NEVIS RANGE 30 YEARS ON
20th December 2019 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on December 31st, 2019
The Scottish ski resort has been celebrating its birthday as it turns 30. We look back at its illustrious history.
Visitors to the ski area near Fort William have been given the opportunity to spend Saturday 21st December on the mountain at reduced cost.
A full day snowsports ticket was £12.50 and a gondola day ticket just £3.50, as long as they were bought before midday on Friday.
The best dressed person in ski gear or après ski gear dating from 1989 won a 10-year snowsports season pass for the resort.
Hundreds of locals and visitors turned out for the 30th anniversary celebrations.
As well as skiing and snowboarding there was free entertainment, local food & drink and a ceilidh in a heated marquee next to the gondola base station from 5pm to midnight.
“I’m immensely proud to be Chief Executive of this ever changing and ever progressing business,” said CEO Chris O’Brien.
“To be celebrating 30 years of the Nevis Range Mountain Experience is an incredible feeling, especially considering that this anniversary comes at such an exciting time.
Local skiers began using Nevis Range to ski in the 1930s but it took another 50 years for it to be developed.
Nevis Range founders, Ian Sykes (Spike) and Ian Sutherland (Suds), who were key in driving the original Nevis Range concept forward, gave a talk about the history of the ski area.
A group of close friends in a small, remote community rallied local businesses into action to raise a million pounds in less than a month in order to make their dream of a snowsports centre on Aonoch Mor in the 1980’s a reality.
The resort was conceived as a means to create employment in a recession hit Lochaber.
Ian Sykes was the first Managing Director and still has an active role on the Board.
“It is great to still be a part of Nevis Range and to see Nevis Range grow as an innovative company that is working hard to secure their future in snowsports, mountain biking and all the other great outdoor activities that have been added over the years,” he said.
The Nevis Range Timeline
- 1930 – Skiing is enjoyed on Aonach Mor, predominantly by local skiers
- 1968 – The area’s full economic potential is recognised
- 1974 – A planning report is produced, sponsored by the Scottish Tourist Board, concerning the prospect of a winter sports development in Fort William, and essentially developing the area as an all year tourist destination
- 1986 – The project wins approval from the Highland Region’s Planning Committee after numerous further commissioned feasibility studies concerning the engineering, ecology and viability of a development in Aonach Mor
- 1988 – Construction begins and both public and private funding is secured for the development. Considerable effort is made to create an environmentally acceptable area. All work carried out is in compliance with planning controls and restrictions put in place to protect the environment. Buildings are designed to blend with surrounding vegetation, helicopters are used for all construction work and no bulldozing is permitted throughout the process of piste creation
- 1989 – Nevis Range is opened to the public
- 1997 – The Braveheart Chair is constructed and opened to the public
- 1998 – Discussions begin to extend the Downhill track to the top station and provide gondola access for riders and their bikes
- 2000 – The Downhill track is opened to the public
- 2002 – Nevis Range welcomes the first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup
- 2007 – Nevis Range welcomes the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships
- 2010 – Tree Adventure was opened to the public
- 2011 – The Pinemarten Café was opened at the Nevis Range Base Station
- 2018 – A 3-year partnership is formed with Trek Bicycles
- 2019 – Nevis Range builds a snow making plant, creating an expanded beginners’ ski area serviced by a new travelator conveyor lift
And this weekend many are out in their old ski gear:
And partying like it was 1989….