It's never too early to start thinking about the coming ski season. Even while August blares and Europeans lead the vacation trail to the world's best beaches in Greece and the Mediterranean, mountains around the continent are prepping for the onslaught of skiers arriving with the earliest snow. In step with the resorts, travel providers are coming out with early bird ski specials with booking discounts and continuous listings of participating ski resorts offering savings.

Ski Europe (tel. 800/333-5533; plans on announcing their early bird specials to the general public on September 1, 2006. To get a jump on those announcements, sign up for a newsletter at that will let you know specials on a monthly basis and send you those early bird deals before the September 1, 2006 unveiling date. To give you a taste of the deals this winter, available SuperSki Week specials include Innsbruck for $629, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy for $798, Garmisch, Germany for $829, Interlaken, Switzerland for $919, and Chamonix, France for $929 -- all with airfare included. That's right. Those prices include airfare from the United States. Also included in SuperSki Week's are six or seven nights hotel accommodations, buffet breakfast and/or dinner daily, airport transfers everywhere except Innsbruck, and local taxes and service charges in Europe.

Accommodations are centrally located near the town or ski lifts with transportation to ski lifts and the town depending where you're located. SuperSki Week packages do not include airport taxes and security fees. Most are in mountain chalets with modern amenities or boutique hotels with no more than 100 rooms. All prices are per person based on departures out of New York City with other departure cities available upon request.

For holiday ski trips this Christmas and New Year's, Ski Europe has Thanksgiving and Christmas trips to several European ski destinations. A four night trip to Innsbruck including airfare, hotel, and daily breakfast, starts at $598 per person for travel from November 3 to November 28, 2006. Lift tickets are not included. Extra nights cost $40 per person for double occupancy. Accommodations are at the three-star Hotel Tautermann, a homey four-floor hotel with a youngish atmosphere popular among snowboarders and young adults in their late twenties and early thirties.

A seven-night Christmas vacation to Zermatt in Switzerland guaranteeing you a White Christmas costs $1,595 per person with airfare and all accommodations included in the package price to the famous Swiss ski town. Transfers to Zermatt via a second-class rail ticket are included in the price of the trip. Air taxes starting at $195 are not included in the price. This package puts you up at the Hotel Antika, a short walk from the lifts and the main shopping and nightlife drag. The hotel offers views of the Matterhorn. An air/land New Year's trip to Grindelwald, Switzerland is also available for approximately $2,295. A New Year's gala dinner is included in the package as are daily breakfast and dinner.

Alpine Adventures (tel. 800/755-1330; also has some early season ski packages to Europe. On the luxurious side, a beginner skier can benefit from the constant instruction and fully-guided Alpine Adventure trip to Chamonix, France that takes you through skiing destinations in Italy, France and Switzerland. In addition to accommodations in three-star hotels, daily breakfast, and three gourmet dining experiences, the eight-day seven-night trip also includes all transportation, five days of skiing including all lift tickets, ski rental or snowboard equipment, a mountain guide and all-day ski instruction for skiers of all levels. This European skiing extravaganza that takes you through Mont Blanc, past Lake Geneva into the Swiss Alps and through Italy and France to Chamonix costs $3,600 per person. Airfare on this trip certain to seriously upgrade your ski sills is not included. Alpine Adventures has land/ski and air/land/ski packages available to American, Canadian and South American ski destinations as well.

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