TRAVEL: DEALS OF THE WEEK: CHRISTMAS SKIING

Sales for Christmas skiing breaks are going more quickly than usual, particularly in Swiss and Austrian villages. But over New Year the take-up is slow. Operators are divided as to the reasons: too much hype, over-inflated prices, effects of the millennium bug, indecision about where to spend the holiday. So, there is a lot available over the New Year.

Canillo, Andorra

Seven nights cost pounds 365 per person with Top Deck (tel: 0171-370 4555), departing on 19 December. Andorra is selling well, mainly because it is affordable - it's a good place to go over New Year, too, if you are looking for a lively place to party. Canillo should be connected to the main ski field this year by lift, which will save having to take the bus. The price includes return flights, transfers and half-board at the Hotel Armany, with a special Christmas meal.

Le Fayet, nr Chamonix

Twelve days (nine nights) cost pounds 398 per person with Snow Coach (tel: 01727 833141), departing on 17 December. The price includes return coach travel, accommodation at the Hotel Terminus, with breakfast, afternoon tea and a four-course evening meal with wine. There will also be a traditional Christmas dinner and a tree - all imported from England.

Courmayeur, Italy

Seven nights cost pounds 409 with Momentum Travel (tel: 0171-371 9111), departing on 20 December. The price includes return flights, b&b in a family-run hotel, scheduled flights and car hire for two.

Val d'Isere, France

Seven nights cost pounds 549 per person with Mark Warner (tel: 0171-761 7002), departing on 19 December. The Chalethotel Moris is just behind the main square and the ski lifts are within walking distance. The price includes return flights, half-board accommodation and about half the rooms have their own shower or bath.

Meribel, France

Ten nights cost pounds 829 with Crystal Holidays (tel: 0870 848 7000), departing on 29 December. The price includes return flights, accommodation in a chalet sleeping 12, with breakfast, tea and dinner included, and a six-course millennium dinner with champagne, wine and liqueurs.

Megeve, France

Ten nights cost pounds 999 with Stanford Ski (tel: 0181-789 2929), departing on 29 December. The price includes return flights, transfers, chalet-style half-board accommodation and tuition.

Aspen, USA

Ten nights cost pounds 1,280 per person with Thomson (tel: 0181-210 4555), departing 30 December. If you've set your heart on Aspen, the Snowflake Inn in the centre of the resort is a good choice. The price includes return flights, b&b and car hire.

Whistler, Canada

Ten nights cost pounds 2,099 per person with Ski the American Dream (tel: 0181-552 1201), departing 23 December. The price includes return flights, transfers and accommodation. Holidays in the US and Canada are selling out faster than for Europe. But beware, some of the hotels have been booked up for two years by regular visitors.

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