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If you’re currently skiing in the Alps (the French and Swiss ones, in particular) or headed there soon, chances are you’ve got a smile on your face.

The snowfall-obsessed site Weathertoski.com dubbed Wednesday 19 December an “epic powder day” across many spots in the Alps, with the sun finally peeking out after days of intense snowfall from France to Italy. In particular, the website calls out Val d’Isere  and Avoriaz in France and Verbier in Switzerland as having the powderiest of pistes, but there are plenty of other places delivering epic snow conditions so early in the season.

It’s important to remember that the Alps are a large stretch of mountains, and not all regions are getting as abundantly inundated with the white stuff as others. But across the northern French Alps in particular, the huge amount of snowfall has had people raving that this is the best start to a ski season in recent memory. Meteo France, the country’s national meteorological service, said the only winters with comparable snowfall to the first 10 days of December this year were in 1965, 1992 and 2007. Of course, all that snow means an increased avalanche risk, so wherever you point your skis or snowboard, make sure you’re heeding local weather advisories.

Here’s where to head for the snowiest start to this year’s ski season in the Alps:

France
The northern French Alps are reporting the most snowfall in all of the Alps, with more than a metre having fallen at the start of this week in areas above 1,500m. Set your sights on Val Thorens, Tignes, Courchevel, La Clusaz, Val d’Isere and neighbouring resorts like Les Arcs and Sainte-Foy Tarentaise. And in the southern French Alps, Serre Chevalier is your snowiest bet du jour.

Switzerland
For the most snow right now, stick to Switzerland’s northern and western regions and resorts like Verbier, Zermatt and Andermatt.

I was in Pragelato-Vialattea in the Italian Alps last Friday and Saturday, and there’s a ton of powder in the tree runs and on the pistes at the moment, too. The above photo of a skier friend waist deep in the white stuff, shot on Saturday 5 December, will attest to that.

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