Scotland’s ski resorts set for bumper New Year

SNOWSPORTS fans are gearing themselves up for a bumper New Year with Scotland’s resorts predicting another good season on the slopes.

Cairngorm is set for a bumper New Year period. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

While wild winds and rain battered the south and west of the country, the peaks have enjoyed alpine conditions for the past few days.

Good snow cover with light winds attracted skiers, snowboarders and tourists to Scotland five ski centres.

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Around 3,000 have ventured onto the slopes at Cairngorm Mountain since Saturday, while hundreds more turned out at Glencoe, Nevis Range, the Lecht and Glenshee.

Colin Kirkwood of Cairngorm Mountain said: “Everything has come together for us, peak holiday time, people having been starved of skiing up to this point in their Christmas holiday, along with great snow, clear skies, sunshine and light winds.

Heather Negus of Nevis Range said: “We are open for skiing and boarding right through the New Year period, wind and weather permitting.

“Snow cover is excellent and there’s great sliding on soft snow.

“The resort was battered by the recent storms, recording winds of 142 miles per hour in early December, and lightning strikes.

“A number of the upper lifts are still not yet operational but engineering are working hard in difficult conditions to repair the damage.”

Glencoe, Lecht, Glenshee

Around 1,000 people have used the Glencoe mountain chair lift in the last few days, with resort manager Angela Dingwall saying: “We were nearly at the point of having to turn people away.

“Our accommodation is busy, the skiing is busy and we’ve had lots of families going up on the chairlift.”

At Lecht they had five of their 12 lifts operating, while at Glenshee there were nine out of 22 open.

Ski-Scotland, meanwhile, has reported for the first time ever that its all-area season passes have sold out.

The pass gives access throughout winter 2013-14 to all five of Scotland’s mountain ski areas.

Chair of Ski-Scotland Heather Negus said: “we restrict the number of all-area passes we sell and this is the first time that they have completely sold out before the end of November deadline.

“All the funds raised from pass sales go directly to promote snowsports in Scotland, which benefits both the ski areas and their local communities, as for each £1 spent at a ski area, a further £4 is spent “off the hill” in local businesses such as accommodation, places to eat and drink, shops, filling stations and so on.”