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WHERE TO SKI THIS AUTUMN - Katie Bamber, Senior News Reporter
Monday September 4, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

The first resorts open in Scandinavia & more resorts have opened in the Alps. See where to ski early around the world. UPDATED

The ambition to be the first to open for the ski season is sometimes a little crazy.

Geilo in Norway opened last week and now Ruka in Finland has followed suit.

Watch the video below to see the lengths Ruka Ski Resort took, to ensure they could open.

So, how do they get such an early haul of snow?

It was man-made at the end of last season and then lovingly cared for over the summer to prevent it from melting.

They used sawdust to cover the mound of snow as part of a snow farming technique that conserves the snow and reduces the melt.

The  mound of snow is then uncovered and a few runs are created.

We reported on this snow farming technique in July this year in Les Saises, France.

Ruka, in Finland opened for skiing on Friday 6th October.

Ruka ski season opening 6.10.2017 #coordinatesofsnow #lumenkoordinaatit . . . @rukafinland #rukakuusamo 📹 @teemuheljo

A post shared by Ruka Ski Resort (@rukaskiresort) on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:58am PDT

Ruka October snowRuka - October snow

"Ruka ski season has been opened for winter 2017-2018, welcome to the snow," said the resort on its Facebook page.

"Ruka Ski Resort's lifts and slopes has been opened for the winter season 2017-2018, welcome to the Coordinates of Snow!"

Ruka, FinlandRuka, Finland

Ruka, FinlandRuka, Finland

With summer most definitely over, we can be outright excited about skiing this season.

Here are the latest pictures from the glacier at Kaprun in Austria.

Kitzteinhorn glacier, Kaprun AustriaKitzteinhorn glacier, Kaprun Austria

Kitzteinhorn glacier, Kaprun AustriaKitzteinhorn glacier, Kaprun Austria

Skiing now, even.

Two resorts in Austria, Pitztal and Stubai opened in September. 

Then Soelden followed suit.

Tignes, France opened last weekend on Saturday 30th September as did Kitzsteinhorn, Kaprun.

Below are the first turns of the season at Tignes....

Kitzsteinhorn - Kaprun opens 30th SeptemberKitzsteinhorn - Kaprun opens 30th September



















Season starts!Season starts!















Slope preparations in Tignes have been taking place all week:

That's right, between the summer skiing on glaciers and winter season - which for most resorts through Europe commences mid December - there are a few that offer the keenest skiers and snowboarders the chance to Autumn ski.

So, where can you ski ahead of the main bulk of the resorts opening in December?

First up:



At the top end of the Zillertal valley in the Tirol, the Hintertux glacier is another year-round snowsports resort.

There is 60km to ski and the Betterpark freestyle snow zone opens October 5th this year.

Hintertux glacierHintertux glacier, 4th September, after first snow of new winter

Betterpark HintertuxHintertux Betterpark

Pitztal Glacier

The Tirol's Pitztal glacier skiing is open from 15th September, running right through to May.

Last year the glacier saw 235 days of skiing.

Skiing on the Rifflsee starts later in December.

Here's how it looked early morning on the run up to opening - 3rd September:

Kaprun - Kitzsteinhorn

The Austria glacier resort - just round the corner from another favourite Zell am See - is slated for a 13th October start.

"Enjoy freedom from October" is its slogan - cheers to that!

Running from 3rd - 5th November is the WOW Glacier Love music festival.
The Kitz following early September snowThe Kitz following early September snow

KitzsteinhornKitzsteinhorn September webcam

Also in Austria open for October skiing is Stubai Glacier.

New last season in the glacier resort was a €60m ski lift - 3S Eisgrat.

And check out the snow on the glacier during its October opening last season:

It is one of the world's largest glacier ski areas and is less than an hour from Innsbruck.

Why not...?

The Gurgls

Obergurgl / Hochgurgl / Gurgl are located in the Tirol.

Obergurgl is set to open 16th November. 

It is often among the first of the non-glacier resorts to open for the season.

Obergurgl's annual winter opening partyJoin in Obergurgl's annual winter opening party


Tignes' Grande Motte glacier is open for summer skiing and its winter season stretches from September to May.

The Tignes ski area and glacier will be open for the 17/18 winter on 30th September:

Fancy some autumn skiing?Fancy some autumn skiing?

Les2Alpes will be open from 21st October to 1st November for some pre-season skiing.

And afterwards it takes a wee break until 12th December, when the season starts in full swing.

Les 2 AlpesLes 2 Alpes

Val Thorens is among the first names to open for the winter.

The end of November last season offered up great conditions for its official opening weekend.

18th November is the opening date with 70% of its lifts turning.

If it's anything like last year, it'll be well worth getting to:



In the Aosta Valley on the Italy-Switzerland border, summer skiing finished on 10th September.

But the lifts will be running on the weekends of 14-15th October and 21-22nd October.

Then the season starts in full swing from 28th October, 2017 and runs until May 2018.

Not long to wait, folks.

Warren Smith Ski Academy is running ski courses in Cervinia this November, with the first one kicking off on the 5th.
CerviniaIt's not skiing, but just look at Cervinia



Start big this year.

Skiing on the Theodul glacier is open 365 days a year.

Theodul has 21km to ski and board at an elevation of over 3,800m.

Snowpark Zermatt is also open year round for freestylers and a likely place to spot some pros in practice.

Zermatt's ski area also links to skiing over in Italy, but a little later on in Autumn. See Breuil - Cervinia in the Aosta below for early-season October skiing.

Remember there'll be views of the one & only...

 The MatterhornThe Matterhorn


It opened for skiing this summer on 15th July and is set to remain open until April 2018.

This means the 17/18 season is already on in Switzerland with Saas Fee nearly two months in.

Saas Fee MittelallalinSaas-Fee Mittelallalin

The Swiss Titlis Glacier near Engelberg and Glacier 3000 at Gstaad are October skiing options.

Titlis has skiing up to 3,020m, 18km of skiing and 14 lifts.

Glacier 3000 has, surprise surprise, skiing to 3,000m and 25km of piste to shred this autumn.

The Engelberg opens up on 7th October and 28th October is the date for Glacier 3000.



Norway has dozens of ski resorts and is becoming increasingly popular among Brits.

A lot of it has to be down to the Scandinavian climate and the cold, snowy winters.

It is as snow sure as Europe gets.

Oslo Winter Park is ideal for a short break or a city-ski combo holiday.

It is 20 minutes drive from the city of Oslo.

The resort hosted World Snowboarding Championships in 2012 and since has been renowned for its snowpark.

15th November is the date it is slated to open.

Oslo Winter ParkOslo Winter Park

Oslo's ski resortOslo Winter Park

11th November Norway openings:


Open for an early season start, the town sits between two national parks.

Hallingskarvet National Park is one, and famous for impressive steep cliffs home to arctic foxes.


Situated close to the city of Lillehammer.

It boasts olympic slopes to carving pistes to easy blues, with views of the mountains of Gudbrandsdalen.


It has four ski bases, two villages, 71km of piste and is Norway's largest ski area.

PlanetSKI partner Crystal Ski Holidays last year added Trysil to its programme.
TrysilSki Trysil with Crystal

Norefjel Ski Centre
in Noresund is opening on 10th November.

A host of other Norwegian resorts are snowy and good to go in December.

For a quick early-season ski trip to Norway, tour operator Ski Solutions has the key:


The Canada and US winter ski season generally kicks off ahead of the European game, with resorts opening thick and fast in November.

Early snow has fallen and there has been some skiing already.

Mount Bachelor in Oregon set up a snow park last weekend.

Mt BachelorMt Bachelor fun on the weekend

Snow has dropped throughout the west on the mountains and patrollers, locals and adventurers have been up.
With the snow already falling and early weekends enjoyed, fingers are crossed for dates to be brought forward.


Sunshine Village and Lake Louise in Banff are the first to open in Canada, starting the season on 10th November.

s season will kick off on 23rd November.

20th SeptemberSeptember Snow - Whistler

Big White, also in British Columbia, is aiming for the same day.

Revelstoke and Kicking Horse, BC's other big name resorts, are set to open at the start of December, 2nd and 8th respectively.

Big White's snowy count down:

Tremblant in Quebec will start the lifts on 23rd November.

And over in Alberta it'll be the resorts of Nakiska Ski Area - 23rd November - and Marmot Basin - 10th November - to find your early season turns.

Marmot BasinMarmot Basin 20th September

Official US 17/18 season start dates by state:

Colorado boasts the most October openings.

Loveland and Arapahoe Basin will battle it out in mid-October to be the first to open. 

Loveland is aiming for 15th October and A-Basin from 20th October.

Big names Keystone, Copper Mountain and Breckenridge all open the following month on 10th November.

Vail is set to open 17th November, with Beaver Creek not far behind on 22nd.

Wyoming + Montana

Jackson Hole is a 25th November start.

Grand Targhee is known for its powder and, though small, has some excellent off piste. 16th November is the date.

Further north Big Sky is planning for a 23rd November season opening.


Winter fun kicks off on 9th November in Mammoth Mountain.

Mammoth MountainMammoth 21st Sept - the last season only ended last month...

Boreal is also slated for 9th November, with popular resorts Squaw Valley and Heavenly a week later on 17th November.

It is ever more affordable to ski in the USA this autumn.

New low-cost airline Norwegian flies direct to Denver, opening up all the Colorado early season options.

PlanetSKI used Norwegian just weeks ago and can report that the service was easy, efficient & comfortable.

Elsewhere in the world

The ski season, after a slow start, has been extended in resorts in Australia and New Zealand.

South America has a little longer to go and there are of course the indoor snow centres, here in the UK and many more abroad:
Val ThorensLet's go!










Bring on the winter!

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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