THE SKI season officially begins in just six weeks time. If you haven’t already booked your holiday, now is the time to seriously consider the options.
Each year, as the choice of both destination and tour operator multiplies, making the right choice becomes ever more complicated. This winter there are more than 200 companies offering around 250 destinations in 20 countries in the northern hemisphere.
Among the new offerings is Japan. Lower airfares are allowing tour operators to offer good value breaks to both Rusutsu and Niseko, on Hokkaido (one of Japan’s four islands), with the option of combining skiing and culture, including stays in Kyoto or Tokyo.
Alternatively, you could head for equally unexplored Tahko in Finland, Katschberg in Austria, Beitostolen in Norway and Humber Valley in Newfoundland. Or, you could join the 90 per cent who opt for the familiar names of the top resorts in the Alps, Andorra, North America and, of course, the most convenient and accessible resorts for those of us who live in Portugal – Sierra Estrela in the north of the country and the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain.
The good news is that, for most destinations, increases in prices are relatively small – so you shouldn’t end up paying much more this season than you did last. However, many tour operators are reporting a marked increase in bookings compared to this time last year, so if you want to travel at peak time – New Year, say, or February – it would be wise to make a booking soon.