Two resorts herald start of Scottish ski season

A snowboarder shows off a move at CairnGorm Mountain ski resort. Picture: Steven McKenna/Ski Scotland
A snowboarder shows off a move at CairnGorm Mountain ski resort. Picture: Steven McKenna/Ski Scotland
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SCOTLAND’S ski season is due to start tomorrow at two of the country’s five winter sports resorts.

Both CairnGorm Mountain near Aviemore and The Lecht in Aberdeenshire are planning to offer some limited snow sports and runs.

It is a later opening than last year for CairnGorm, which then celebrated its earliest start in five years on November 9 - when it welcomed 800 skiers and snowboarders - before having to shut temporarily soon afterwards as the snow melted when temperatures warmed up.

But operators are now hoping for a less ‘stop-start’ season than last year - which was adversly affected by strong winds.

Ross Coulter, marketing executive at CairnGorm mountain, said: “It is an exciting time of the year - everyone gets excited. The good news is that there is also some heavy snow forecast ahead.

“As usual after westerly storms there are places on the hill with lots of snow and places with very little.

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“We are assessing things to see what our options are. There is more heavy snow and high winds forecast for today with winds easing on Saturday. It is looking promising for opening for snow sports on Saturday, with at least a run to the middle and perhaps the Day Lodge using the funicular train for access.”

The Lecht also said it expected to have limited skiing available at the weekend.

But Nevis Range, Glencoe and Glenshee are all looking towards next weekend to open.

“We need considerably more snow but we are hopeful of getting it over the next few days. We are getting the snow but it has been windy with it,” said Stewart Davidson, finance director at Glenshee.

There was a big overall fall in skiers and boarders in Scotland last season despite record amounts of snow.

Strong and persistent winds kept enthusiasts off the slopes which also meant a fall of more than £5 million to the Scottish economy compared to the previous good year.

The season resulted in 235,303 skier days, down by more than 55,000 on 2012/13, which generated more than £29m.

Snowsports form a significant part of Scotland’s winter tourism economy - for each £1 spent at a ski area, a further £4 is spent ‘off the hill’ in local businesses.

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