Scottish ski season set for first full campaign after two lost years due to the Covid-19 pandemic

The Scottish ski season is set to return this month for the first full season since the Covid-19 pandemic, and experts are hoping for a ‘perfect storm’ to kick start the industry.

Ski slopes and snow venues will open this month after two lost years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with those inside the sport hopeful it is a ‘golden opportunity’

In the last year before the Covid-19 pandemic more than 750,000 tickets were sold at Scottish snow sports venues with the industry worth more than £30 million to the nation’s economy annually. It is now hoped that the first full season since lockdown, uncertainty around overseas travel and the impact of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, can create the perfect conditions for a snow sports boom in Scotland.

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While the pandemic has had a significant impact, the Scottish ski season is ready to return with a bang according to Snowsport Scotland CEO Trafford Wilson

Scotland has a ‘golden opportunity’ to spark snow sports boom after two seasons effectively lost to Covid-19

Mr Wilson believes Covid-19 provided opportunity by putting the industry under the magnifying glass and highlighting its importance to Scotland’s economy and tourism industry.

He said: “While Covid has been a massive headache to say the least, particularly the stop and start nature of it, it’s also provided the opportunity to gain heightened support from the Scottish Government and other agencies and promoted the national importance of the snow sports industry.

“Snow sports matters in Scotland. As evidenced through independent research the snow sports industry injects £30m into the Scottish economy every year, supports a workforce of more than 1,000 professionals, plays an important role in tourism, and allows literally hundreds of thousands of people each year to enjoy the physical and mental benefits that snow sport activities offer.”

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The past two years have been challenging for the Scottish snow sports industry – with the stop-start disruption of the pandemic grinding ticket sales to a halt, resulting in snow sport facilities facing a £20m reduction in revenue, meaning the upcoming 2021/22 ski season is pivotal to the recovery and future of the industry in Scotland.

In response to the many financial setbacks spurred on by Covid-19, the Scottish Government provided a £7m “ski centre fund” to safeguard Scotland’s commercially run snow sport centres – Nevis Mountain Range, Glencoe Mountain Resort, The Lecht Ski Centre, Glenshee Ski Centre, Bearden Snowsports Centre, Snow Factor – Glasgow, Newmilns Snowsports Centre and Glasgow Ski and Snowboard Centre.

However, for the centres and the communities around them to thrive, Mr Wilson believes more investment is needed, which will hopefully be achieved in part, by strong ticket sales in the coming winter season.

He said: “There’s a golden opportunity to get people thinking about coming to Scotland as concerns remain about travelling abroad.

"We hope that this opportunity allows more people than ever before to experience snow sports in the UK; and want to come back for more in the years to come.

“It’s fundamentally important we have a good season.

"We want people to ski and snowboard in Scotland, enjoy it, and make it a habit going forward. This winter season presents a great opportunity for people to make the most of the varied terrain on offer, explore our backcountry playgrounds and to learn how to ski or snowboard on home soil.