It was a terrible winter for the Scottish ski industry last year, with barely any snow apart from a short burst in February and then another one in March near the end of the season. But ski resorts are taking steps to prevent another dry spell. From new piste bashers to artificial snowmaking machines, Scotland's five ski resorts are gearing up for a season that they're cautiously optimistic about.
Following one of its worst ski seasons ever in 2019-20, Glenshee has invested £1m in a TechnoAlpin Snowfactory SF210 machine so it can have more reliable snow cover and control over opening days this year. The ski resort says this will allow it to guarantee an annual ski season start date no later than December 26th, with hopes that the season will be able to stretch past the Easter holidays. The Snowfactory will be able to manufacture snow as long as the ambient temperature is less than 15 degress.
Cairngorm will throw a festive launch of the snowsports season on December 7th. Unfortunately, the funicular is not ready for action yet - the company is hoping to start in spring 2020 - but the mountain promises that nine surface lifts will do their best to shuttle up to 1000 skiers and snowboarders per day up the slopes when conditions permit. The ski area has already started making artificial snow in preparation for the ski season and has bought a new piste basher for £220,000 to replace the previous one, which was 20 years old. Cairngorm will offer lift tickets at discounted prices to compensate for the funicular being out of service.
The small Lecht 2090 ski area is already testing the waters with the TechnoAlpin artificial snowmaking machine and hopes to have enough aritifical snow on the nursery slopes to open in early December.
Glencoe Mountain already has some 20cm of natural snow on the higher slopes and 5cm down lower. More snow is forecast for the coming days and artificial snowmaking is already in progress. The ski resort says it plans to open December 20th, or even earlier if it receives enough natural snow.
Snow-making has begun at Glencoe Mountain Resort pic.twitter.com/ICYZl0MMmT— Glencoe Mountain (@glencoemountain) November 8, 2019
Volunteer-run Lowther Hills is pushing to open the first forested slope in Scotland, a move which it says will provide a "valuable landscape improvement to an area that has been devoid of trees for centuries." For each tree, up to one ton of CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere - plus, skiing through trees is really fun, not least because they provide shelter from the wind and improve snow cover! After an earnest fundraising effort the ski centre has already managed to plant nearly 2500 deciduous trees and hopes to inspire other Scottish resorts to open forested slopes as well. Lowther Hills has also purchased a Kässbohrer PB070 snow groomer for the 2020/21 season thanks to another fundraising effort.
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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