Scotland’s ski resorts could open this weekend

The CairnGorms mountain resort could open this weeken. Picture: Stephen Emerson

The CairnGorms mountain resort could open this weeken. Picture: Stephen Emerson

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SCOTLAND’S MOUNTAIN ski resorts could be open from this weekend following snowfalls across the country today.

Staff at CairnGorm mountain, near Aviemore, are hoping the weekend will bring the first snow sports enthusiasts of the season.

Ross Coulter, marketing executive at Cairngorm mountain, said today: “Well we can’t confirm it yet, but we are hoping this weekend is a possibility for opening.

“We are hoping there is some kind of snow storm to get a bump of snow.

“It can be as simple as deciding on the day that we will be open for skiing - if we are skiing this weekend then it will be the runs at the top of the mountain, which include some of the green runs, so beginners are able to get up there as well.

“It is an exciting time of the year - everyone gets excited.

“There’s snow in the village right now in Aviemore. Despite the bumper year for snow last year there was rarely snow lying in the village.

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“We are certainly hoping it will be another great year.”

Heather Negus, marketing manager at Nevis Range, said: “We have no firm plans to open yet, but we will reassess later this week, maybe on Thursday or Friday.

“There’s a storm coming, so that could bring enough snow.

“We open when we have enough snow to safely ski and operate. Some years when we have opened early December, some years it is much later on.”

Winter Olympics

Ms Negus added that they are hoping that this year’s Winter Olympics will have helped to encourage people to take part in winter sports in Scotland.

She said: “We hope that people will still be interested following the Winter Olympics at the start of the year, especially after there were some medals picked up.”

Last year’s ski season brought in nearly £24 million to the Scottish economy.

It is estimated that for each £1 spent at a ski area, a further £4 is spent ‘off the hill’, in the local area surrounding the resort.

• Beinn Ghlas - the birthplace of competitive Scottish skiing

Other resorts have said that they may not be open for a few more weeks, despite the recent snowfall.

Pat Matheson, at the Lecht, near Strathdon in Aberdeenshire, said: “We can only open when we have enough snow, and we don’t at the moment.

“There’s a flurry just now, just a dusting, but as the sun has come out so we will have to wait on the next snowfall. It varies when we usually open - it can be anytime from mid-October until the start of January.

“We can be at the tail end or we can be one of the first to open.

“It’s difficult to say how big the demand will be, I think then snow determines the interest, I’m not sure if the Winter Olympics at the start of the year will influence it.”

Andy Meldrum, managing director of Glencoe Mountain Resort, said: “We are aiming to be open by the 19th December.

“We are slightly different at Glencoe, we need feet or metres of snow before we are able to open for skiing, enough to cover the rocks and rivers, etc - whereas other resorts could be open with the amount of snow we have just now.

“On the 19th we will be back to full opening hours. We will open for skiing the day we have enough snow.

“We built a new dry ski slope at the bottom of the hill for when there is not enough snow or it is too windy to operate the lift. We have also bought a few new rails for the freestyle park.”

A spokesperson for Glenshee resort also said they were hoping to be open before Christmas, as long as there is enough snow.

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