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Largest UK dry ski slope saved
Friday August 27, 2010 - Email this article to a friend

The future looks brighter for the Hillend slope in Edinburgh after a council rescue package gets agreed. £600,000 is being put up and some land sold off. All it needs now is more people to use it.

Councillors met on Friday to agree the rescue deal that has taken months to negotiate.

The money comes from SportScotland and the land sold off is some greenbelt land near the centre. 

It will be used by property developers.

There has been a local campaign to keep the dry slope running and an internet petition that attracted more than 27,000 signatures.

27,274 people are members of its Facebook group.

Their arguement was a simple one:

"If closed, not only would it prevent many people from learning to or enjoying skiing but may also mean the end of racing associations. British Ski Team members such as Alain Baxter trained at Hillend. We need to stop the closure - we cannot stop the heart of Scottish skiing! Please invite all your friends to sign the petition."

The ski slope opened in 1965 and has seen hundreds of thousands of people use it, from Olympic athletes to ordinary skiers and local children. 

For many it was their first introduction to skiing.

The complex is owned by Midlothian council and it is hoped it could break even within a few years.

The council says it will not keep bailing out the centre and that it should receive money from national bodies as it is a national centre.

See here for a full statement from the council.

Less than 20% of the people that ski and snowboard at Hillend come from the local area.

"We call on the Scottish Government and other parties to step forward and provide national funding for this national facility," said Midlothian Council Leader, Derek Milligan, to the Scottish press.

"The future of the national Centre should not be at a cost to the Midlothian taxpayer."

Many people are delighted by the news.  One is Patsy Dunan who used to race in the British team and did much of her training there.

"It was Hillend that started off my ski-ing career. I was horrified to hear it may be coming to the end. It would be a sad day if it were to come to that. Hillend was my tool into the british Ski Team and way beyond," Patsy has told PlanetSKI.

"I think that  dry slopes, dendix, are totally under rated and offer so much to everyone who wants to progress further whatever time of the year."

Patsy still teaches on a dry slope on Perth.

Another reader, Stuart Fitzsimmons, has reacted on Facebook.

"Boyd Anderson can sleep again after all the money and work he gave to make a ski slope and ski centre for the poor kids of Edinburgh and Great Britain," Stuart says.

Hillend has been loosing half a million pounds a year and we have reported on its problems and in the last the last week we reported on the up and coming meeting.

There have been staff cutbacks already and savings made.

Saved from closure - for the time beingSaved from closure - for the time being

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about the slope see here.

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