Tignes in the French Alps has announced it will open part of its Grande Motte glacier this Saturday, 19th October, kicking off the French 2019-20 ski season.
The ski area had been due to open three weeks earlier on 28th September, but was postponed due to lack of snow cover on the glacier, which Tignes management puts down to climate change.
Last year the season start was delayed for similar reasons. The resort tried to open for snowsports for at least a few days each month of the year but has been unable to in 2018 and 2019.
The recent precipitation, despite its weakness, make it possible to partially opening the slopes, under satisfactory safety conditions, but the skiing available is only suitable for skiers of a good level,” a resort statement reads, continuing, “Given the mild climate, the glacier remains under close surveillance and the safety commission will meet regularly to reassess the situation.”
Forecasters are currently predicting heavy snowfall on high slopes in the Alps, particularly over the next 48 hours and on Sunday. However the heavier snow is expected a little further East than Tignes, although it may get 30-50cm of snow on the glacier if forecasts are correct.
Around 16 areas are already open in Europe, mostly glaciers or Scandinavian areas using snow farming.
There was the first snow of the season ion the French Pyrenees overnight.
A second French glacier area, Les 2 Alpes, is due to open its glacier for a season preview week from the 26th October.