Early opening ... heavy snowfalls have prompted Perisher to open its slopes a week before the official start to the season.

Early opening ... heavy snowfalls have prompted Perisher to open its slopes a week before the official start to the season. Photo: Supplied

Now is the winter of our steep descents, with skiers set to hit the slopes as early as next weekend.

Perisher is opening its ski fields next Saturday after a weekend of heavy snowfall and frosty temperatures. It will be the first resort to open for the season.

Perisher chief executive Peter Brulisauer said the decision to open a week early would benefit the surrounding community, with all proceeds from the weekend's ticket sales to be donated locally. ''We are really excited for a great 2012 winter season and we can't wait to share all of the improvements we've made to the resort with our guests,'' he said.

Blizzard conditions ... the Snowy Mountains had a big dump of snow over the weekend.

Blizzard conditions ... the Snowy Mountains had a big dump of snow over the weekend. Photo: Perisher

The resort will host special opening hours of 9am till 3pm over the weekend. Some travellers have already made their way to the mountains to take in the first snowfall.

Katrin Hackney, of the Cooma Visitors Centre, said staff had handled increased enquiries about road conditions over the past few days. ''There are people coming through now to just play in the snow,'' she said.

ACT Tourism Minister Andrew Barr yesterday launched a $500,000 campaign to support local tourism operators through the cold months.

The Winter Weekend Getaway campaign targets travellers on short breaks and features an online ''Happy Hour'', which offers vouchers to people that book accommodation within certain time periods. Further details are available at visitcanberra.com.au