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Heavy snow brings Val Thorens skiers to slopes

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Photo: Dimi Thalen
16:38 CET+01:00
Top French ski resort Val Thorens will open some of its pistes to skiers this weekend following unusually heavy early-season snowfall, local tourism officials said on Friday.

The resort has 60cm (two feet) of snow at 3,200m altitude and is planning to open about a quarter of its slopes from Saturday for enthusiasts who will be able to descend to around 2,300m, where the covering, bolstered by the use of snow cannons, is around 20cm.

With skiing not so fashionable as it once was and most European economies struggling, good, early snow conditions will come as a welcome boost for under-pressure tourist concerns in the Alps.

The first resort in France to open for business was Tignes, which opened its main pistes on November 10 and has had skiing on its glacier since the end of September.

Several other resorts have since announced earlier-than-expected openings with lifts operating only at the weekends.

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Further snowfalls are forecast in the northern Alps next week.

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