Leader: ‘The key is for ordinary people to use facility’

Just two years after it was threatened with closure, Hillend ski centre has completed a fantastic £600,000 revamp that has taken it to world class standard.

In the current climate, it would have been understandable had Midlothian Council, Sportscotland and the Scottish Government opted to close the facility which was losing £500,000 a year.

After all, cash is extremely tight and skiing remains a minority sport.

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Instead, following an internet campaign supported by 27,000 people, all of these partners came together to secure the facility’s future and bring it right up to date.

Everyone involved serves huge credit for making this happen.

Hillend, or the Midlothian Snowsports Centre as it is formally known, now has an extra 200m of slope and a longer nursery section.

New travelator systems designed to help junior skiers reach the top of slopes and an extensive snow tubing playground have also been added.

Olympic skier Finlay Mickel has called the dry skiing complex one of the best in the world in the wake of a overhaul.

High praise indeed.

The key now is for ordinary people to use the improved facility in greater numbers than ever.

Sportscotland is certainly hopeful the upgrade will encourage more people onto the slopes and inspire future generations towards social or elite skiing.

It used to be that six was the minimum age for young skiers, but the upgraded centre has a new area for beginners as young as four.

The new travelator ensures kids do not have to hike up and down. There’s nothing stopping you! Get up there.

Bravery rewarded

We all like to think we would do the right thing if we ever found ourselves facing a desperate emergency.

But most of us are lucky enough to have not been put to the test.

Fraser Duncan, aged 12, and 14-year-old Stuart Anderson have been put on the spot in the most trying of circumstances when Fraser’s dad Arthur was almost killed in a horrific bike accident.

They proved they had the courage and presence of mind needed to save Arthur.

Yesterday the pair were among an exceptional cast of everyday heroes to receive police bravery awards.

They and all the other recipients should be extremely proud – they are an inspiration to us all.