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Green slopes mean ski opening delays in Austria

Many Austrian ski resorts are considering delaying their official opening times after initially promising early snowfalls vanished leaving many slopes still green.

One resort that already confirmed it will be delaying the opening is the Zillertal in Tirol where the shortage of snow means the opening will be delayed.

The spokesman for the Mayrhofner Bergbahnen Josef Reiter that operates the lifts at the resort said: "We had planned to open on 1 December but we have now delayed it to 7 December."

Many of the resorts that have decided to delay the openings warned that even if as expected there is a lot of snow at the weekend it will still be too late to help as the ski runs need to be prepared.

On the website of the Arlberger Bergbahnen visitors could read the message: "Because of the current situation and the current weather the planned ski season start for Friday the thirtieth of November will not be possible."

The ski resorts of Serfaus and Fiss-Ladis have not been affected because they had already planned an official start for the second week in December.

Relatively unaffected are the glacier ski areas as well as Ischgl, Ober- and Hochgurgl as well as Sölden according to a representative in the Tirol Chamber of Commerce Josef Ölhafen.

And in the VIP resort of Kitzbühel many lifts will also go into operation.

In the most westerly province of Vorarlberg ski operators remain optimistic despite the shortage of snow and the warm temperatures. A spokesman at Lech am Arlberg said the decision to go for 30 November was the correct one. At Montafon they are also confident that they will make the deadline for the official opening between the sixth and eighth of December without problems.

In the Bregenzerwald also in Vorarlberg are confident that the planned opening in the second week of December will work out fine.

Herlinde Moosbrugger from the local tourism board said however that they were hoping the temperatures will fall more so that people could get into the winter spirit.

In Salzburg there is less optimism, but experts from the Austrian central weatherboard ZAMG predicted that all over the province they would shortly be seeing snow. In Obertauern there are already five lifts in operation.

Bettina Plank from the Bergbahnen Flachau said: "We plan to start a part service on 29 November with 230 snow cannons in operation. Less optimistic officials at Saalbach-Hinterglemm when I had planned to start on 30 November, but where is currently too warm.

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