opening World Cup races at the end of next month:

World Cup racing - coming soonWorld Cup racing - coming soon

And then there was Stubai, which was due to open next month but has brought the date forward.

It's had 55cm of fresh snow last week and, wow, is it looking good......

Here are some images taken as the slopes opened:

Stubai, the Tirol, AustriaStubai, the Tirol, Austria

Stubai, the Tirol, AustriaStubai, the Tirol, Austria

Stubai, the Tirol, AustriaStubai, the Tirol, Austria

Stubai, the Tirol, AustriaStubai, the Tirol, Austria

  • 3S Eisgratbahn I and II
  • EUB Gamsgarten II as feeder
  • Rotadl  8-seater chairlift as feeder to the Daunferner and back (only for skiers and snowboarders)
  • Daunferner II T-bar lift


  • Piste no. 7
  • Piste no. 9
The Eisgrat Restaurant was also be open. 

See our earlier story with more news and images of the snow.
Soelden's Rettenbach glacier has also been busy getting ready.

SoeldenSoelden, the Tirol, Austria this week

"The glacier-skiing can start on 13.09.2019 at the Rettenbachglacier!" the resort said ahead of its weekend opening.

"Operating lifts 👉 Schwarze Schneide I 👉 Schwarze Schneide II 👉 SL Karleskogl ... after only one lift ride you can practise your first turns in the snow 😍"

SoeldenSoelden, the Tirol, Austria, this week

Soelden, the Tirol, AustriaSoelden, the Tirol, Austria, this week

Soelden will be hoping the snowy start to autumn continues. 

It hosts the opening World Cup alpine races on the Rettenbach glacier at the end of October.

Attention switches to next month's World CupAttention switches to next month's World Cup

Stubai and Soelden join Hintertux, which is Austria's year-round ski area.

It has also benefitted from the recent dump of fresh snow.

Hintertux, the Tirol, AustriaHintertux, the Tirol, Austria, this week














"This early snow is welcome news for the glaciers, which have just suffered another challenging torrid summer that not only severely affected snow quality, but also in some cases their viability for summer skiing at all," says alpine snow expert Fraser Wilkin of WeatherToSki.

"It may be too early to have a bearing on how the main winter season might pan out, but it does make for better conditions for those lucky enough to be skiing on one of the small number of glaciers offering skiing at this stage in September."

They include Passo Stelvio in Italy and Zermatt & Saas-Fee in Switzerland.

On Saturday Saas-Fee will mark the approach of winter with its traditional procession of the goats from Alpe Hannig.

The goats will be brought down from the top station of the Staffelwald ski lift to the base.

Saas-Fee goatSaas-Fee 
















And in Val Senales in Italy, which is due to open its glacier on Saturday, it's not goats but sheep.

The 'Schafübertrieb' or return of the sheep is an archaic tradition that lives on.

Shepherd lead up to 4,000 sheep across the border between Italy and Austria.

In mid-June they take their flock from villages on the Italian side to summer pastures near Vent in Austria.

This weekend they will be led back.

The successful return will be celebrated with a party.

It must be quite a sight.

Val Senales, ItalyThe return of the sheep, Val Senales, Italy - photo Peter Santer














Winter is also making an early (and late) appearance elsewhere in the world:

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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