The majority of European ski resorts don't open until mid-December, but those itching to get back on the slopes can do so a month earlier - you just need to know where to look. A handful of high-altitude resorts in the Alps start their winter seasons as early as mid-November.

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl (1930-3082m), Europe's highest traditional village, opens Nov. 18. Not only is it one of the first to open each year, but it also offers a snow guarentee. Reduced ski passes (senior rate passes) are available to all early skiers Nov. 18 to 29 at €37.50 a day.

Solden (1377-3250m) opens Nov. 19. Its two glaciers and state-of-the-art snowmaking facilities ensure good early opening conditions. Ski passes cost €37.50 from Nov. 19 to Dec. 22.

Val Thorens (2300-3200m) opens Nov. 19. As Europe's highest major resort, it is naturally one of the continent's most snowsure, right from the start to the end of winter. It kicks off the season with the Ski Force Winter Tour Nov. 19 and 20, giving skiers and boarders the chance to test the new models of more than 15 top ski manufacturers for free and benefit from professional advice.

Other resort openings in November include Ischgl, St. Anton, and Lech in Austria; Zermatt, Saas-Fee, St. Moritz, Klosters, and Engelberg in Switzerland; Pal-Arinsal and Soldeu in Andorra; Val d'Isere in France; and Livigno, Cervinia, La Thuile, Passo Tonale, and Arosa in Italy.