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Last Minute Bargains ....

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I am hopefully going on a last minute skiing hol the last week in January (snowfall depending obviously!).

How many of you wait until January to see what the snow is like before you decide where to go?

Do you actually get bargains at this time?

If you have had a bargain in previous years, would you mind divulging where, how much and how much/little in advance you booked it....

Thanks for all your help guys.

Hannah
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hannah, my record is phone hotel on Monday, confirm booking on Tuesday, arrive Thursday morning for breakfast Cool But I do know the hotel owners so it might have been a bit easier for me Laughing
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hannah, there will be bargains in the package hols if you don't mind putting up with tour operators. I prefer the diy approach (seems like most folk who try it do) but if you're booking late a package might be best.

I did La Tania from Glasgow last January, 2 of us in a 3* 4 person SC apt. The price came down from £390 to £240 per person and I booked it just under a fortnight in advance. That was from Crystal via their website. That was the last week in Jan, iirc the week or 2 before that were a bit cheaper.
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I have done book thursday arrive saturday before. But I was self-drive from geneva then (got a good deal though)
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
For those that do the DIY thing, what is the chance of getting flights last-minute for say late Jan / early Feb? Don't the flights tend to sell out much earlier?
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You could always book the flight and then leave the choice of resort to the last minute on DIY. It tends to be that the earlier you book the flights then the cheaper it is. I have done that before and changed the resort destination at the last minute because of no snow in the resort that I had intended to go to.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
This lot are good

http://www.igluski.com/

Skiworld is also usually a good bet but getting through to them on the phone is murder.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Ray Zorro wrote:
You could always book the flight and then leave the choice of resort to the last minute on DIY. .


Ray, not sure if I'm brave enought to do that! Also, I've not been terribly impressed with the so-called bargain flights this year so far.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Bit risky, but it was fun.

Sitting in my office on a Thursday afternoon, read about about a large snow fall in Zermatt, got in the car picked up my gear and a mate. Ferry to Dunkirk and was on the slopes on the Friday morning. Went to a bar called The Cow (I think that was the name). Ended up playing with a blues band. Got to about midnight when we realised we hadn't considered accomodation. Which kind of puts an edged of desperation on ones chatting up tactics.

In the end slept on the floor of a local photographers apartment. Spent the next couple of nights doing much the same. Great skiing, great company, great times.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Tony Ellwood, the cheap seats on the budget airlines (ryanair, easyjet) may well be gone by last minute. Not always though and there are a helluva lot more budget routes than last year.

On the other hand, seats on the charters will get cheaper. You shouldn't have too much problem getting a flight in January, it's a quiet month.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Hannah, last year I went on a pre-booked January trip to Cervinia where 10 feet of snow fell in a week. Consequently unable to ski all the time as lifts were often shut, so on my return I persuaded my partner to come on a last-minute deal to Mayrhofen to take advantage of all the glorious white stuff. At 10 days notice we booked through Crystal or Thompson - can't remember which, but they're the same now - we actually stayed in Zell am Ziller at a hotel that was just too, too posh for the likes of us - they were definitely not used to the package tour crowd. I think Crystal had tried to fill up the plane, and then booked what hotel accommodation they could find. Consequently we stayed in a beautiful, very luxurious hotel, the only disadvantage was that we had to bus it up the mountain each day but, as there was so much glorious ski-ing around, including the Hintertux glacier, we skied a different area most days. All for £350 each half board - which was half what I'd paid for my earlier trip in a grotty hotel. I also couldn't bear to end the season without one more trip, and booked a last minute deal through Iglu for Val d in the last week of April - stayed in a luxury chalet (VIP chalets) and hitched a ride on the Mark Warner flight. The total package was about £600, for something that would normally cost twice that. If you're not too fussy where you go, you should get something easily at the end of January even if, like me, you need the security of someone else organising it for you - but you'd probably do better to follow everyone else's advice and organise it yourself.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
You can also find a lot of good deals if you book early. Iglu always have a section full of "deals".
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
also try www.fasttrackski.com or www.skideals.com
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Hannah, I booked a couple of weeks prior to departure in Jan this year and got 7 nights catered chalet in La Plagne for £200. This was with Silver Ski. I've always found them to be excellent value
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I personally wouldn't bother too much about seeing what the snow is like before you book, unless it is the last minute cheapie you're after. We've found, to our cost, that conditions can change so quickly - from warming up and the snow melting to heavy rain and then too much snow falling (if that's possible Very Happy ) Unless you're really really unlucky the snow will be OK enough for you to ski and it'll be a challenge if the conditions are 'different'. We also prefer staying in hotels and most last minute deals are for chalets or s-c apartments.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Unless I am going with a big crowd, I always like to wait now.

It is reassuring to know there is a decent snow base there - which is important, particularly in early January. Otherwise, book somewhere high with a good snow record.
However, many people want to try somewhere different after a while. They may not wish to gamble on snow in a lower resort. Price is not the only factor for me now. Companies like Kuoni are faily flexible if you want to book late. They are not cheap, but there are no charter flights that get filled up and transfers are by rail.

Yes, I have had many bargains. Small chalet companies always used to discount a week or two before the holiday date. Sunday Times had all the ads.

Chalet companies such as Bladon Lines got incorporated into bigger concerns and I lost interest in chalets but Crystal usually have lots of different holidays in January. I got a club chalet in Zermatt at several hundred pounds discount last year and flew in to Sion which is far less tiresome than the usual airports.

You could DIY in Europe. If you have a fortnight Salt Lake City or Lake Tahoe are dead easy to arrange and motels are cheap.

Finally, if snow is really awful I either delay the holiday or go diving in a warm clime.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
My best was to book at 11AM Fri for a 16:48 departure Smile
Well... I'd have booked earlier but they wanted this scary single supplement; with only 5/6 hours to go, they could hardly hold out hope of booking it out to anyone else and let me off Wink

That was with Ski France, who are in the snowShops
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Last year I booked two weeks before on Igluski and got a catered chalet half price at the end of January. This winter I'm booking Geneva flights now, and then looking to see where the snow is best at that time. January is generally a quieter month than Feb/March, so you should have no problem finding somewhere to stay. I reckon the cost will be similar.
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Last year 4 of us booked a deal through Fast Track holidays (someones given the address higher up) We booked early November to go on January 9th to Pas De La Casa. The cost was £320 including lift pass in half board hotel. We complicated things by requesting 3 flights from Bristol and 1 from Gatwick but it was all sorted for us and everything was great. I regularly check out Fast track for offers and would have no hesitation going last minute. Last season I spotted a trip to one of the Canadian resorts for something ridiculous like £280!! I will be late booking my second trip for February after my booked trip in January!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
The general principle is that air fares get more expensive as the date approaches, especially if the route attracts substantial business traffic. For the best deals at peak periods (weekends and school holidays), book flights to europe as soon as the airline's starts taking bookings. For midweek or for North America, wait for special offers and strike when you see a good one.

Accommodation and package prices often fall until the flights leave. But, if demand is strong, last minute packages can be more expensive than brochure prices, and availability can be very patchy. I know - I had to shift my holiday dates in Jan 2003 because I couldn't find anything suitable for a family of five. I ended up getting a great DIY deal to the States a few weeks later.
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Last year I couldn't wait for the week we had pre booked in switzerland and started looking for a last minute deal on teletext & net. Not to bothered about when we went, although we ended up going the first week in March. Had been keeping an eye on prices for Canada and USA with Banff the cheapest at around £300 for a week, flights and accomadation. Thought I'd be clever and leave it until the last week to see if it got cheaper, but ended up paying £360 for the week. Turns out that there was plenty of accomadation, but no room left on the charter flight. We got the last two available seats on the plane. Talking to other brits there who had paid two to three times as much atleast, I will definitley do the same again.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I do last minute deals all the time, and personally for the last week in January, as long as you don't want to completely fill a chalet, or have childcare, then I think that you would be mad to book any earlier than 24-48 hours prior to departure.

In Europe (North America is different because of presidents day), the second, third and fourth week of January are the low season, as low as it gets. You will struggle to find a hotel or chalet that is completely full in a big resort. At the same time, they are all fully staffed, because all the tour operators know that it will get busier again around half term and easter week, consequently it is a buyers market, with massive oversupply of accomodation. Also when you look at the economics of holiday industry, most of their costs are fixed - lease of hotel, staff, utilities, coach hire, and flight charter - for the season, so once they have covered these costs, everything else that they manage to sell, at whatever price, is profit. As these fixed costs are generally covered by the high season weeks when the hotel/chalet will be at 95%+ occupancy, making more profit generally revolves around filling beds in the low season, therefore it is in the interests of the tour operator to sell you a holiday, as long as it is above the added costs of having an extra client, and as long as it is not so low as to upset the other clients (so harming repeat custom).

Bargains I bought last year (all of these inclusive of flgihts from Birmingham, half board in a catered chalet, or chalet hotel)-

1 week in Val d'Isere in March £224 3*. 1 week in Val d'Isere December (week before christmas) 4* 299. 1 week in St Anton last week in February 3* 299.

None of these were the cheapest deal that I could find, they were the best compromise between price and comfort, but all were less than 50% of brochure price. In the March holiday, we could not find anyone in the hotel who had paid full brochure price!

I think that this all reflects the fact that the internet has changed the way that a lot of people book their holidays, removing the need for a travel agent, and also removing the need for advance planning, when it is so easy to go online and directly compare last minute bargains (and book them).

One other thing that I have found is that some unscrupulous travel agents will come online to sites like these, and spread scare stories about there being a lack of flights, coaches, or accomodation in order to put the wind up people and encourage them into their shops. I've heard loads of these scare stories over the past couple of years, and never once found them to be true.

Hope that this wasn't too long winded, and was helpful.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
mac, welcome to snowHeads snowHead
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Hannah, I would recommend that you give Skitopia a call on 01872272767 and tell them what you want, they have some really good deals for January and may be open to some negotiation.
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