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Bleak Future For Scottish Skiing
Friday, 20 February 2004




The Canadian owner of two of Scotland'; five ski areas put both on the market last week after reporting losses of 1m ($1.9m US) over the past two seasons.

The losses, which are also known to be significant at one of the country's two biggest resorts, Cairngorm, are being blamed largely on successive disastrous snow seasons, widely thought by some to be the result of global warming, whilst others believe it is just the traditional ups and downs of Scotish skiing.

Conventional snow making, seen as the answer at other marginal locations for snowfall around the world, is not usually an answer in Scotland as wild temperature fluctuations caused by a conflict between cold Arctic air being frequent displaced by warm weather from the Atlantic Gulf Stream means that snow from canons melts faster than it can be made. Several of the areas are I environmentally highly sensitive areas which cannot permit snowmaking in any case.

In a good year over 300 000 visitors arrive in the Highlands each winter but after promising snowfalls earlier this season, warm February temperatures have melted most of the accumulations. More snow is expected this weekend.

Of the two areas, Glenshee, totalling 2,000 acres, has the UK's largest ski lift system,
albeit with largely more elderly lifts than most of the other centres, and has 38 runs totalling 40 km (25 miles). Glencoe, the country's oldest centre, has 19 runs on its 200-hectare area totalling 20km in length. It planned not to open this season but a public outcry left the owner's allowing a team of volunteers to run the centre at weekends when there was adequate snow over.

More information at www.ski-glenshee.co.uk

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