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Going For The Gold

It's not too late to book a flight to Nagano, Japan, site of this winter's XVIII Olympic Winter Games from February 7-22. Cartan Tours and All Nippon Airways (ANA) have joined together to offer programs including tickets for various events. The $4,895 price tag for the eight-day Wave 2 program, for example, includes airfare from Los Angeles to Tokyo, ground transfers to Nagano (located 130 miles northwest of Tokyo), accommodations and breakfast at the Hotel Cypress in Karuizawa (located one hour from Nagano), as well as entrance and transportation to five Olympic events. For $900 less, you get all of the above but no tickets, which can be bought separately from Cartan for $25-$403. Admittedly, you'll need a gold card for this gold-plated deal. But if you've got a yen to cheer Team USA in the last Winter Olympics of the 20th Century, the current yen/dollar exchange rate should help. Call: Cartan Tours, (800) 818-1998;

The Fechin Alternative
Taos skiers have long been content to bunk down right at the base of the mountain. They now have a terrific alternative 18 miles to the south at the Fechin Inn, located in downtown Taos. Situated two blocks from the town's historic plaza, on the grounds of the former home of artist Nicolai Fechin, this comfortable 85-room two-story hotel has been carefully designed in the Pueblo style. The Fechin Inn offers a package that includes accommodations, lift tickets, gourmet breakfasts and a discount on a much-needed massage after a day on Kachina Peak. Prices start at $199 per person, double occupancy, for three nights' lodging and a three-day lift ticket. The offer is good Nov. 26-Dec. 19. Call: Fechin Inn, (800) 811-2933;

Bragging Rights
Keystone is offering eager skiers the chance to experience its traditionally exceptional early-season conditions at a bargain rate. The cost of $799 per person, double occupancy, covers round-trip airfare on United or Northwest to Denver from most major cities, transfers, five nights at The Inn at Keystone and a four-day lift ticket good for Keystone and Breckenridge. Offer good until Dec. 18. Call: Moguls/Tours de Sport, (800) 929-7300;

The Deal To Beat
Even if you don't plan to leap off Corbet's Couloir, jumping into early season at Jackson Hole just got cheaper with Spring Creek's Ski Free package, valid through December 20. A romantic room, complete with fireplace, a million-dollar view of the Tetons, daily breakfast and two lift tickets per day to Jackson Hole or Grand Targhee, will run you just $120 per room-not per person-per night. Now that's cheap. Call: Spring Creek Resort, (800) 443-6139;

All In The Family
Okemo rewards early-season ski families with its L-o-o-o-ng Weekends program. Until December 15, you get a ski-in/ski-out condominium and daily lift tickets for $59.50 per person, per day. Rates are based on a three-night weekend stay for two adults and two children (ages 7-12) sharing a one-bedroom condominium. Call: Okemo Reservations (800) 786-5366;

Victorian Charm
The snow flies early in Breckenridge, and you can beat the crowds and save money if you come early. Through Lynx Ski Travel, you get round-trip airfare to Denver, transfers by rental car or shuttle, four nights' lodging at the Tannenbaum and a three-day lift ticket, all for less than $800. From Chicago, the tariff comes to just $699, including taxes. From L.A., it's $769, and from New York, $799. Call: Lynx Ski Travel, (970) 453-4131;

All-Around Deal
Sure, you can ski free in Crested Butte until December 20, but free lift tickets are only as valuable as the deal you get on lodging and airfare. Enter Ski Vacation Planners: For just $599, you get round-trip airfare on United from Chicago or Minneapolis to Gunnison, transfers and five midweek nights att the Sheraton Hotel. The same deal from New York, Philadelphia, Miami or Atlanta will run you $699. Call: Ski Vacation Planners, (800) U-CAN-SKI;