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Fresh fallen snow covers trees in northern Italian province of South Tyrol, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021.
Copyright  Matthias Schrader / AP Photo   -  

Italian Alps turn into a winter wonderland just in time for ski season

By Scott Brownlee

Images of fresh snow in Italy’s South Tyrol mountains this past weekend was a welcome sight for skiers in one of the regions hardest hit by the pandemic.

Ski resorts in northern Italy have been off-limits since the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, meaning this past weekend is the first time they've been open in nearly two years.

Matthias Schrader / AP Photo
The St. Nicholas chapel is surrounded by snow covered tress in northern Italian province of South Tyrol, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021.Matthias Schrader / AP Photo
Matthias Schrader / AP Photo
Clouds hang over a snow-covered meadow in northern Italian province of South Tyrol, Italy, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.Matthias Schrader / AP Photo
Luca Bruno / AP Photo
A tourist gestures while skiing, at Plan de Corones ski area, Italy South Tyrol, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.Luca Bruno / AP Photo

As if on cue, snow fell on the slopes of Plan de Corones ski area last week, just in time for the opening of the season.

Skiers made their way to this South Tyrol valley from all over Italy as Plan de Corones is one of the first valleys to open up their slopes.

Matthias Schrader / AP Photo
Snow covers the landscape in northern Italian province of South Tyrol, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021.Matthias Schrader / AP Photo
Luca Bruno / AP Photo
Children wearing protective masks board gondolas for Plan de Corones ski area, in San Vigilio di Marebbe, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.Luca Bruno / AP Photo
Matthias Schrader / AP Photo
The Dolomites mountains illuminated as the sun sets in Val di Funes in northern Italian province of South Tyrol, Italy, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.Matthias Schrader / AP Photo
Luca Bruno / AP Photo
A tourist shows his green pass at the ticket office prior to boarding a gondola in San Vigilio di Marebbe, Italy South Tyrol, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.Luca Bruno / AP Photo

Despite the excitement surrounding a return to the slopes, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 looms large over European tourism.

Having suffered greatly over the past 20 months, the tourism sector is moving forward with uncertainty as borders across Europe are starting to close once again.