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Crucial Winter Ahead For Scottish Ski Industry

This season will be pivotal to the recovery and future of the nation’s ski industry, according to Snowsport Scotland. After two years effectively lost to the Covid-19 pandemic, they’re hoping for a bumper year.

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Scotland has a ‘golden opportunity’  to come back with a bang.

So says the CEO of Snowsport Scotland, Trafford Wilson.

He believes the first full season since the beginning of the pandemic, ongoing uncertainty surrounding overseas travel, and the impact of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February, create the perfect conditions for a snowsports boom in Scotland’s five resorts.

The industry is worth more than £30 million to Scotland’s economy each year.

Snowsport Scotland, the governing body overseeing Scottish snowsports activity at all levels, says independently verified facility losses from the pandemic over the past two winter seasons are more than £12m.

That’s even taking into account the mitigation from furlough, redundancies, and deferred capital payments.

However, despite the difficulties, Trafford Wilson believes Covid-19 has served to highlight snowsports’ crucial place within Scotland’s economy and tourism industry.

Trafford Wilson, CEO Snowsport Scotland at Glencoe – photo © Robert Perry, provided by Snowsport Scotland

“While Covid has been a massive headache to say the least, particularly the stop and start nature of it, it’s also provided the opportunity to gain heightened support from the Scottish Government and other agencies and promoted the national importance of the snow sports industry,” Trafford Wilson says,

“Snowsports matters in Scotland.

“As evidenced through independent research, the snowsports industry injects £30m into the Scottish economy every year, supports a workforce of more than 1,000 professionals, plays an important role in tourism, and allows literally hundreds of thousands of people each year to enjoy the physical and mental benefits that snowsport activities offer.”

In response to the financial setbacks from Covid-19, the Scottish Government provided a £7m “ski centre fund” to safeguard Scotland’s commercially run snowsport centres.

They include both outdoor and indoor snow resorts: Nevis Mountain Range, Glencoe Mountain Resort, The Lecht Ski Centre, Glenshee Ski Centre, Bearden Snowsports Centre, Snow Factor – Glasgow, Newmilns Snowsports Centre and Glasgow Ski and Snowboard Centre.

Glenshee Ski Centre – photo Snowsport Scotland

Trafford Wilson believes more investment is needed, which he hopes will be achieved in part by strong ticket sales this winter season.

With thousands of people also facing uncertainty due to the ever-changing rules in European countries, he hopes more people may look to Scotland.

“There’s a golden opportunity to get people thinking about coming to Scotland as concerns remain about travelling abroad,” he says.

“We hope that this opportunity allows more people than ever before to experience snow sports in the UK; and want to come back for more in the years to come. 

“It’s fundamentally important we have a good season.

“We want people to ski and snowboard in Scotland, enjoy it, and make it a habit going forward.

“This winter season presents a great opportunity for people to make the most of the varied terrain on offer, explore our backcountry playgrounds and to learn how to ski or snowboard on home soil.”  

Backcountry skiing in the Nevis Range – photo Snowsport Scotland

PlanetSKI has had a reporter out on the slopes of Scotland this month with some limited opening already.

For more information on specific opening dates and prices at Scotland’s five outdoor ski centres, visit their websites.

For more on Snowsport Scotland and its activities, visit www.snowsportscotland.org

MAIN PHOTO:  At Glencoe – ©  Robert Perry, provided by Snowsport Scotland

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