Two French ski resorts have opened, marking the start of the French 23-24 ski season.
(pictured above earlier this month) and Val Thorens
have both opened almost a week earlier than planned having both received more than a metre of snowfall in the first half of November.
Despite reports of thawing, rain and avalanche danger on lower slopes in the French Alps this week following the big falls, both areas report over a metre of snow still lying on their higher runs. Val Thorens posted the most terrain open so far, with 10km of runs, while Tignes is believed to have the bigger lift served vertical of 1300 metres.
However although "opening early", 18th November is believed to be the latest starting date of a French ski season since at least the 1970s, with Tignes previously aiming to open in September or October, which it has now given up trying. Les 2 Alpes also opens in October if it can, but this year there was not enough snow.
France also has fewer resorts open than the three other main Alpine ski nations. Austria and Switzerland are already into double figures for number of areas open, while Italy has seven centres open already. The amount of terrain available is also growing fast with Solden now posting over 90km of runs and recently opened Obergurgl over 50km.