The Austrian National Tourist Office says the 2007-08 season was the "best winter ever," thanks to early snow falls and a record number of visitors.

Austria welcomed 10 million winter visitors for the first time last season. The number of winter arrivals was up 2.7 percent on the previous year, the highest ever recorded.

"Winter 2007-08 was a compact season that provided excellent occupancy levels from mid-December to the end of April, Oskar Hinteregger, director of the Austrian National Tourist Office, London, said.

The early Easter in 2008 meant excellent snow conditions, but this coming season, Easter will be starting a lot later, which means the choice of ski resorts will be reduced.

The Austrian National Tourist Office suggests pre-Christmas winter breaks as a good alternative, especially considering last season's early snowfalls and the fact that many operators offer early booking incentives.

Last year Austria's 263 cable car companies invested more than €530 million in upgrading lifts, pistes, and snowmaking equipment, and a similar amount is earmarked for this year in order to guarantee ideal conditions for skiers.

The Austrian National Tourist Office also reported that advanced bookings for the 2008-09 season have reached unprecedented levels, with many tour operators and airlines already accepting bookings until the end of next season