Keen skiers and snowboarders can find unprecedented bargain basement prices this season as tour operators begin to launch cuts in the face of a serious slump in advance bookings. Some operators are quietly confessing that reservations are as much as 40 per cent below the same period last year.
The millennium in particular is turning out to be a damp squib for many ski resorts with desperate operators slashing ambitiously high brochure rates by up to 50 per cent.
If you have specific requirements book now and ask for the keenest prices. For those prepared to be flexible in destination and accommodation, hang on a little longer and shop around - prices are still falling.
Ski America's finest champagne powder in Steamboat, Colorado. Crystal Holidays (tel: 0870 848 7000) has reduced the brochure price of a 10-night stay in a four-star catered chalet by up to pounds 400 for departures on 26 and 29 December. Prices, from pounds 779 per person, include return scheduled flights to Denver from London Gatwick or Manchester, transfers, four-star chalet accommodation and three meals a day. For more details visit its website at: www.crystalholidays.co.uk
If you can make it soon why not indulge yourself in the comforts of the luxury Chalet Muirfield in Whistler, Canada's top ski resort for seven nights, departing on 4 December for pounds 669 per person. Price includes gourmet four-course meals preceded by cocktails and canapes, and fine wines, plus home-baked teas each day and a cooked breakfast every morning. Prices include daily private transfers to the slopes and return flights to Vancouver on Air Canada. Call Ski the American Dream (tel: 0181-552 1201) or visit: www.skidream.com
A chance to take an early season ski break and watch the World Championship Downhill Races from 26 November to 2 December on the Birds of Prey slopes in the upscale Colorado resort of Beaver Creek. Ski Independence (tel: 0870 555 0555) has daily connecting departures from London to Denver with Continental Airlines and American Airlines. Price of pounds 639 includes flights, transfers and seven nights at the five-star Inn at Beaver …