SCOTLAND’S ski centres have had one of their busiest periods in years over the half term holidays.
There were at least 83,305 ‘skier days’ at the five mountain ski areas during the three weeks covering the Scottish and English holidays.
This compares very favourably with the same period last season when 65,876 skier days were recorded, with 64,749 in 2014 and 72,097 in 2013.
A‘Skier day’ means one person who skis/boards on one day – many are serial visitors and are counted each day they enjoy their snowsports.
Heather Negus, chair of Ski-Scotland, said: “The three weeks covering the Scottish and English half-term holidays were amazingly busy everywhere.
“Although this was hardly surprising given the exceptional snow and weather conditions, we were delighted to find that our ‘skier day’ figures for those weeks are way ahead of any other recent season.”
Not only families with school-age children took advantage of the superb ‘bluebird’ conditions.
Team GB Winter Olympian snowboarder Ben Kilner, who was at Glenshee last weekend, said: “After spending most of the season snowboarding in the USA it has been amazing to come back home to perfect conditions here in Scotland.
“All resorts here have had great snow and perfect weather making for an epic day’s shred.”
Other visitors included tiny tots as young as two years old who have been learning to balance and slide around on skis and snowboards for the first time in a fun and safe way on The Lecht’s new rotondo carousel, graduating to the dragon slalom and arch hoops and meeting Parker the Penguin.
Nearly 750 pupils from throughout Scotland have also been competing across the country in the primary and secondary schools Alpine races.
The 260 who qualified will compete in the finals during the rest of the week at Nevis Range where there has been fresh overnight snow down to car park level.
Youngsters can sign up for Freeride coaching and even the junior Coe Cup at Glencoe Mountain on 18 and 19 March, with the Coe Cup itself – part of the Freeride World Tour – on 2 and 3 April.
Meanwhile, CairnGorm Mountain is gearing up for ‘Groove CairnGorm’, the UK’s first resort-based snowsports festival, on 11 and 12 March, with snowsports and entertainment on the mountain and après-ski live music and world-class DJs in a big top in the valley – the ‘Nightclub under the Stars’.
Heather added: “This season may have got off to a late start but it’s now offering superb snow and settled weather, with more of both forecast.
“Now that the busy half term period is over, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy some brilliant sliding with few queues, particularly midweek.”
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.