The UK's two largest ski holiday tour operators who together represent about a third of bookings have formally released their main programmes for next winter 2017-18.
Crystal, part of the TUI group, goes to 126 destinations in 13 countries, offers departures from 23 UK airports, St Pancras and Ashford rail stations and will send nearly 200,000 skiers and snowboarders to over 1100 properties and almost 50 chalets this forthcoming winter. Inghams, part of the Hotelplan group, features 91 resorts across eight countries and departures from 21 UK airports.
Inghams and Crystal have already been selling their ski holidays for the coming season online since the end of 2016 and had largely already announced their main news for winter 17-18, but the 'main programme launch' in the summer remains a tradition despite the switch away from printed brochures and to year-round online selling with rather fluid pricing.
That said both operator do still offer a printed product of sorts. Inghams still offer a traditional brochure which can be ordered through their website, Crystal have opted for a 52 page 'guide book style' publication 'Your Guide to the Mountain' winter 2017/18 edition styled as a travel magazine.
The company states it is:
"…jam-packed with winter holiday inspiration. Its new magazine format highlights all the best bits of a ski holiday with expert recommendations to help readers narrow down the options for their next winter holiday. It includes top tips for families, first time skiers, finest restaurants and hotels, how to make your budget go further and more."
They hope people will download it from their site but it can also be picked-up in the Crystal store in the indoor snow centres at Braehead (Glasgow), Castleford, Hemel Hempstead, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Tamworth.
"We also added a few light-hearted pages on how Crystal measures up: for example, last season our chalet hosts served 81,192 eggs for breakfast to fuel our customers for the mountain and that our planes whisked over 40,000 pairs of skis to their home on the snow," said Crystal MD Chris Logan.
In terms of what's new, Inghams has expanded its ski programme in Italy and France with the introduction of four new resorts, three of which are in Italy: Claviere, linked to the Milky Way ski area; Livigno and Pila; plus Les Menuires in the 3 Valleys, France.
Crystal have new flying routes from Exeter, Doncaster Sheffield and Luton to Chambery for ski resorts in France and new destination choices Are and Vemdalen in Sweden and Heavenly in the USA plus what they describe as their first 'Slope-Ready resort' – Pamporovo in Bulgaria where all holidays include a lift pass, equipment hire and tuition with total cost from £579: Hotel Snezhanka, two sharing, departure 7 January 2018.
Both companies also have a number of other offers including early booking deals ending 31st July, 2017.