This week is seeing some of the heaviest snow in France as more areas prepare to open this coming weekend – December 4th and 5th. Last weekend more resorts than expected opened and currently there are 20 ski areas open including big names like Alpe d'Huez, Les 2 Alpes, Tignes, Val d'Isere and Val Thorens. Next weekend another 30 or so will open, meaning more than half of the country’s top resorts will be running their lifts.

In Chamonix there’s been nearly a metre of fresh snow in the past seven days with more snow falling and the Grand Montets will open again this weekend, this time staying open right through to next May.

The historic slopes of Mont Chéry between Les Gets, Morzine and Avoriaz in the huge Portes du Soleil ski area that straddles the Swiss border opens this weekend and as a special offer lift tickets are 15 Euros for adults and 10 Euros for children on both December 4th and 5th.

There’s 80cm of snow in the resorts and already nearly a metre and a half (five feet) up at 1800m and the locals are saying it’s the best start to the season in 25 years, which all bodes well for the coming winter.

There’s added excitement in Val Thorens, Europe’s highest resort, which open a fortnight ago but has recently taken delivery of two huge new cable car cabins which are due to go in to service this weekend.

The two cabins can carry 150 people each and weigh in at 22 tonnes each, Val Thorens invested 700,000 Euros in the cabins which will run on the existing lift infrastructure up to the very top of the world’s largest ski areas, the 3 Valleys, at 3,200m.

The snow is still falling but temperatures are warming a little and with the transport infrastructure getting back on track, it’s hard to imagine a better start to winter 2010-11 with deep snow and blue skies the order of the day!

Posted by Patrick Thorne on Tuesday 07 Dec 2010

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