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The ski season is in full swing at many mountain resorts across Europe, thanks to a big snowfall blanketing the region earlier than usual in some places.

In Garmisch, Germany’s highest peak, Zugspitze, opened Nov. 23, according to Leigh Plowman, leisure activities director for Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, which serves Defense Department personnel and their guests.

"It’s in excellent shape," Plowman said of Zugspitze. "It’s winter up there."

At Edelweiss, which operates a private slope on Hausberg, instructors taught 100 skiers over Thanksgiving weekend, Plowman said.

The Armed Forces Recreation Center complex offers equipment rental, daily lessons and, starting Dec. 15, five-day ski and snowboard instruction packages for all ability levels.

At Garmisch, more runs, mostly on the Hausberg side, are set to open Saturday, Plowman said. All runs should be open by mid-December.

The area did receive early snowfall "but it warmed up a bit, so we’re not [opening] exceptionally early," he said. "But we’re right on schedule."

Europe’s largest snowboarding Web site, Snowboard Club UK, noted Tuesday that resorts in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Switzerland have reported snowfalls of up to 3.4 feet in the past five days, with more than 200 ski areas across the continent expected to be open this weekend.

Zermatt in Switzerland has more than 100 miles of runs open, according to the club’s Web site.

Local ski clubs and Morale, Welfare and Recreation agencies in Germany have ski trips lined up for this weekend and for most weekends in December. The Tannenbaum Ski Club in Kaiserslautern, for instance, heads to Obergurgl, Austria, this weekend.

At Feldberg, a resort in the Black Forest popular with Americans in Germany, about a foot of snow has accumulated and 16 lifts are open, according to the resort’s Web site.

In Italy, 19 resorts are open, including Sestriere and Livigno in the Alps, reports.


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