Ski resorts across France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy have started the winter season with the best snow conditions in 10 years. This has not only prompted many resorts across the region to open early, but also has helped dispel fears of the credit crunch affecting numbers of winter tourists.

The French alpine resorts received up to 60cm of fresh snow over the weekend of Dec. 6-7, while Swiss resorts saw 40cm by the end of Sunday. Italy too is enjoying the recent heavy snowfalls which have led to perfect powder conditions - with up to 100cm of new snow in one week.

Italian resorts were leading the snowfall parade with Passo Tonale with 91cm and Livigno with 89cm. Prior to this forecast Passo Tonale already had 370cm of snow on its upper slopes and 30cm on its lower slopes, while Livigno was enjoying 200cm at the top and 89cm at the bottom.  Madonna di Campiglio was in fifth place with 85cm.