SKI sales to the end of October are 18% down against last year, according to figures from data specialist ACNeilson.

JMCspecialist marketing manager Adrian Howell said that is the best position sales have been in all year. They plummeted by more than 30% over the summer.

“We have tried to hold our nerve so we have only been discounting for the past three weeks, but we cut back a lot in Italy, which seems to be faring the worst of all the resorts,” he said.

Inghams sales manager Laurence Hicks said the early discounts are bad news for the market.

“Thankfully we shifted a lot of holidays at full prices, but we cut prices last week.”

Inghams offers seven nights self-catering in France for £149 per person departing December 22.

The same holiday over the millennium, for 10 nights, costs £229 per person leaving December 29. Accommodation is allocated on arrival.