Forget this season – next year's great deals are already on sale
Sunday 17 April 2011
Abundant snow in North America (if not the Alps) has led to several US resorts announcing extended seasons into May, but most of us have had enough of winter and are looking forward to the return of warmer days.
However, after their third successive "challenging season", tour operators are keen to get us thinking about booking our 2011-2012 holidays early, and not rely on cheap last-minute deals that have been the norm this season.
Crystal (0871 231 5655; crystalski .co.uk) already has luxury trips to Canada next winter at 50 per cent off, if booked by 30 April. This deal brings a week in Whistler (departing 18 January 2012) at the five-star, slopeside Fairmont Chateau Whistler, down to £899 per person. This price is for seven nights room-only, including Air Canada flights and all transfers.
More than ever before, quality and value look set to be the sales battleground for 2011-2012, with Inghams (020-8780 4447; inghams.co.uk) unveiling its new centrally located and fully catered Chalet Hotel Atlanta in Zermatt. Its long list of attributes includes a bar with (we're promised) superb views of the Matterhorn and five-course dinners with complimentary wine. Prices start at £699 per person for a week's catered accommodation, transfers and Gatwick flights.
Ski Independence (0131-243 8097; ski-i.com) warns that the old adage – you need to book early to secure the dates and destination that you want – remains as true today as it was in the boom years.
"We've taken lots of bookings for next season already, with clients saving up to 50 per cent, and bagging the lowest flight prices on busy departure dates," said marketing manager Phillipa Swindale. "Flights are now available to book for Christmas and New Year (these will sell out in all but the most expensive seats pretty quickly), and flights have just been released for February half term – the week starting 11 February for most schools next year."
And what of skiing in Japan for 2011-2012, a small but growing market for the past five years? Holidays to the land famed for its abundant powder snow are, considering the devastation caused by the recent earthquake and tsunami, already selling.
"We have already taken bookings for Japan next winter. Skiers are smart to work out that the island of Hokkaido is quite a distance from the area that's having the problems." said Crystal's spokesperson Marion Telsnig.
Ski Independence boss Michael Bennett agreed: "We are just going to see how it goes. We want to offer all the support we can and we'll offer holidays as usual."
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