Each winter brings a clutch of new hotels, chalets and flights for skiers and snowboarders and the upcoming 2012/13 season is no exception. With the economy still in the balance, there is a continued focus for winter 2012/13 on getting more for less. Mark Frary uncovers what's new this season.

What’s new from ski tour operators

As in the last couple of seasons, the big ski operators continue to add new all-inclusive holidays to their brochures in response to a higher demand for fixed-cost holidays. Inghams, for example, has added all-inclusives this winter in Flaine in France, Kühtai in Austria, Lake Louise in Canada and three Andorran resorts. Prices start at £629 per person for seven nights.

Other companies are looking at different ways to keep ski holiday costs down. Crystal has launched 'Hotel Credits' in three hotels in France. Anyone booking before 30 November at the Terra Nova in La Plagne, the Viking in Morzine or the Diva in Tignes will get a €150 credit (€75 for children) to be used in the hotels’ bars and restaurants. Crystal is also offering free ski lessons in 16 resorts around the world, including Val d’Isère, Cervinia and Whistler Blackcomb (for selected dates in January and March).

All-inclusive specialist Club Med, which has opened a new resort in Pragelato, is offering short breaks for the first time this year. Rates start from £575 per adult and £527 per child for a four-night break at the Club Med Cervinia including flights, transfers, meals, alcoholic drinks, lift pass and lessons.

Pragelato430The new Club Med Pragelato Vialattea resort
Club Med

Meanwhile, Skiworld has launched a selection of pre-bookable packs for its chalet holidays, enabling guests to tailor-make their experience and save money. For example, the Sommelier’s Choice pack offers a bottle of chilled Champagne on arrival and a selection of size bottles of wine chosen by sommelier Patrice Esberard for £119.

Ski Total has recognised the increasing demand from holidaymakers for connecting to the internet on their laptops and iPhones and now offers free unlimited Wi-Fi access at all of its 127 properties. The company is also offering two-for-one lift passes, ski and boot hire in all of its Swiss chalets and chalet hotels.

For families, Scott Dunn and Val d’Isère’s Oxygène ski school have teamed up to launch Tots with Altitude, a scheme for pre-school children who want to learn to ski. The scheme runs in the off-peak weeks of 20 and 27 January and 7 and 14 April and takes advantage of the lower prices available in these less busy times. Kaluma, meanwhile, is offering free places for grandmas, nannies and au pairs at selected chalets throughout the season, including Christmas.

What’s new in ski hotels and chalets

Ski Talini 430Relax in front of Chalet de la Lune's inviting fireplace
Ski Talini

As always, there is a crop of new places to stay this winter. Luxury chalet group Ski Talini has launched its first chalet this winter, Chalet de la Lune in the village of St Martin de Belleville – the best kept secret of the Trois Vallées (Three Valleys). The chalet is a 400-year-old farmhouse that has been lovingly restored by its owners. Prices start from £495 per person for a week’s chalet board.

Even more upmarket – but affordable if you go out of peak season – is the new Chalet Grande Corniche in Les Gets. The chalet has its own grand piano, snooker room, indoor slide and glass-walled sauna with views of the mountains. The whole chalet costs from £14,500 a week for exclusive use for 12 people.

CGH has opened three more of its affordable but luxurious apartments in Châtel, Flaine and La Rosière in France. CGH’s apartments have become known for high quality construction in traditional materials, good-sized apartments and indoor pool and spa facilities. A week in Châtel’s Chalet d’Angele costs from £881 per apartment for a week’s self-catering including Eurotunnel crossing when booking through Erna Low.

What’s new in ski resorts

In other developments this winter, Megève is to get a new ski ‘lift’ with a difference, according to Stanford Skiing, which specialises in holidays to the French resort. Two of the resort’s areas have long been linked by cable car but now the area of Jaillet is to be linked with a horse-drawn 12-person calèche that will run every ten minutes from the bottom of the Calvaire ski run.

The resort of Avoriaz in the Portes du Soleil gets a new attraction this winter thanks to the opening of Aquariaz, a 2,500sq m indoor water park with pools and a heated open-air spa.

In the same ski region, the town of Les Gets will get a new attraction in the shape of Videopark, a timed slalom where you are automatically filmed as you race down the mountain. The resultant clip can be shared with your friends for bragging rights.

What’s new from ski airlines

Zurich 430British Airways has added an extra flight to Zurich
iStockphoto / Thinkstock

Monarch is launching its first ever scheduled ski programme this winter, with nine new routes to Friedrichshafen, Grenoble and Munich. This winter, it will fly from Leeds Bradford International Airport for the first time too, launching a service to Grenoble three times a week and a twice weekly service to Munich. British Airways, meanwhile, is adding an extra flight from London Heathrow Airport to Zurich and additional services from London Gatwick Airport to both Salzburg and Turn for the winter season.

A big change for skiers this winter will be easyJet’s introduction of allocated seating. The airline will ditch is current free-for-all system in favour of pre-allocated seats on flights to and from Geneva, Basel and Lyon from 27 November. These seats are free but passengers can pay between £3 and £12 to get seats at the front of the aircraft or those with extra legroom.

What’s new in ski gear

Blizzard430Blizzard's Flip Core, the cutting edge of rocker skis
Blizzard Ski

The big sellers in the shops this winter will be rocker skis, essentially skis that look like flattened bananas rather than the more typical cambered shape. Skis like these are perfect for floating through fresh powder and skis like Salomon’s Rocker 2 90s and Blizzard’s Flip Core are expected to fly off the shelves.

Eco-design will be to the fore in snowboards this winter – check out the Amplid Greenlight and Nice Story boards, both of which have strong green credentials.

Ski jackets with big slabs of bright colours, such as the Arcteryx Alpha SV, have become very popular in recent years, and will again sell well this season.

To find flights for your ski holiday this winter, book with World Travel Guide.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.