Agents can still cash in on the growing ski market but will have to move quickly if they are to meet the demands of the family market.


Speaking at this year’s launch of The Ski Industry Report 2008, Crystal Ski managing director Mathew Prior predicted the winter sports market will see continued growth of 3% over the next season, largely driven by the family and luxury sectors.


However, with this year’s late Easter and a reduced amount of school holidays during the ski season, he said agents must act soon to capitalise.


Prior added: “For Easter and Christmas there’s still great availability but the (spring term) half term is getting very tight.”


He said even if the economy goes into recession it is the skiers’ mindset which ensures they will continue to pay for their annual fix, adding: “Skiing is much more than a holiday, it is a hobby, it is a pass-time and it is a whole way of life.”


Prior added a combination of the rising cost of fuel and a strong euro means the average price of a ski holiday has risen by up to 8%. However, the early bookings market has been driven special offers including free child care and reduced-cost lift passes.


He said France remains the British skier’s destination of choice, accounting for 37.5% of all tour operator bookings last season while demand for north America plateaued over the same period and is expected to remain flat this year thanks to limited flight availability and increased fuel surcharges.


Prior said it is also the traditional package market which is expected to benefit from the growth largely thanks to a slowing of the expansion of the low cost airlines.