Skiers are facing price hikes of more than 20% in the forthcoming season thanks to capacity cuts and the pound’s continued weakness.

Speaking at the Erna Low Credit Crunch Report yesterday, chief executive Joanna Yellowlees-Bound said the ski specialist is currently contracting for the forthcoming season with the pound worth between €1.10 and €1.15, as opposed to €1.25 this time last year.

She added the situation has been worsened by some operators trimming capacity, which has helped drive up prices and could lead to a reduced lates market during the season.

Yellowlees-Bound said: “Overall price increases on peak season dates will be pretty high; at least 20% more than this year.”

She warned the increase will see nearly 100,000 fewer Brits hit the slopes than the 1.4 million originally predicted in January 2008. The new estimate is 2% down on last season’s numbers.

She added: “Next year is going to see the biggest negative growth (in the market) for some time.”

Yellowlees-Bound said the cuts will also effect this year’s lates market, adding: “There will not be the same offers as this year if people do leave it late.

“It is very important people realise that with late bookings next year, you may well book something late but it won’t be your first choice.”

She added Erna Low’s average selling price for the last winter season grew by 15% to £1,000 as customers took advantage of savings of around 30% by booking extras like lift passes and ski hire.