SCOTLAND’S five ski resorts are open for business as snowfall and freezing conditions provide the industry – worth around £26million a year to the economy – with a major boost.
It is the first time all five ski centres have been operating together this season.
And with further snow and Arctic temperatures being forecast, the prospect of another successful year is being predicted.
The timing of the onslaught of winter weather has also been good given that Scotland’s snowsport areas have exciting plans for the eighth World Snow Day this Sunday.
Organised by the Fédération Internationale du Ski, World Snow Day aims to celebrate ‘all things snow’ and in particular, to introduce children to fun in the snow, including perhaps learning to ski or snowboard.
Heather Negus, chair of Ski-Scotland, said: “With all five of our mountain snowsports areas now operating, it’s looking good for some real World Snow Day fun on Sunday and we hope that lots of families will come along to enjoy some mountain air, mountain snow and above all have some fun.”
Ski-Scotland is a partnership of all five mountain ski areas, the indoor centre Snow Factor, VisitScotland and Snowsport Scotland.
The chair added: “Using the most recent data and based on the average of the last six seasons, the value to the Scottish economy of snowsports is £26million per year.
“In the excellent season of 2009/10 it was worth much more, £37.5million.
“For each £1 spent at a snowsports area, it is estimated, again using most recent data, that a further £4 is spent by skiers and snowboarders “off the hill” in local accommodation, places to eat and drink, shops, filling stations etc.”
The statistic show that last season there were 231,233 skier days, worth £23.2m. The year before it was 235,303 days, worth half a million pounds more.
In 2012-13, the skier days were 231,233 valued at £23.2m. The previous year was the worst in recent history, with only 118,592 people on the slopes, bringing £12m to the economy. In 20-11 it was 289,995 skier days worth £29m, with 2009-10 being the best with 374,789 skier days, worth £37.5m.
Events planned for World Snow Day include sledging, snowman-building competitions and other fun events for children, to attract families to the snow and encourage future generations of skiers and snowboarders.
Nevis Range is offering sledging, half-price snow shoe hire and a build a ‘World Snow’ man competition, while Glencoe Mountain also plans a snowman-building competition, an igloo-building demo, ‘Zibob’ racing for all ages and much more, including free chairlift access for under-16s.
CairnGorm Mountain will have Morag the reindeer out on the slopes, where kids can test their skills on a slalom course.
Also on offer will be snowboard taster sessions for the tiniest visitors, using CairnGorm’s new stock of Burton Snowboards Riglet equipment which includes boards as small as 70cm, warm Velcro boots and easy bindings.
Everyone is therefore advised to check the weather conditions before leaving on the official websitewww.ski-scotland.com/conditions.
Snow Factor’s indoor real snow is guaranteed, and there on Sunday evening, a four-hour lift pass will be the cheapest ever at only £10.
Sadly, Glenshee Ski Centre has postponed their World Snow Day plans as these centred around activities offered in partnership with Aberdeen Snowsports Club – and the road between Aberdeen and Glenshee is currently closed due to flood erosion.
However, there is still good access as usual from the south via Blairgowrie.
Heather added: “World Snow Day timing is never ideal for Scotland, as mid-January is often when storms bring us large dumps of snow.
“We are already making plans for the annual Ski-Scotland SnowFest in March, when the Scottish mountain weather is more likely to play ball with us.
“Glenshee’s World Snow Day activities are now scheduled to take place during SnowFest, as part of the Snowkidz project.”
READ MORE: Scottish skiing better than Alps http://www.scotsman.com/news/scottish-skiing-better-than-alps-pyrenees-1-3426905
Ski-Scotland is the marketing partnership which has promoted snowsports in Scotland collaboratively for around 30 years.
It comprises the five mountain ski areas - CairnGorm Mountain, Glencoe Mountain, Glenshee, The Lecht and Nevis Range - the sport’s governing body Snowsport Scotland, indoor real-snow centre Snow Factor in Glasgow and VisitScotland, the country’s tourism agency.
World Snow Day is part of the wider Snowkidz project launched by the Fédération Internationale du Ski in 2009, recognising that children are the key to the future of snowsports and encouraging the whole snowsports community to celebrate ‘all things snow’ simultaneously.