Skiers welcome snow to Swiss slopes

Dec 07, 2011
A picture taken on December 1 in the Courchevel Alps ski resort shows the place where skiiers depart for slopes. Swiss ski enthusiasts are breathing a sigh of relief after heavy snow finally hit the slopes, kicking off the winter season in earnest.

Swiss ski enthusiasts are breathing a sigh of relief after heavy snow finally hit the slopes, kicking off the winter season in earnest.

Forecasters MeteoSuisse said on Wednesday that runs above 800 metres were covered with at least a 20 centimetre-layer after long-awaited this week.

The mountains could see up to 70cm by the weekend, they said.

It is good news for the countries ski resorts, many of whom have delayed opening their pistes due to the lack of snow.

Among them is Chateau d'Oex in the western canton of Vaud which put back its official opening date from December 17 to 24 as a precaution.

Some, like Davos in the east, have been employing snow machines to keep skiers happy during the drought.

Until last weekend Switzerland had not received any significant rainfall for more than six weeks, with 2011 likely to be one of the driest years on record since 1864, according to MeteoSuisse.

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