NOW the schools are back and autumn’s on its way, it’s time to tempt clients out of their shorts and into their ski pants.

That shouldn’t be too difficult. The 2006/07 ski programmes have new resorts in Japan, Slovenia and Lapland to attract keen skiers, who will be lining up for a place on the piste, as well as beginners and families who want to give winter sports a try.

Last winter was a good one for the specialists. Healthy snowfall helped France to consolidate its leading position in the UK ski market, and the strong pound boosted US bookings.

This season has started well, with Inghams reporting business ahead of the same time last year.

All of the following are on sale now.

 

Thomson

Brochure:Ski and Snowboarding

What’s new
Nine resorts including Crested Butte in Colorado, Sansicario in Italy and Iso-Syöte in Finland, and ‘learn to cross country’ packages in Seefeld, Austria and Ruka in Finland.

They say
“From our family-friendly resorts to well thought-out childcare and prices, we make it easy for everybody to go skiing.”

We say
Package prices and ski extras are clearly laid out. The star grading allows clients to see at a glance if a resort suits. Good for beginners planning their first skiing holiday.

Lead price
£199 per person for seven nights’ self-catering in the Olympiades Apartments in Val Thorens, France, including flights and transfers.

 

Crystal

Brochure:The Ski Brochure

What’s new
Niseko and Rusutsu in Japan, more resorts in Austria, Switzerland and Italy and Snuggle Clubs for kids aged six months to four years at Crystal’s family club hotels.

They say
“We have a nose for what’s going to be good and are extending the choice yet again to new and exciting destinations.”

We say
This is the skiers’ bible – 380 pages of hotels and apartments across the world and lots of essential information about each resort.

Lead price
£258 per person for seven nights’ self-catering at the three-star Les Bergers Apartments in Alpe d’Huez including flights and transfers.

 

Inghams

Brochure:World Class Ski and Snowboard

What’s new
Rusutsu and Niseko in Japan, with optional short breaks in Tokyo and Kyoto, Tahko in Finland, Saariselkä in Lapland and Schladming in Austria.

They say
“Our emphasis is on high-quality holidays offering exceptional service, spa facilities, après ski fun and superb value for money.”

We say
316 pages and 14 countries with skiing for all abilities, but the layout is confusing. It would be better with fewer pictures, more hotel information and larger price panels.

Lead price
£217 per person for seven nights’ self-catering at the Malina Villas in Pamporovo in Bulgaria, including flights and transfers.

 

Neilson

Brochure:Ski and Snowboard

What’s new
Kronplatz in Italy, Katschberg and Rauris in Austria and Beitostolen in Norway. Breckenridge, Winter Park and Copper Mountain in the US have been reintroduced.

They say
“We continue to develop services and introduce accommodation and resorts with the highest possible standards, whatever the budget.”

We say
A chunky 300-page easy-to-follow brochure with a good choice of resorts, hotels and apartments. ‘Revitalise’ panels highlighting spa hotels save you looking through all the brochure descriptions. Price panels are well laid out but there’s a lot of print to work through.

Lead price
£245 for seven nights’ self-catering at the Sant Roma Apartments in Arinsal, Andorra, including flights and transfers.

 

Panorama

Brochure:Ski and Board

What’s new
Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, where Panorama is offering five hotels.

They say
“Our new destination, Slovenia, will soon rival the most popular destinations for families who ski and board.”

We say
With Andorra and Bulgaria in the line-up, free lift passes at selected hotels and free kids’ places at several properties, this is an ideal choice for clients on a budget.

Lead price
£209 per person for seven nights’ self-catering at the Manzano Apartments in Pas de la Casa, Andorra, with flights and transfers.

 

Club Med

Brochure:Ski Villages Winter 2006/07

What’s new
Sestrière in Italy as a family village, catering for children from the age of two, and Baby Club Med Welcome, which provides nursing equipment and allows flexible meal times for parents with babies.

They say
“Club Med’s new ski product is even more inclusive than before.”

We say
Typical Club Med brochure, with lots of information about the resorts, categorised under lifestyle options, the skiing and what’s included, help to make it an easy sell.

Lead price
£682 per person for seven nights at Les Arcs Altitude in France including flights, transfers, meals and drinks, ski pass and ski and snowboarding lessons.

 

Mark Warner

Brochure:Ski

What’s new
Heli-skiing in the Canadian Rockies and an escort service to take kids to and from their chalets to ski school.

They say
“The brochure, aimed mainly at people with some ski experience,  conjures up the atmosphere of Mark Warner.”

We say
Hard to go wrong with this one, with clear information about the chalethotels and what’s included. Childcare is also clearly spelt out. As there is space, a few readable resort maps would be nice.

Lead price
£416 per person half-board for seven nights at Chalethotel Hauts de Tovière in Tignes including flights, transfers, wine with dinner and ski guiding.

 

Airtours

Brochure:Ski and Snowboard 2006/07

What’s new
All-inclusive packages, with free equipment, lessons and lift passes included, and La Rosiere and Valloire-Valmeinier in France.

They say
“We have holidays at value-for-money prices and resorts for every skier or snowboarder, whether beginner, intermediate or advanced.”

We say
A slim brochure with keenly-priced holidays in Romania, Andorra and Bulgaria for clients watching the pennies, but scant information for skiers who don’t known their way around the slopes.

Lead price
£249 for seven nights’ self-catering at the Sandy IV Apartments in Pas de la Casa, Andorra, including flights and transfers.

 

First Choice

Brochure:Snowsports, main edition

What’s new
Levi and Yllas in Lapland, direct flights from Gatwick to Ljubljana and a new kids’ club offering childcare and tuition in Slovenia.

They say
“The main-edition brochure reflects our constant efforts to tailor products to satisfy customer needs.”

We say
Clever design, with the bulk of the programme on one side and family-friendly resorts highlighted in their own mini-brochure on the flip-side. There’s lots of choice, it’s well laid out and full of information. Excellent for first-timers looking for advice.

Lead price
£99 per person for seven nights’ self-catering at the Vitranc Apartments in Slovenia, including flights and transfers.