If you ski get your skates on
A BIRMINGHAM news item reports a higher number of applicants than ever for this time of year for winter holidays. One reason is natural desire to shop around for the best skiiing bargains and profit by the guaranteed prices offered by many agencies.
Erna Low has, as usual been early in the field with its advance news and has some tempting offers beginning at under a hundred pounds a week.
France is still cheaper than most other countries, at least among the "budget" packages. Switzerland comes next, with Austria a fraction more expensive on average. The reasons, fairly obviously, have a lot to do with the distance travelled just to get there.
A new feature this year from Erna Low is the bigger than ever rate of discount allowed for children under six. And you know what they say about the necessity of starting young when it comes to skiing.
It is fascinating to watch the expression of pure ecstasy on some of the rookie youngsters as they mount the ski lifts, to say nothing of how they feel coming down.
St Anton is one of the best "allround" winter resorts in Austria. The scenery is soft and charming, there is plenty for the "oldies" to do and it can be enjoyed to the full by non-skiiers who are accompanying their children or friends.
In France, Flaine is hard to beat for sheer v alue and is particulrly suitable for families with mixed ages and tastes. There is an excellent and reliable creche so you can even — at minimal costs — bring the pre-skiiers as well.
Traditionalists still tend to favour Switzerland and I personally know of no better spots — unless of course you can't do without St Mortiz — than Grindelvvald or nearby Wengen.
Worth bearing in mind is the possibility of forming a group (not less than ten) and, as "leader", getting a 50 per cent reduction or even a completely free holiday.