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Cairngorm Hoping for Snow
Thursday, 18 December 2003
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Cairngorm Mountain above Aviemore in Scotland has resumed operating its funicular railway for the season and hopes to open for skiing and boarding this Saturday, December 20th. However conditions currently are not looking good for adequate snow cover by that date, so please check ahead before visiting.

The highest Christmas decorations in the UK - those in The Ptarmigan restaurant at 1,097 metres above sea level are in place however. The CairnGorm Funicular was heavily involved and demonstrated its versatility by carrying several Christmas trees, including one that is 15' tall, from the Base Station to The Ptarmigan in a matter of minutes.

Naturally, Santa Claus and his helpers were on hand to supervise the operation that heralded the start of this year's Christmas activities and Santa Claus will be making regular weekend visits to The Ptarmigan over the next few weeks as part of the company's seasonal promotional programme.

Santa is now resident in the Ptarmigan Grotto through to Christmas Eve. The cost to visit the UK's highest Santa Claus is 6.50 per child and this includes return travel on the funicular railway to visit Santa's Grotto at the top as well as receiving a present from Santa. Throughout the build-up to the Festive Season the Shop At the Top will have a tempting selection of Christmas gifts, goodies and novelties for all of the family as well as an excellent range of interesting stocking fillers. Certainly well worth a visit for gifts that are a little bit different and include the work of local artists, and craftsmen and women.

Bob Kinnaird, Cairngorm Mountain's Chief Executive, commented on the news that fellow Scottish ski area Glencoe's opening this year remains subject to doubt, "All of our team members at CairnGorm Mountain sympathise fully with our colleagues at Glencoe although, in fairness, their decision not to open this season does not come as a surprise. The weather trends of recent years have not been favourable to skiing in Scotland and last season was particularly poor with the lowest number of Scottish skiing days on record."

"At CairnGorm Mountain, we have taken climatic change very seriously and have sought to diversify our product range. The funicular and its associated developments, both at Coire Cas and within The Ptarmigan, have been particularly successful parts of this policy and this diversity has created a year round visitor attraction out of a seasonal winter sports resort. CairnGorm Mountain is now the third most popular paid visitor attraction in Scotland outside of the major cities and that success speaks for itself."

"Skiing still remains a very important part of our business but while in times past, it was our main core business, winter sport is now only one element within a broader range of products on offer throughout the year. There is still a healthy demand for skiing in Scotland but our ability to offer this service will be determined more by the climate than by any other factor - which is why diversification is an all-important element in future planning for tourism within Badenoch and Strathspey."

The company's newly revamped website www.cairngormmountain.com is already receiving thousands of hits before the first real snowfall has opened up the mountain for skiing. The company states that it is spending a lot of time and effort in ensuring that it is kept up to date and full of the latest information available - including changing weather, road and piste conditions on a daily basis.



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